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I'm in love with Zotero!

OK - this probably won't interest you if you're not doing academic work, but for all you students and researchers out there, listen up!

I've been using EndNote X - it's very useful, and I couldn't do without it, but I'm not completely happy with it - the main reason being that the database is not accessible in an open format. This means that I'm stuck with them forever, or if I do change, I have to re-enter everything manually into a new database (and I have 522 references so far). Also, it's kind of clunky when it comes to printing out a bibliography, doing internet references, and adapting the styles.

I heard some good things about Zotero, so I decided to check it out - and I'm in love!

Yes! It's really good - and the best thing is that it seems to be a perfect tool for archiving blog posts (which I do a lot of!). It will archive whole webpages offline, and extract information such as author, blog name, date, etc.

I wanted to do a screencast to show you how smooth it is, but Camtasia is not working (due to some video acceleration problem that I can't change in Vista/my computer >:[ ) so check here for some tutorials, etc.

OK - I'm in love, but she ain't perfect: the information extracted is not always completely accurate. For example - the title of the blog post often includes the name too, and depending on the platform it may or may not get the date of the post.

I can import my references from EndNote (using the BibTeX format), but it doesn't bring over all my notes, which is bad. But again, that's probably due to EndNote's closed format rather than anything to do with Zotero.

However, overall it's the best thing I've seen so far - and it also integrates with Word to do formatted in-text citations, bibliographies, etc. And it's completely free - whereas EndNoteX will cost you USD 250! Which is a ridiculous price, when you think of it.

I did have one problem installing the Word plugin - when I first tried to insert a citation it gave the following error:
"An error occurred communicating with Zotero. Please ensure Firefox is open and try again"

I managed to solve it though: the Zotero word processor plugin troubleshooting has various options, and the one that solved it for me was number 5:
If the integration server is running, disable any firewall software running on your computer. If this fixes the problem, make sure your firewall is set to allow access to "localhost" or "127.0.0.1" (also known as the "loopback interface").

I have ZoneAlarm running, and this is how I did it:
• Open ZoneAlarm, go to Firewall, and select Add > IP Address

• Give it a label to remind yourself what it's for, and enter the IP address 127.0.0.1
• Press 'Apply'
And you're done, that worked for me anyway - hope it does for you! :-)

Overall: students and academics out there, geddit!
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