Zotero has become a popular choice for those seeking a free and open-source Personal Bibliographic Manager (PBM). In addition to its many useful features, several independent developers have produced helper applications (“apps”) for use with cellphones using the Android operating system. These apps are mostly aimed at the tiresome end of using any PBM: getting the metadata into the system.
Zandy is a well-configured application that allows users to edit and view their Zotero libraries, add new items, and work offline. This means that metadata can be added easily and from various locations, such as a library or when conducting research. So, instead of scribbling notes (and then losing them) about new publications, an Android (version 2.2 or above) user can capture the metadata and upload to a personal Zotero datafile. Costing R31.35, it offers a lot of functionality and future releases promise even more.
Let’s go a little further: how about being able to scan the barcode of a book and automatically capturing the metadata about it? This is what Scanner for Zotero offers for a price of R15.64. Scan the ISBN barcode of a book with an Android (version 1.6 or above) phone, and the software will add the book to a personal Zotero datafile.
If you are an iPhone user, then BibUp may be of interest. It is also a scanner but provides the additional functionality of photographing specific pages to be collected, on which BibUp will even perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Users of the iPod Touch should note that the low quality of the images captured by its camera makes effective use of this application difficult.
ZotFile Reader eases the transfer of Zotero-based files in Portable Document Format (PDF) to and from mobile readers like Android devices and the iPad, by automating the attachment of PDFs to Zotero items, and the renaming of those files according to conventions decided by the user.
Quite a feast of useful applications! it is well worth following the Zotero blog for information about other useful innovations and, also, for some excellent advice and tutorials on using Zotero.