Two Misconceptions about the Zotero-IA Alliance

Thanks to everyone for their helpful (and thankfully, mostly positive) feedback on the new Zotero-IA alliance. I wanted to try to clear up a couple of things that the press coverage and my own writing failed to communicate. (Note to self: finally get around to going to one of those media training courses so I can learn how to communicate all of the elements of a complex project well in three minutes, rather than lapsing into my natural academic long-windedness.)

1. Zotero + IA is not simply the Zotero Commons

Again, this is probably my fault for not communicating the breadth of the project better. The press has focused on items #1 and 2 in my original post—they are the easiest to explain—but while the project does indeed try to aggregate scholarly resources, it is also trying to solve another major problem with contemporary scholarship: scholars are increasingly using and citing web resources but have no easy way to point to stable URLs and cached web pages. In particular, I encourage everyone to read item #3 in my original post again, since I consider it extremely important to the project.

Items #4 and 5 also note that we are going to leverage IA for better collaboration, discovery, and recommendation systems. So yes, the Commons, but much more too.

2. Zotero + IA is not intended to put institutional repositories out of business, nor are they excluded from participation

There has been some hand-wringing in the library blogosphere this week (see, e.g., Library 2.0) that this project makes an end-run around institutional repositories. These worries were probably exacerbated by the initial press coverage that spoke of “bypassing” the libraries. However, I want to emphasize that this project does not make IA the exclusive back end for contributions. Indeed, I am aware of several libraries that are already experimenting with using Zotero as an input device for institutional repositories. There is already an API for the Zotero client that libraries can extract data and files from, and the server will have an even more powerful API so that libraries can (with their users’ permission, of course) save materials into an archive of their own.

4 thoughts on “Two Misconceptions about the Zotero-IA Alliance

  1. Pingback: LibrarySupportStaff.Org » Zotero Commons

  2. Dorothea Salo

    Quick question. Is there or will there be support for the new SWORD protocol (based on Atom PP)? That would win you DSpace, EPrints, and Fedora support at a stroke.

  3. Dan Cohen Post author

    @Dorothea: We have been mulling using Atom for various things. I’m not familiar with SWORD–thanks for mentioning it–it sounds great for this purpose.

  4. Pingback: Zotero + IA | EricHoefler.com

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