Taking Zotero out of the Browser with the Zotero Standalone Beta

Balancing RockLast week the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media announced the release of a new beta of the standalone version of Zotero, an open source reference manager and ProfHacker favorite.

Zotero has long existed as an extension within Firefox, but since the release of the alpha standalone version in January, it’s been possible to more or less use Zotero with other browsers, such as Safari or Chrome, on any of the major platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux).

The new beta brings added features, greater stability, and—I can’t help noticing—a better icon. I’ve been using the standalone Zotero for the past few days, and I’m happy to say it’s been working quite well. Using the Chrome connectors, I’ve been able to save references from journal databases and the like as easily from Chrome as from Firefox.

I’ll update ProfHacker when I have a better feel for Zotero Standalone, but I can already share a few discoveries:

  • If you happen to have both Zotero Standalone and Firefox open, the Firefox Zotero extension will disable itself, though you can still save citations and pages using the familiar icons in the location bar; they’ll be sent directly to the standalone version. This makes it easy to keep using Firefox but run Zotero as a separate application.
  • Zotero’s proxy rerouter does not run in the standalone version. This is the feature of the Firefox-based extension that automatically sends you to, say, JSTOR using your library’s proxy server when you click on a JSTOR link found in a Google search. For some users, the lack of the proxy server may be a deal breaker, while other users might not even notice it’s missing.

So far, everything else seems to run as expected. If you’re already comfortable with Zotero, the standalone version will feel like home. And if you haven’t tried Zotero, the standalone version might be worth a look, especially since it doesn’t commit you to any single browser.

Download the Zotero 3.0 Beta.

[Balancing Rock photograph courtesy of Flickr user Dennis Jarvis / Creative Commons Licensed]

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