Thursday, May 26, 2011

Zotero Why Before Zotero How

Yesterday, I gave a short presentation at the 2011 University of Windsor's Campus Technology Day called "Building your library with Zotero". 

The title is a little misleading because most of the 25 minute talk was dedicated to the recognition that it is difficult to change one's habits - especially research habits - that have served us well in the past.

I've squirmed through too many "talks" that were instead a walk-through of a software's given set of features and I didn't want to be guilty of the same crime. So I played the 3 minute Zotero quick start video for the audience and then did a quick 2  minute live demo of capturing a half-dozen citations from our course reserve system and dropping them, fully formatted, into a document. I think you need to trust your audience that if you give them good reasons to follow their curiosity, they will explore on their own.

Then I gave a personal testimonial that I was planning to use this summer to re-build my research habits and incorporate Zotero in them because I had reached the point why my own hybrid library of papers and pdfs were beyond my personal recollection skills and there had been too many webpages that I have gone back to read only to have found that they had disappeared. Judging by the immediate feedback I received after the talk, this framing of Zotero as a webpage capturing service generated the most interest in this audience.

I don't have the script for my ten slides, but in short, I presented three reasons to build a personal library using Zotero

Much thanks goes out to Jason Puckett who has made his Zotero teaching materials open for others like myself to build on and to Dan Scott who kindly repaired the COinS in our library catalogue even during the aftermath of an Evergreen upgrade.

(And I almost forgot to mention that I had only 5 minutes to set-up and had went in with severe anxieties that the projector would refuse to listen to my Ubuntu laptop but there were no problems to be had. I mention this because this particular scenario was the exact reason I had resisted investing in a Linux lappy until now. Please consider it one less reason not to invest in open source.)

1 comment:

Trevor&Marjee said...

Fantastic post. I know I am guilty of giving far to many of the "Here is all the fancy stuff this software does" kinds of presentations.

This kind of reflective thinking and talking through workflows is something I wish more folks would do.