Friday, October 06, 2006

New Bibliographic Options

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I use Notabene and its bibliographic component Ibidem for my dissertation rather than the more typical combination of Word and Endnote, partly because Endnote 7 couldn't deal with Czech characters well. I still subscribe to the Endnote email list, however, because on the whole Endnote is good software and I encourage my students to get it at University of Pittsburgh's impressive discount.
Endnote does have a few other competitors, none of which I've really investigated thoroughly. Those interested in a bibliographic software that includes similarities to (admittedly, neither Endnote nor Ibidem are stunning at handling Web-bsed sources) may want to read about Zotero. It's a brand-new, free open-source, Web-based system that runs as an extension to Firefox 2. It has some interesting backers, including George Mason University, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Institute of Museum of Library Services.
One issue I see with Zotero is precisely the fact that it is Web-based. Granted, the day may soon come when every computer is always online, but I can assure you that, even with ADSL at home mine is not. I work in quite a few places that don't have internet access, or whose access is not free. Not only am I not about to pay for access in a cafe unless I really need it (and some cafes only give 15-30 minutes of free access with purchase of food, which is not enough to do much), but I haven't managed to get the Wi-fi on the new laptop functional yet. The laptop recognizes Wi-fi connections and claims to connect to them, but neither Firefox nor Internet Explorer can access the Web. I can't figure out whether I have some obscure firewall issue or what; the driver is supposed to be the latest.
Aside from my personal Wi-fi issues (which, however, I imagine quite a few people share), internet access is hardly universal worldwide. I recently read in a news item that an incredibly small percentage of Czechs have internet access at home. This is in an industrialized, modern country where internet resources are pretty good and political parties campaign on a free neighborhood Wi-fi platform. A growing number of Czech students do have laptops, but they don't seem to have internet at home, judging by the number of people who ask me in cafes if I've managed to connect to Wi-fi there because they can't seem to connect. (My response is that I haven't even tried to connect since I have internet at home.)
Well, it will be interesting to see what happens with Zotero, which is still pretty much in development.


Anonymous Sean said...

Zotero works offline, too.

October 06, 2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can use Zotero off-line. It stores data locally.

October 06, 2006 2:00 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

Glad to hear this.

October 09, 2006 5:57 PM  

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