Wednesday, January 26, 2011


In the past, even before I began writing for publication, I would keep files of clippings out of newspapers and magazines. I even used to try and put them in some order, or keep a primitive form of database so as to know what I had.

In fact, what would happen is that I'd come back to them some years later, find all these clippings which varied in interest from 'none' to 'moderate' and eventually toss them out. The only time they got used was if they were used when I first found them. After that, they usually became excess to requirements.

When I first started my current job, back in late 2007, part of my work involved scanning articles of interest onto the computer and databasing them. Sound familiar? However, it quickly became evident that it was much easier to find the article online - most newspapers have websites these days, and most magazines. That saved the tedious process of scanning (the scanner has gathered dust mostly since then) and also saved databasing, since Google Desktop did that side of the job much more effectively for me.

And then along came Zotero, and articles could be copied in the blink of an eye, as soon as you found them online (because now we were catching up with the information less from newspapers and mags and more from the Internet itself). No more cutting and pasting; just a click of the appropriate button and we were away. The databasing isn't so good, and will have to be reconsidered, and sometimes it's better still to use the slightly older method of putting the item on the computer itself.

But with Zotero you have access to the articles wherever you are: at work or at home, or anywhere else.

All this is well and good. You know what's funny, though, don't you? I'll come back to these pieces in a few years time, find they vary in interest from 'none' to 'moderate' and eventually delete them. The only time they'll get used will be if i use them when I first find them. Sound familiar?
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