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I love Zotero! It is a great bibliography tool, it is free, it is open source, it runs without any problems on Linux and without it I’d be lost in an ocean of references. I just wish…

… there was one more feature:

I use the tagging system in Zotero a lot. Next to the folders, which are helpful for organising bibliographies for certain projects, I tag everything according to area (such as “Italy”, “middle-Germany”), specialisation (e.g. “lithics”, “ceramics”) and method (e.g. “statistics”, “GIS”). Now, wouldn’t it be great, if every time I tag something as “middle-Germany” it would by default be tagged as “Europe” as well? And “central Europe”? And “Germany”? That’d be soooo good! A friend of mine agrees, so: Hierarchical tagging, please, make it a thing (I asked for it on the discussion board at zotero, ’cause I lack skills… let’s see what happens).

As you can see, there is a dedicated community working on zotero and helping to implement ideas.

What else is great about Zotero?

There are public groups you can join, that share orderly folders with meta data infused and tagged references. I joined the one of the DGUF, which is the German Society of Pre- and Protohistory. They have a huge amount of references in there, which I now can search for literature as well as use all the data myself. Such an amazing resource and kudos to the DGUF for compiling it all!

We use the same principle on this blog: Sebastian and I share a folder, in which we both put the references to articles we need. Via the Plugin Zotpress we can insert them into our blog posts and create the bibliographies with just one click. Since I wrote my Master’s thesis in LaTeX, where I organised my references with the help of Zotero for the first time, I adore this moment! *click* aaaaand … [insert dramatic pause] tadaaaa! 10 pages of references done. Just like this*.

Zotero is able to connect to a range of other programs, such as libre office (Yay!) and can be implemented in markup languages such as markdown. I use it in Rmarkdown a lot (see here for a brief introduction).

So all in all: It is such a useful program and I love it!



* weeeell, admittedly it usually also involves some time of frustrated spell-checking of meta data, confused staring at some weird formatting issues and googling of “what was this again”…

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About the author

My name is Sophie, I am a prehistoric archaeologist and currently research associate at the University of Bonn after working for three years at the Cologne Digital Archaeology Lab (CoDArchLab) of the Archaeological Institute at the University of Cologne, Germany. I teach statistics for archaeologists, work on new methods in settlement archaeology (GIS, geostatistics in R and stuff) and am interested in archaeogaming.

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