Firefox Research Extension

I’ve been using the Zotero research extension for Firefox for about six months and find it extremely helpful. Zotero makes it easy to store, organize, annotate, search and cite internet references for any research project. Zotero comes form the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and is sponsored by the United States Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For me the most important reason to use Zotero is to protect your research sources against disappearing from the net. This aspect saved my butt quite a bit last year when GeoCities was closed and a number of good information sources I had found vanished. With copies of the references safely stored in Zotero on my local PC I didn’t have to worry about manually scraping the sites before they closed or trying to find them in the WayBack Machine at

To help keep multiple projects organized I use Firefox profiles to give me separate Zotero databases for each project. I use my default user profile for Blackstone Valley research and then created new profiles named GWPresTour and WorkResearch for my two other active research projects. To use the other profiles I created desktop shortcuts with command lines like this: “C:Program FilesMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe” -P “GWPresTour”.

I did find one feature of Zotero a little bit annoying, the annotation toolbar that gets added to Firefox whenever you view a saved snapshot. It takes up a bit too much screen real estate and can not be toggled on and off with Firefox’s toolbars menu. A fix for this is in the last message of the Hide annotation toolbar thread at the Zotero Forums. By using the Stylish Firefox Extension I can toggle the annotation toolbar on and off easily now.

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