The research and reference manager Zotero is one of our favorite tools at ProfHacker, and there have been several recent developments worth mentioning to our readers.
Most notably, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media has officially released Zotero 3.0. I reviewed a beta version of this so-called standalone Zotero back in August. Like the beta version, this latest release can run outside a browser. You can use connector plugins to add Zotero functionality to Chrome and Safari. (The original Firefox extension that started it all has also been updated to 3.0 and is as reliable as ever.) Aside from being browser-independent, two long awaited features of Zotero 3.0 include duplicate detection and a totally revamped, sleek new Microsoft Word and OpenOffice add-in.
Also, independent developer Mikko Rönkkö has released the first ever Zotero client for the iPad, called ZotPad (pictured above / larger image). Available for $5.99 from iTunes, ZotPad hooks into Zotero’s API, allowing you to view your Zotero references on your iPad. The current version is read-only; you can’t edit citations in ZotPad or add new ones. You can, however, download any PDFs attached to your citations and open them with your favorite iPad PDF tool, as long as you’re syncing your files with Zotero’s servers. Two caveats: if you make notes on a downloaded PDF using something like iAnnotate, you can’t upload the annotated PDF back to your Zotero library from ZotPad. The other caveat is that you can’t download PDFs if you’re using WebDav to sync files (as opposed to Zotero’s paid syncing and storage service ). Rönkkö has said on the ZotPad forum that WebDav support will be coming soon to ZotPad.
My own take on ZotPad is that it’s a great start but doesn’t yet include features that would make it a necessity. For many users, the Mendeley-Zotero solution will work just as well. And for someone like me, who uses WebDav to sync my Zotero files, a better solution for getting PDFs onto my iPad is the Zotfile plugin. Nonetheless, I’ll be keeping my eye on ZotPad, as future updates will likely live up to the promise of the Zotero ecosystem.