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Zotero

So as a senior I figured that I had a good hand on this whole digital history thing. I mean I have been looking stuff up online for almost four years now for research papers. History has come along way from the days of dusty archives and libraries, we do not have to spend days rummaging through stacks of books in order to find primary data now. Firing up the computer brings that information right to us. Little did I know that Digital history is far beyond just googling stuff on the computer. The technological revolution has latched onto history and dragged it far from the dusty archives from which it came. Many archives now are now online and can be accessed easily by people everywhere. I figured this much, makes reasonable sense now to store stuff online with the technology we have today. But what I had not thought much on is how significantly communication between scholars has been changed. Scholars can exchange information almost instantaneously. Blogging, Tweeting, and messaging allow knowledge to spread to and from experts in fields. Blogs now have become the apparent go to for historians to have, allowing them to share their research and what they love with everyone. It connects them with audiences in a positive way and possibly even helps encourage them to buy their books. Blogs are helping to bridge the gap between the Historians and the consumers of history that plagued the discipline for years. No longer is history being simply passed back and forth in lengthy text books between professors. now that same history is accessible to anybody with a computer.

But without a doubt the most important thing that I have learned so far is zotero. If you have ever done any research project and do not know what this is, prepare to be blown away. We all know how painstaking citing sources can be. We all have our own tricks to ease the pain but at the end of the day there really isn’t much worse than bibliographies, there is always something wrong with them. Zotero is the fix all to this problem. This software allows you to instantly save sources and organize them all on your computer. This is essential for history in the digital age, it streamline the process of citation and documentation and most importantly is a more accurate process. I would highly recommend downloading this before your next research project.

Before I found zotero I was a big user of sites such as Bibme and similar sites. I have always struggled with accurate citation and these sights were the biggest help. But zotero has opened my eyes to the extent of the advantages of technology.  I lived on Bibme for years. I thought it was the greatest thing, for hours I would copy and paste those website and let Bibme. But no more thanks to zotero because zotero does it instantly with the click of an icon. Books, journals, magazines, blogs, you name it does it. This software while perfect for history research is really something that I feel is essential for a researcher in any field. Even the common every day researcher would benefit from this software.

I think back on all the bibliographies that I stressed over during projects. The ease that this software inserts into researching is unbelievable.  The ability to not only have accurate and correct bibliographies but the ability to organize your sources is something that would not be possible without the advancements in technology. A software such as zotero is essential I feel to doing history in the modern digital world. I hope that these technologies continue to advance, with the continual advancement of technology it is necessary for these programs to develop with them. Digital History is the future and as long as it is the future of History is bright. But more importantly the future of citations of bibliographies are easier.

 

 

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1 reply »

  1. As a librarian, I feel the need to weight in a little bit here. The author talks about libraries only in the context of “dusty” print volumes. Keep in mind that the sources and databases which make historical research possible are available to historians because of libraries. At Messiah College for example, Murray Library provides online access to primary and secondary sources through databases such as Early American Imprints, Accessible Archives, America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, JSTOR, Ancestry, and more! Just because a researcher is not physically inside a library doesn’t mean that they aren’t using library resources (at the cost of many thousand dollars from the library budget) to access amazing online resources at the touch of a keyboard!

    I’m sure that the author already knows about and appreciates quality library databases and resources; indeed, the description provided in the blog post is inspiring! I just want to make sure that readers who may not be as knowledgeable about the wide scope of online library resources are made aware. Unfortunately many people who use online library resources aren’t even aware that they are “inside” a virtual library!

    I can’t agree more about the amazing power of Zotero! I use it all the time and I go into several courses to teach students how to setup and use this fantastic software. I’m glad you find it so useful too – keep sharing!

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