The research organizer and reference manager Zotero is one of ProfHacker’s favorite tools. I’ve shown how ZotPad allows you to access your saved sources and PDFs on your iPad, but there’s one key functionality that ZotPad doesn’t (yet) provide: saving citations to Zotero from your iPad.
Enter the Zotero Bookmarklet.
The Zotero Bookmarklet can be added to almost any modern browser—including Safari on the iPad or iPhone—and it allows you to save a source to your Zotero library, as long as the Zotero web service recognizes that source. In other words, the Zotero Bookmarklet works well with common research databases, electronic journals, and new sources, while it’s not likely to recognize regular blogs and random websites.
Installation of bookmarklets on iOS browsers is tricky, but this is the essential process (adapted from the official Zotero documentation):
- Bookmark this page (or any page). Be sure to save it to Safari’s Bookmarks Bar (as opposed to your regular bookmarks).
- Edit the bookmark you’ve just made.
- Rename the bookmark to something appropriate. Mine is called, simply, “Zotero.”
- Copy the code from the Zotero Bookmarklet page (click the iPhone/iPad link there to view it) and paste that code as the URL for the bookmark
And there you have it! The first time you save a source you’ll be prompted to log into Zotero, but then it should work fine for you. Note that if you use a non-Zotero server to sync your attachments, the attachments (say, a PDF of the article you’ve just saved from Project Muse) will not be saved to your account. My current workaround is to download the attachment to Dropbox from my iPad, and then add the file to the citation in Zotero once I’m at my regular PC. I haven’t been able to verify this, but I expect that if you do avail yourself of Zotero’s file storage service, the attachments save without a hassle.
(Addendum: Fellow ProfHacker Amy Cavender has confirmed that the Zotero Bookmarklet does indeed grab PDF attachments if you’re using Zotero’s own file storage service.)
Can you imagine using the Zotero Bookmarklet? Would it change your workflow? If you have an alternative that already works for you, what is it?
My Pile of Index Card photo by Flickr user koalazymonkey / Creative Commons Licensed