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Zotero the missing citation manager

Update: Even more usable by zotfile.

  • Automatic extraction of pdf content?
  • Automatic extraction of notes?

Yes, zotfile please!

Original post:

The fun fact about Zotero is that I have never wanted to use it until I see it in action. In fact, I did not want to use any citation manager.

What is a citation manager? A pretty boring piece of software:

  • You can browse all your pdf papers from one window. Well, file manager or Calibre can do it too, right?
  • You can track affiliations and BibTex entries for each article. Oh yes! I hate doing that!
  • You can full text search through pdfs. Argh… simple with pdf2txt and grep, right?
  • Synchronize it across devices.

That was my first reaction. The second one was wait, what?! Zotero can do it all out of the box?

Let me tell you how do I use it now:

  • The new release of Zotero 4.0 introduced option to store the database and pdfs to particular path which can be synchronized via Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. Nice start I have backups!
  • I installed the Zotero Standalone and Google Chrome plugin, which allows you to store the affiliation, pdf names, in fact the whole BibTex entry directly from http://scholar.google.com, http://research.microsoft.com, and other websites
  • The cool thing that you can add almost any other raw pdf and download the meta information, the BibTex entry directly from Zotero
    • I just download the pdf
    • Drop it from file manager to Zotero
    • Open the menu for the pdf and click Retrieve Metadata for PDF. See the picture below.
    • Wait few seconds before Zotero do finishes its magic, and full BibTex entry is downloaded. This works for almost every paper. Even for mine … which totally got me!

Zotero is retrieving the metadata. Zotero downloaded metadata for my article.