Zotero Everywhere

Here’s the big news today from our Zotero project, or you can hear me do my best to explain what’s next for Zotero on the recording of today’s broadcast of the Zotero announcement.

We’re delighted to announce Zotero Everywhere, a major new initiative generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Zotero Everywhere is aimed at dramatically increasing the accessibility of Zotero to the widest possible range of users today and in the future. Zotero Everywhere will have two main components: a standalone desktop version of Zotero with full integration into a variety of web browsers and a radically expanded application programming interface (API) to provide web and mobile access to Zotero libraries.

Zotero is the only research software that provides full and seamless access to a comprehensive range of open and gated resources. With a single click, Zotero users have long been able to add a complete journal article, book, or other resource to their personal libraries, including bibliographic metadata and attached files like PDFs. Until now, this powerful functionality has been tied exclusively to the Firefox browser, which not all researchers can or want to use. Today we are announcing support for Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Internet Explorer, which account for 98% of the web’s usage share. Plugins for these browsers will soon allow users to add anything they find on the web to their Zotero libraries with a single click, regardless of the their browser preferences. Rather than use the Zotero pane in Firefox, users will have the new option of accessing their libraries via a standalone desktop version of Zotero, available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Zotero’s web API offers any application developer the ability to access individual and group libraries via a simple, human-readable programming interface. Until now, this API has been “read-only”—users could view their libraries but they could not change them via the web or via the API. Today we’re announcing the opening of Zotero’s write API to the public over the coming months. Because Zotero “eats its own dog food”—we already use the very same programming interface to serve pages at zotero.org—application developers can be confident that the public API will ultimately provide all the same functionality used internally at the Zotero project. With full read/write access to bibliographic data, attached files like PDFs, and the citation formatting engine, developers will be able to integrate a full range of Zotero features into their own web, mobile, and desktop applications, and users will be able to take advantage of this functionality at zotero.org.

Zotero Everywhere responds to the constantly changing needs of Zotero’s enormous research community. Downloaded millions of times since 2006 and used by hundreds of thousands of researchers daily, Zotero has grown to the world’s largest and most diverse online research community, with nearly 50 million library items presently synced to zotero.org. In addition to sharing their own individual libraries, Zotero users have formed over 25,000 collaborative research groups to pool references, share files, and coauthor manuscripts. By providing new ways of accessing and integrating this vast array of data, Zotero Everywhere will ensure that Zotero continues to be the catalyst for the next generation of research and scholarship.

7 thoughts on “Zotero Everywhere

  1. mark

    It all sounds great, but I note with some caution that the news item carefully avoids any mention of specific dates. Is there an ETA? When and where can we download standalone Zotero?

    I just hope that “soon” and like expressions in this announcement do not have the same semantic latitude as in Zotero developers’ responses on the forums…

  2. Dan Cohen Post author

    @mark: if you’re following Zotero’s code repository, code has already been committed today for the Chrome and Safari extensions and the standalone version. So we’re trying to do this as rapidly as possible.

  3. Timothywmurray

    We’ve done our best to optimize our site for Zotero. And I’ve been using Zotero for a research project. But over the last several moths I’ve found that I’m in Chrome a lot more than I’m in Firefox. And I need to switch to firefox to add something to my library. The Chrome version is a huge plus. Also, I have acces to an iPad and hope that Zotero will work in Safari on an iPad one day soon.

    Thanks for Zotero.

  4. mark

    Ironically, I come across this post (and my own sceptical reaction #3) while browsing the web on an IPad, searching for updates on Zotero Everywhere and the famed read and write API. I know from the Zotero forums that Standalone is soon to come out in beta and that the first release is planned for September 2011. It does seem that the skepticism in my post was not all that unjustified.

    Everyone knows that releasing good software takes time. Yet there is something about the timing between optimistic announcements like this one and actual release dates that doesn’t sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great Zotero advocate and I have suggested it to many academic colleagues. But perhaps that is it: the enthusiasm is fueled by announcements of killer features, but these features take a long time to materialise which can be something of a letdown.

  5. Dan Cohen Post author

    @Mark: The alpha of Standalone has been available for six months (and in my experience, more advanced that the usual “alpha”), and if you’re following the code repository and all of the commits on Standalone, the upcoming releases are right on schedule.

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