Two neat ways to organize your web stuff: Zotero and Digsby

Over the Christmas break, I’ve gotten cozy with a couple neat applications that I thought I’d share. There’s nothing like getting all your web-based stuff organized over the holidays to brace for the busy-ness that lies ahead in the New Year. It’s like cleaning out your closet and making sense of the stuff that piles up doing the year. Organizational bliss!

One is Zotero, which markets itself as a Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself. I use it to organize my bookmarks in Firefox, since you can include tags and other metadata (we all know how much lie-berrians love the metadata). However beyond a regular bookmark organizer, there are add-ons for Microsoft Word and OpenOffice which allow you to generate auto-formatted bibliographies. Genius!

I haven’t used it for any of my papers yet, but I do like holding on to the kinds of webpages that have a habit of getting buried (i.e.: news articles or blog posts) and seeing all the stuff I have tagged for “throw cushions” or “Report on Business” in a single list (welcome to my browsing behaviours). I made a few bibliographies in Word, and it works beautifully – akin to Office 2007’s internal References functionality, but with the added benefit of being integrated right in your web brower. It’s also open source, so if you’re a coding dork – go nuts.

Another app I just downloaded is called Digsby, which is one of those integrated web-based thingys that puts all your social media crappola into one pretty list so you don’t go crazy trying to keep up with all your status updates when all you really want to do it go read a paper-based book or something.

God. The double-edged sword of social media.

Anyway, it’s really cute and it displays very clearly. I’m going to have to disable some other apps because it has those pop-up windows to notify you when something happens on facebook, myspace, twitter, msn, g-chat, etc., and THOSE pop-ups combined with my TweetDeck pop-ups, gmail pop-ups and all the other pop-ups are making my desktop a frightening, hostile place to be… Even so, it’s nice to have a single window to manage all these various programs. I think I’m sort of behind on the federated-social-media-application trend, but I thought I’d share this one in particular, since it’s cute.

I’ve shared both applications with friends, and have received positive feedback, so check it out if you’re interested!

digsby-and-zotero8

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One response to “Two neat ways to organize your web stuff: Zotero and Digsby

  1. Hi Meghan,

    if you are interested in research management tools, I suggest you also have a look at Mendeley (www.mendeley.com, I’m a co-founder).

    Mendeley Desktop is free academic software for managing and sharing research papers. Mendeley Web is a free research network which lets you access your papers online, discover research trends and connect to like-minded researchers.

    You can also create formatted bibliographies and you can download an alpha version of a Word plugin to cite your references in your papers. Mendeley is only in beta right now, but feel free to engage in our feedback forum (http://feedback.mendeley.com) and add your suggestions/comments.

    Apart from that, I hope you like our vision of creating something like a “Last.fm for Research” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzJbrA9EY7A).

    Best wishes
    Jan