Thursday, June 30, 2011

Zotero does more than I thought...

Get Zotero

What have I been missing?

I've used Zotero for several assignments so far, gathering citations into sub-collections and creating bibliographies (grumbling at how many times I have to fix the title field).
! But fancy, I had not picked up that I could Shift+drag to create an intext-citation!

I've even created notes, although I don't remember whether I've looked back at them. It just occurred to me: if I could somehow Show in the middle ONLY my notes - that might help somehow, but AFAIK not yet possible.

But notes! there's more:
Standalone notes - I guess I could create some for questions, keywords yet to search, passing thoughts to pursue later ... How do YOU use them?


When I heard "annotation" before I assumed this meant either editing the Abstract field or creating notes - but no, those snapshots I've been ignoring can be highlighted and sticky-noted. Now this might be useful IF I can export such annotations for mixing, how?

Hm, for a sub-collection I think I might like to export reference + abstract + my Notes + sticky notes + "highlighted bits". Why? Well, until I get a super large monitor or interactive projection or interactive table display upon which I can spread my individual notes to physically shift and shuffle, probably to print for that process.

What about reports? No, neither highlights nor annotations appear in reports.

Please tell me: How / does Zotero's highlighting and sticky notes work into your study process?

But ... reports with the excess stuff excluded by Jason Priem's fix; offers a way for me to gather notes to print and shuffle perhaps. Unfortunately, I can't work out why the author sorting wouldn't work.

Other filetypes like images

Aside from snapshots and pdfs that don't come with good metadata (I really want to learn more precisely how metadata storage and grabbing works with pdfs) - I haven't stored anything in Zotero. The above makes me wonder whether the option has productive value? For example, I'm thinking IF my research involved obtaining/using images + IF I attached it to metadata = could I then drag both image and metadata over to my document with Zotero styling the metadata as caption the way APA likes?

If nothing so fancy, it doesn't seem worthwhile, afterall Dropbox offers more storage for free. It now occurs to me that this "automatic snapshot" is what has filled my free Zotero storage - even while I haven't been using the darn things. If I switch that off, would I remember to take a snapshot when it would be useful to do so?


I'm finding the automatic tags a real nuisance. They can be hidden. Even so, I haven't been using tags ... @Zotero users: how do tags help with your study processes?

Sorting! Ta Da: Research Diary!

Wow, Finally I discovered what I can do with
Sort by Date Added and include Standalone Notes and we could have something on the road to a research diary.

Saved Searches

Thanks to people sharing their libraries like Paolo Cardullo, I got the word from Lincoln Mullin on how Saved Searches (and Tags) in Zotero can help with research workflow. (He also mentioned the value of Collections, but I thought that'd be obvious).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maybe research diary online

What online tool, or easy ways to combine tools might optimise my study?

I've enjoyed keeping a notebook before - particularly using marginalia that help remind, reflect, review, rediscover, save time.

But these days when I use so many digital (on and off line) tools for study I can't help feeling that the old pen and notebook might not "sync" very well.

So I've begun exploring what others do with online research diaries (other keywords: learning, study, search, log, journal, notebook, scrapbook...?).  So far, I haven't seen anyone using a tool or combination of tools in ways that would achieve all I would desire from a digital system for tracking my [research, learning, study, thinking, notes].

As I couldn't work out where to begin my jumble of thoughts I tried a new (to me) online mind mapping tool that I heard offered embed-ability.  Unfortunately Mindomo took a long time to load, so I'm guessing its embeds would too.  It doesn't contain all the notes I have in my diary yet, perhaps I'll add them later - but I'm curious how it will look, so:

Right, so I'd have to edit the width parameters to get the vertical scroll bar perhaps?  I tried fiddling with the html for that, but couldn't work it out - any suggestions?

(Dan Stillman reported progress on "formatted references" from the API (of which I have a bare glimmer of comprehension) but which I guess is approaching embeddability?, if not yet for me. If embeddability ever arrives I hope it will let abstracts be used so I can embed an annotated bibliography)

Update: I've since discovered that Zotero could serve, with standalone notes, although it would not offer the potential for direct feedback that a blog would.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crocodoc - could be useful?

Crocodoc looks like it could be useful for collaborative editing? I wonder if hyperlinks are possible in comments or annotations? In any case, with thanks to Creative Commons Australia and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation for making the following material available (CC BY 2.5), this is how embedding a crocodoc looks:

So, I got to play with highlighting, drawing, text and commenting; and discovered that the decision whether to include annotation options in an embed happens at the point of getting embed code.


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