I mentioned yesterday that I use Zotero to track and annotate project-related reading. Although I’ve used EverNote extensively in the past and my library offers access to RefWorks, here’s why I made the switch to Zotero:
Zotero is great for collaborative projects. In addition to maintaining collections of sources for each project or research topic, I can share items in my collections with my colleagues. Since I have several collaborative projects in the works, this feature makes life a lot easier throughout the research and writing process. If my colleagues find a source they think I should read, I can easily pull up the bibliographic information and their shared notes via our Zotero group library. Plus, if I’m connected to my university’s library databases, I usually can access the full-text version of the piece. Similarly, as we’re writing, we can use Zotero’s Word plug-in to automatically build our references list. We no longer have to track down who kept (or who can recreate) a citation for each source.
Even for solo projects, Zotero wins points for ease of use. If I’ve had a successful database search, one click lets me add a text to my open collection.
And the final winning feature is that Zotero is free to use on any computer. (You can upgrade to a paid account if you need more storage.) Since I work on both PCs and Macs on a daily basis, it’s immensely helpful to have a program that works seamlessly across platforms.
What research tools do you use?