Storing Web Pages Just got Easier

Zotero is a Firefox extension that will be of great value to you if you are maintaining a blog or doing research on the web or any reason that involves storing web pages. Zotero provides you with an interface that lets you store web pages, in a variety of formats, and retrieve them with a variety of tools. The trick to making it the ‘run away’ winner in the ‘best of breed’ category is based on three important variables.

  • Convenience – Zotero places an icon (it’s actually the word Zotero) on the bottom of your browser in the status bar. When you click on the icon, the bottom of your browser rises up about 3 inches and you see the Zotero interface. So the program is right on hand and ready any time you are.
  • Storage- Zotero gives you several ways to store the page you are looking at. You can link to the page, save the item as (I’m assuming) an html page so when you pull it up it will look just like it did when you viewed it, you can take a snapshot of the page (stores it in an image format), and you can write a note about the page that gets stored along with the rest of the information.
  • Retrieval- So once you have all this information stored away you need a way to get to it. While you were going through the process of saving all these links, web pages, snapshots, and notes, you’ve been creating a filing system. So you can navigate to the files just like you wouldanything you’ve stored on your hard drive. Zotero also provides a search engine. So if you’ve created a huge archive and the file system is just the tip of the iceberg, you can run a search and retrieve the information. There is even a way to index your files for optimized searching. You also have the ability to ‘tag’ the entry so you can look things up that way as well. Zotero doesn’t just list the files like you would see them on your hard drive, although you can ask Zotero to open the database file where they are stored, everything is bundled up nicely and delivered through their interface. You retrieve the item you’ve saved and then on the right side of the interface there are buttons and tabs that let you pull up the snapshot, notes, or associated files… In general, everything is bundled up very nicely and it’s a lot prettier than weeding through the files on your system.

To sum things up, Zotero does a great job of helping you store information and then making it available when you need it. It’s a big task, much more complicated than most extensions, and Zotero does it better than anything else I’ve worked with. So install it in your Firefox browser today. I’ve put a link that will take you right to Zotero below.

ps – In case you are wondering where the name comes from, this is a picture of Zotero, I thought he was a guy on a horse with a sword, but that was a long time ago…


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