Dan Cohen posted recently  about the soon to be available, open-source, firefox plugin, research support software named Zotero  . Looking at the quick start guide , I immediately spotted the icon to “add a new collection folder”. As the “archivist-in-training” that I am, my reaction now to the word “collection” is different than it would have been a year ago. Though I strongly suspect it will not be the case (at least not in the first released version) I immediately was daydreaming of browsing a digitized collection online – clicking the “add a new collection folder” icon – and ending up with a copy of the entire collection of records for examination and comparison later.
Of course this would be most useful for the historian digging through and analyzing archival records if Zotero was able to pull down metadata beyond that of a standard citation and retain any hierarchical information or relationships among the records.
Now on Dead Reckoning ‘s post on Zotero  RDFa is mentioned. I don’t know anything about RDFa  beyond what I have read in the last few hours, so it is not clear to me how complicated the metadata can be – perhaps it can support a full digital object XML record of some kind. So maybe the trick isn’t so much getting Zotero to do things it wasn’t designed to do – but rather the slow migration of sites to using the software packages and standards listed here .
I don’t want anyone to think that I am not excited about Zotero and all the neat things it is likely to do. I suspect I will rapidly become a frequent Zotero user verging on a zealot – but it is fun to daydream. I think it is most fun to daydream now, before I start using it and get lost in all the great stuff it CAN do. I definitely will post more after I get a chance to take it for a spin in early October.
- THATCamp 2008: Day 1 Dork Short Lightening Talks 
- Session 305: Extended Archival Description Part I – Archives of American Art 
- SAA2006 Session 305: Extended Archival Description Part II – ArchivesUM 
- Archival Context and Description – Taking It to the Next Level