For newcomers to Zotero, here are pointers to the resources you need to get started. You’ll need the Firefox web browser, the Zotero plugin for Firefox, and the Zotero plugin for your word processor. If you need a word processor, I recommend OpenOffice.
Firefox web browser
Zotero requires the Firefox web browser. Firefox is available for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and other computer operating systems. Don’t be surprised if you end up liking Firefox for more than just using Zotero.
Zotero plugin for Firefox
Once you’ve installed Firefox, you’ll need to install Zotero. Zotero is an add-in for Firefox — it provides additional features to the basic Firefox installation. At the moment there’s a stable, public version of Zotero (version 1.0.10) as well as a “beta” version that has many advanced features (version 2.0b4). If you’re new to Zotero, you’re encouraged to use the stable release, linked below. The daring are left to discover the beta version on their own.
Zotero integration for word processors
Finally, to use your Zotero references in your word processor, you need to install the word processor plugins. Note that there are a number of ideosyncracies depending on your choice of word processor, its version number, and the operating system in which you’re running it. I’m using OpenOffice 3.1.0 on Mac OS X 10.5.7 without any issues. Your mileage may vary. These plugins are in active development so please refer to the Information page for up-to-date details about your particular installation requirements.
Technically, you don’t need OpenOffice to use Zotero but since I find that it works so well for me, I feel compelled to provide this pointer.
OpenOffice is a free office productivity suite like Microsoft Office. It opens and saves all Microsoft Office document formats and it has many additional features. Upgrades will always be free for the download. Like Zotero and Firefox, OpenOffice is free because many people and many organizations have made contributions to its development and have released it to the public as a way to make powerful technology accessible to everyone.
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About the authorOrest Kinasevych is a digital media and publishing technologies instructor and consultant. He currently holds a faculty position at Red River College in Winnipeg, Canada. Orest has worked as a publishing technologies consultant to clients in publishing, pharmaceutical, travel information and financial industries across the U.S., Europe and Asia.
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