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Collaborative Citation Management and Zotero
1.a. Citation Management
Being able to delve into the research, organize your sources, and tie resources together into a cohesive story is an essential part of any project. Whether you are using Pinterest to find colors, styles, and tutorials for how to build that perfect organizer, or you are collecting viewpoints, statistics and rebuttals when trying to decipher who will earn your vote in the next election, it all centers around gathering information and collecting it into a useful package.
In this course you may be working on a project that involves pulling data from multiple files, or collaborating on a paper. In the future, you may find yourself needing to document results alongside literature references, writing a journal article, or trying to back up your opinion on your blog with solid evidence. All of these require you to be able to embed these references into your own writing.
Citation managers help to tag useful files and documents, store their metadata (titles, authors, dates, etc.), and make it easy to retrieve this information when writing. As was shown earlier, there are many options for citation management. In this section we will be walking through the use of Zotero, an open-source, freely available citation management system. It allows for easy collection of references, simple organization, and flexible integration with a common word processing program: Microsoft Word. In addition, it allows for sharing references easily between collaborators.
1.b. Features of Zotero
The video below gives a comparison between two very popular citation management systems in the scientific community: Zotero and Mendeley.
One large benefit to using Zotero is its strong community online and ability to easily collaborate with others on projects with shared libraries of references and to learn from others.
1.c. What is Collaborative Citation Management?
Often it is important to be able to share resources while working as a team. Just as you may split up a project so that each person will write a draft of a certain subtopic, you may want to split up the literature searching so that each person can look up the background of a certain subtopic or theme. The more complex a project is, the more likely it will have resources that overlap with other themes within the same project. One resource may be a good citation for multiple subtopics. By sharing resources, everyone on the project benefits from the research being done by all other members of the group. In addition, a cohesive group using a citation management system will be much more efficient at trying to write collaboratively and generate a single comprehensive bibliography of references. Collaborative Citation Management is the tool that allows this sort of group collaboration.