New version of Zotero out. Good for PDF storage as well as references.

April 5th, 2007 by shane

Firefox integrated reference manager Zotero (which I have posted previously about here) put out a new version last week. Highlights include inpage HTML highlighting and annotation, improved search, autorenaming of PDF’s, and integration with MS Word (Pc and MAC). No sign of online social bookmarking, but its on the horizon. The changelog is here.


The continuing usefulness of Zotero is enhanced by a growing number of “scrapers” designed for various on- line article repositories, reference databases and libraries. This year brought Sciencedirect and others (for a full list see here). What this means is that on compatible sites, you see a little icon on the address bar. Clicking that automatically stores the reference with abstract, the HTML article, and the PDF (if there is access), and it will automatically name the PDF (e.g. author-date-truncated title). Zotero allows easy i-tunes like virtual folder organisation, and tagging. This makes Zotero not only a superb reference manager, but a way to manage your PDF collection. Now, for any academic PDF I find on the web, I store it via the scrapers with minimal effort, or if found outside those sites (e.g. an author’s website) I grab the reference from google scholar (which is Zotero compatible), then download the PDF as a “snapshot” and associate it with the reference. You can also link to, or copy into the zotero system, PDF’s from your file system. There don’t seem to be any good applications out there for managing PDF collections, so Zotero could be the one to fulfill that need.


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14 Responses to “New version of Zotero out. Good for PDF storage as well as references.”

  1. SeanNo Gravatar Says:

    Thanks for your interest in Zotero. Please note that we are also beginning to support PDF full-text indexing. Right now it’s a little tricky to set up, but we hope to have a smoother installation process soon.

  2. LvoodNo Gravatar Says:

    Zotero rocks – I just updated to the new version and the improvements I already noticed are great – especially for storing pdf sources from the web!

    I can also recommend it to anyone who is taking information (web pages or pdf files) from the web. A great tool for free!

  3. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Can you insert references in Word 2007 (or word 2003) like in endNote?

  4. Jim OffordNo Gravatar Says:

    Can you upload a set of PDF files, get them indexed, and then insert the citations for them into Zotero?
    I’ve been trying to get my directory of PDF files into a reference manager for a while and have had no success. I tried cb2bib, and did not get a good result with that. If Zotero can index, then pull out the information for citation then it is definitely going into my toolbox.

  5. shaneNo Gravatar Says:

    Yep. Zotero is free, and in the features that I think matter most – everyday ease of use and organisation of references, I think Zotero is much better than paid alternatives like endnote.

    Jose, the word plugin I mentioned is for inserting references and generating bibliography, with a pop up search tool, like in endnote. Works in 2007/2003 on PC, also for word on Mac. OpenOffice support is planned. Lacks some of the endnote features, but its pretty effective.
    The new version also has a very nice feature that if you select a bunch of references in Zotero, press ctrl alt c, it will copy the references to the clipboard (e.g. in APA format).

    Jim, no dice. Cb2bib-like features would be nice for Zotero, but I don’t imagine we would be seeing them anytime soon. I have a large PDF library but because I don’t have it well organised I find its often just as quick (or quicker) to find the pdf from the web, using google scholar and an openURL resolver, rather than try to find it from my library (when there is fair chance I won’t have the article anyway).

  6. academhack » Blog Archive » Again with the Useful Stuff . . . Says:

    [...] new version of Zotero is available, and as Academic Productivity points out, this version adds the ability to store .pdfs. (More on handling .pdfs [...]

  7. H. Stephen McMinnNo Gravatar Says:

    I would disagree with you if it weren’t for Microsoft. The first and best tool that I have found for this integration was OnFolio which worked with EndNote for the citation aspects, but it has all but disappeared since being purchased by Microsoft. I am somewhat curious about a new product — Quosa, but it seems cost prohibitive for all but STM folks.

  8. H. Stephen McMinnNo Gravatar Says:

    I really don’t see the problem that users are having with EndNote. Version X supports both linking to OpenUrlk resolvers, so if you don’t have the full text you can dump the citation information into your local tool and see if you have access to the full text. You do have to configure this for your local resolver and you have to link from the full record display in EndNote rather than the list. You can also drag and drop the pdf into the citation. Again you have to save the pdf to the desktop and then drag it into the record and then delete it from the desktop but it does allow you to use Endnote to function as your personal digial depository for PDF’s. It still doesn’t handle capturing web pages and/or managing bookmarks very well (Endnote web and Endnote X have a capture tool which doesn’t work very well). I use for this and will try the new version of Zotero to see how it all goes together.

  9. Nieuwe versie van Zotero uit « Dee’tjes Says:

    [...] Academic productivity  [...]

  10. EmmaNo Gravatar Says:

    I got very keen on Zotero at one point, but I’ve had a few problems. While I agree that it’s way better than EndNote when it comes to grabbing stuff off the web & I like *in theory* the ability to annotate .pdfs, (in practice, I still prefer the printed version & my pen), I have found that it starts to slow down quite significantly the more that I have in it. I’ve therefore started to use it to gather web refs & then transfer them to EndNote & delete them from Zotero.
    I also have had a look at CiteULike – which scores over Zotero for its social aspects, but looses, as I find that the page I’m viewing vanishes & I get the CiteULike page instead – so I can’t copy & paste the information that should be picked up. That could be my Firefox settings, but most other similar things (e.g. iKeepbookmarks, subwithBloglines etc) create a new tab, so I am inclined to blame CiteULike! It also stores them online, which is handy as I use several computers round the place (I can hook into my University Storage to get to my EndNote files), whereas I end up with several Zotero files – one on each PC.

    If, however, Zotero is going to have a social feature, I guess that will involve some kind of online storage, so I can see me getting keener on it in the future (especially when Flock is based on Firefox 2 – as Flock is my preferred browser :) )

  11. Shannon BrownNo Gravatar Says:

    I am back in college and many of the papers I deal with on the web are in PDF form. Zotero makes a great tool for me to store and refer back to the docs I need.

  12. San Francisco Copyright LawyerNo Gravatar Says:

    this is great news. I’m always looking for new tools to help with PDF files.

  13. Gaming ReviewsNo Gravatar Says:

    Nice stuff..Kudos to you for putting this out.

  14. MicrobegirlNo Gravatar Says:

    Sweeeet! So how would you say this compares with Citeulike? I had been using citeulike for its pdf managing ability, but you have to download them to your PC and then upload again onto citeulike. Zotero’s new interface sounds much more seemless!


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