Organizing Zotero Citations for Fun and Syllabus
September 24, 2020 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I use Zotero to organize academic references and the material I use for my research into.... lets say.... beans. I also teach a class on beans. I'm trying to organize and/or tag these references in a way that makes it easy to find what I'm looking for and also to quickly generate citations that I can past into a syllabus that is divided by weekly readings...

... Zotero allows you to move documents into folders and subfolders, as well as to creating subject matter tags. Should create a tag for each of the various kinds of beans - lentils, kidney, navy, etc - and tags for topics with that - growing, recipes with, history of - and then put each week's readings into a folder labeled Week 1 - Agriculture, Week 2 - Human Interaction, etc .

Or is it better to use folders for subject matter topics and tags to separate out which documents are on the syllabus and which week they belong to? (There are many that won't be on the syllabus; or will be optional readings.) Are there other best practices out there that I should be aware of? Would other citation managers (like Mendely or Endote but not LaTeX/BibTex) work better for this?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy to Writing & Language (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My question is what would happen to your Zotero system when (inevitably) you change your syllabus?

If you go with subject tags, not much! If you go with folders based on your syllabus organization, in the best case you only have to change a few folder names... but in the worst case, you have to reorganize nearly everything in your folders because topics have been recombined and shifted.

I don't love Zotero's organization modalities anyway, to be quite honest. Either they foster weirdness when items are transferred between group and solo libraries (folders), or they're too hard to get to in the UI (tags). This is why I use Pinboard for syllabus materials, Zotero only for writing projects where I know I'll need a formal citation list.
posted by humbug at 12:13 PM on September 24

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