It would be too easy to rant and rave about this

Zotero is a marvellous, active open-source project, providing a Firefox extension that captures and formats bibliographic information from web pages.

Thomson Reuters describe themselves as “the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.” Whatever. They specialise in closed-source, proprietary solutions which to my simple mind is at odds with a role as an information source.

Via FriendFeed from Rafael Sidi’s blog, I learn that Thomson Reuters are suing George Mason University, developers of Zotero, for “violating its license agreement and destroying the EndNote customer base”.

Here’s my simple, black-and-white view of the world. The greatest achievement of the internet is the potential to set information free. There are free-thinking, forward-looking organisations like GMU who see this potential and act upon it. There are also organisations who see only threats to their corporate interests. Publishing corporations no longer control the flow of information to consumers and some of them seem to be struggling to accept this, adapt and move on.

As I say, too easy to rant and rave. If you’d like to do so in the comments, feel free.

Getting started with Zotero citation styles

Any bibliography management system needs a good selection of citation styles and/or an easy way for users to add their own. As an incentive to write that Nature paper, Zotero now includes a Nature journals style.

I think it would be great if the bioinformatics community contributed some useful styles to Zotero. The process is not well documented, but goes something like this.

Read the rest…

Zotero word processor integration

Zotero have quietly released plugins for integration with OpenOffice, NeoOffice and the other commonly-used word processor.

There’s not much documentation yet. Here’s what I did for OpenOffice, Ubuntu/Feisty:

  1. Download and unzip the extension
  2. In OpenOffice go to Tools->Extension Manager->Add
  3. Locate the Zotero.oxt file and install
  4. Restart OpenOffice

You should now see a new menu like this:

Clicking on “insert citation” brings up your Zotero database. It’s a bit rough and ready just now with limited options, but definitely an exciting development.

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Zotero now scrapes even more sites

Just noticed that Zotero now grabs articles from the BBC News website. Not especially useful for journal articles but nice to know, nevertheless. The latest Zotero-compatible sites are summarised in their blog.

A lot of their focus just now seems to be on developing as many scrapers as possible, which is not a bad thing but I hope it’s not at the expense of other feature development. I’m hanging on for network synchronisation and Connotea connectivity.