Zotero : Boost your efficiency with tips and smart features

Zotero is an essential companion for all faculties and students who are writing their papers or thesis. But Zotero is not perfect 😉

Thankfully, several features, pluggins or apps makes up for its limitations in particular with PDF management.

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1. Saved Searches

 […] With the advanced search feature you can start combining criteria and getting really sophisticated […]

Instead of manually search for your library’s articles, you can  build an advanced search, enter your search criterias and terms then save it as a saved search.

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Find out more about Zotero’s saved searches with this article of The Digital Researcher

2. Zotfile

2.1 Manage your downloaded PDFs

Another interesting discovery is  Zotfile.

Zotfile is a third-party plugin which will help you handle your PDFs once downloaded in Zotero. By default, Zotero store your PDFs into a deep folder in your computer and namme them randomly like “6K765YEI”

Zotfile allows you to choose where you want to store and name your PDFs, including in a Dropbox file !
It makes this possible by “linking the citation entry in Zotero to the file“.

You can, for example, store your PDF files in a folder called “My thesis” that lives in your Dropbox space.

2.2 Extract your highlights and annotations from your PDFs

If you open your PDF in another application to add highlights and annotations, Zotfile can actually extract and save them as an attached note in Zotero.

This feature is one of Zotfile’s best asset.

On your PDF document, highlight an expression or a paragraph and make a right-click  to select Manage Attachments —> Extract Annotations.

The note will be attached with its record in your Zotero Library

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Find more about Zotfile and its features by reading this article written by Catherine Pope and published on The Digital Researcher  : “How to make Zotero even better with Zotfile

Download Zotfile here : http://zotfile.com/

3. Annotate your Zotero’s articles on your iPad

First, you need to download and install the iPad app of Zotero : Zotpad.

1. Link ZotPad with Dropbox. To do this, set both Zotero and ZotPad to use Dropbox as the file storage service in your settings.

2. Set up the “Advanced Dropbox Settings” and preferences of ZotPad so that they exactly macth those in your Zotfile preferences : this will allow the download of your documents from Dropbox.

3. Then, on your document use the “Open in…” function to view the PDF on ZotPad and annotate it.

4. The annotated document will then  be updated in Dropbox and Zotero !

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For more details and info about how ZotPad can help you improve your efficiency, read this article from “HASTAC”

 

 

 

 

 

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A selection of apps to annotate, highlight, comments to PDFs

If like more and more students, you also use your iPad as a tool for your student work,

Take a look at this interesting  article, published in last January 30th on “Educational Theory and Mobile Learning” :

10 excellent iPad apps to annotate, highlight, and add comments to PDFs

 

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