Honestly speaking: I hardly know anything about computers and the web. Okay, it’s getting better. Nevertheless I always have the same problem: something goes wrong or doesn’t work right from the start. When I was younger I used to freak out, but now that I’m grown up I troubleshoot and I actually realized being determined and staying calm works. Thus if I have a lot of time then I’m even able to enjoy new technical stuff.
Therefore it was a good experience to get to know something about Add-ons like Zotero. So first I started researching what an Add-on is and found this definition:”An add-on is a software extension that adds extra features to a program. It may extend certain functions within the program, add new items to the program’s interface, or give the program additional capabilities.” Concerning Firefox you can install Add-ons such as Zotero (helps you organizing your links etc), Ghostery (shows you, who tracks you) and I even found a superfluous Add-on that enlarges the thumbnails on facebook (just for fun I tried it and it works…).
Did you know that 85% of Firefox 4 users installed an Add-on, which is more than 60 million users every day? On Saturday I installed my very first Add-on. At first I wasn’t sure what to do so I followed Dr.B’s example to get a feeling for Add-ons; I installed Zotero.
I’m a person that tests technical things first all by herself and if it doesn’t work , I will read the instructions or tips that are mostly given. Luckily this time everything worked and I could read:
“Success! You installed Zotero!”
So after having installed Zotero, I started exploring the new Add-on. First I tested everything by myself; creating new folders, organizing my links etc.. But I was sure I could do more. Thus I did a bit of research like reading the Zotero web page and watching some videos on youtube (1, 2), because here people explain how to use Zotero in a brief and simple manner.
How does Zotero simplify my life?
On their own page they say it helps you “collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources”.
Normally I store my links concerning one topic either in a newly created folder under favourites or in the favourites toolbar, but Zotero helps me to store these links even better.
Example of how I explored Zotero: I went to google books and chose a book. Right next to the URL you can see a tiny book (if you are watching a video on youtube it will be a tiny filmstrip –> see picture).
If you click it, the link will be copied in your library automatically. So if I go now back to my library and click the link I can see additional information like who wrote the book, when it was written, where it was published etc.(this is an important fact concerning citing, but I will come to that in a sec). Moreover, I can take notes in my library next to the corresponding link. For me it’s quite useful, because I often take notes on an extra sheet but after a while I have a lot of them or I just lose them, which I can now easily avoid. Consequently, Zotero really helped me to collect and organize my stuff; but what about citing?
I can write a lot but take a look at this video. Here someone explains how you can use Zotero for citing.
With two upcoming essays in mind, this is actually the best part of that software, because instead of having to write the citation all by myself I can now only click several times and there it is.
During my researches I stumbled upon Zotpress. It’s a Plugin that displays your Zotero citations on WordPress. I would have liked to install it but I have already updated my Firefox and as far as I understood it only works with Firefox 4 at the moment.
Another thing Zotero is good for, is sharing your research sources. To do that you need to log in. Then you can found your own group where everyone who is allowed to join that group, can upload information.
Moreover if you have an Zotero account you have access to the information stored in your library regardless which computer you use.
As you can see I now understand what Zotero is and how I can use it for my own benefit. Because installing Zotero was so simple and really worked right from the start I looked for another Add-on to deepen my knowledge a bit…
I chose Ghostery.
This is even easier to use than Zotero, because the only thing you need to do is installing the Add-on. As I already mentioned in the beginning, this Add-on helps you tracking your trackers! Just take a look at the picture.
15 trackers! Ghostery even shows who is tracking me, as you can see on the right side. This frame actually just pops up shortly, but if you click “15 trackers” you can click the name of the tracker and Ghostery will provide you with additional information. It even offers cookie protection and allows you to block certain companies.
Considering that we are tracked every single minute we surf the net, I appreciate it to know who is tracking me and that I’m able to get to know more about this company or to just simply block it. Thus, I recommend this Add-on to everyone who cares about privacy. If you are interested in further information just read this.
As you might have noticed I experienced this all by myself, therefore there aren’t so many links in here and no manager opinions on how business can profit or something alike. This time I cared more about technology and how it works. Therefore this blog post is actually a protocol of I how said bye bye to my fear of technology!