Ready, Set, Zotero!

That’s right, folks, we are launching a group Zotero account, and we want all Network members to join in on the collaborative fun. For those who are not familiar with Zotero, it is a free, open-source note taking software developed by George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media. It allows you to organize, cite, and share your research. Basically, a shared group Zotero account will enable members of the Network to share sources and citations with one another with the goal of compiling a comprehensive list of scholarship on library history and print culture in the Atlantic world. Not only will it be useful to gather information on scholarship on libraries, but also primary sources for library history – something especially useful for future collaborative grant applications.

Much like the task of a library or archive is to categorize what it has in stock, we have already begun the process of creating a taxonomy of different types of sources germane to the historiography (or rather, historiographies) of library history. This helps us make sense of all the various sorts of scholarship available on library history and print culture. We would encourage you to aid us in this taxonomy project by delegating your references to whatever category is most apt.

Another neat feature that Zotero has to offer is its timeline tool. This requires downloading the desktop version of Zotero, which automatically syncs up with your online account (something we highly recommend doing). In the desktop version, you can highlight a folder you want to look at, and then Zotero will visualize the contents of the folder according to the date of publication. This application is very useful for understanding the development of the field over time. You’ll find this feature by going to Tools → Create Timeline, and then let Zotero take care of the rest!

Registration is actually quite quick and easy. Simply go to, click on “Register” in the top left corner, and create your username and password. From there you can search for our group (The Community Libraries Network), or simply follow this link, which will take you to our group page. From there, all you need to do is hit “Join Group,” and you will be shortly confirmed thereafter. Once a group member, we ask you to take a look at what is already in the account and share with the group a minimum of three references. If you are not on Zotero and instead want to email me your citations, I can add them to the account on your behalf. You would still be able to view the group library, but you would not be able to make any contributions or edits to it.

If you are having any issues or would like us to add citations for you, please contact our Social Media Assistant Aaron Brunmeier at

One thought on “Ready, Set, Zotero!

  1. Pingback: Chicago Colloquium Information | Community Libraries

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