February 23, 2009

Zotero 1.5 Beta with multi-computer syncing is released

This is a potential game-changer in the citation management wars.

The Beta version of Zotero 1.5 has been released.

The most notable new features are:

  • Automatic synchronization of collections among multiple computers. For example, sync your PC at work with your Mac laptop and your Linux desktop at home.
  • Free automatic backup of your library data on Zotero’s servers.
  • Automatic synchronization of your attachment files to a WebDAV server (e.g. iDisk, Jungle Disk, or university-provided web storage).

Other New Features
  • Automatic detection of PDF metadata.
  • Automatic detection and support for proxy servers.
  • Trash can with restore item functionality
  • Rich-text notes
  • A new style manager allowing you to add and delete CSLs and legacy style formats.
  • Support for Endnote® export styles

Syncing being the feature that pretty well everybody was waiting for.

This is really interesting for a number of reasons. Most of all, Zotero is a free and open source software package, so it can potentially be customized to work for local groups. Zotero is now a very real competitor to RefWorks and others for consortial and institutional site licenses and local implementations.

Looking forward, if I were interested in designing and building a cradle to grave research environment for researchers, Zotero has to be a candidate for the citation management component.

Two things I'd still like to see are some social sharing features like with Del.icio.us or Connotea. Looking forward to that seamless research environment, it would also be great if they could work out integration to an online document preparation system like Google Docs or Zoho.

I'm about to start some pretty intense literature reviewing myself pretty soon, and I have to admit I was still unsure which way I would go, citation management-wise. Now I'm thinking I'll give Zotero a shot.


S.M. Forbes said...

Hi John,

I too am very excited to explore the new beta version of Zotero.

I've traditionally relied heavily on RefWorks over the years but Zotero's added features and the fact it is free and open source are starting to make it even more appealing.

Unfortunately, it should be noted that unlike other citation management options (i.e. RefWorks) which work with various browsers, institutions that still have not embraced Firefox will have to stick with Zotero's competitors...but really, who isn't using Firefox these days?

John Dupuis said...

Hi 4bes,

I agree that if there's anything that will prevent Zotero Global Domination, it's the tie to FireFox. A lot of institutional subscribers will probably seem that as a deal breaker, sadly.

Natalie said...

Hi - there's also another tool on the block which I read about earlier this week - Mendeley. It's an online tool so not browser dependent. I haven't tried it yet but it looks interesting. You can find out more here and also get a direct link to the Mendeley site -