Let’s say hello to Zotero


I have known about Zotero for literally years. I have looked at it very briefly. I have shied away from it because it looked “complex”. Today I decided that I had exactly the right project to test it, and so I started using it.

My initial experience became ever so much easier when I found this article: How to Use Zotero and Scrivener for Research-Driven Writing by Alexandra Samuel. This got me set up in minutes (ten or so, anyway), and it also persuaded me that Zotero’s complexity might mostly have lived in my head and not in the software.

Zotero, in case you don’t know (and why should you?), works as a citation and research manager. The article demonstrates a workflow that enables the author to use Zotero side by side with Scrivener fairly seamlessly.

I have certainly got it working and the research material for the paper I will finish next week now lives in two collections in Zotero where I can annotate it, quote from it, and more.

Word of warning: Alexandra Samuel adds Zotfile as the fourth piece of software to install. This has already proved almost as important as installing Zotero itself, since it enables you to link to pdfs in a folder of your choice, rather than storing them in your Zotero folder. I have mine stored in Dropbox, where I already pay for storage.

Now I have dipped my toes in the water I have already convinced myself to start swimming. I can see Zotero becoming more and more important to me.