Zotero and the research process

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Zotero is a great tool for citation management, and for teaching students the research process. Zotero doesn't just manage citations and create bibliographies, it allows users to create tags, take snapshots of webpages, and write notes attached to each source. Note-taking is part of the research process that students may find cumbersome and may be tempted to skip altogether, but Zotero builds note-taking into the whole process. You can even organize your notes and print them out.

Beginning researchers often write their paper based on their own thoughts and experiences, then find some sources and include them in the bibliography. They may not understand how the sources fit in with the writing and research process; they may not read the sources carefully, or at all. Zotero encourages users to read their sources online (avoiding printing charges), and make notes as they read right on the same screen.

I was a little daunted a first by Zotero's busy homepage, and by the three-paneled window Zotero uses to organize its functions. But once I started using it, everything fell into place.

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      I am a reference and instruction librarian at Penn State University Libraries in Library Learning Services and Education and Behavioral Sciences.       

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