I’m going to try an experiment. What if we look at Zotero not as only a way to manage the final product of research – the documentation with citations and bibliography, but instead think about ways it could be a way to help people find good resources.

I’ve started a Group Library called Anglo-Saxon-SCA on Zotero.org. It is possible you won’t even see that it exists.

Anglo-Saxon-SCA group start

To participate, you have to make an account, and then let me know your username, and I’ll invite you to join. I’ve decided NOT to limit it to just clothing, but of course, we might eventually make sub-collections in the group library that are more specialized.

It is private, with entries only visible by member of the group. Why? Because I’ve added a note to at least one item, stating I own the physical book, and will do lookups and let others examine the book. I consider that confidential information, especially considering the value of some out of print books. Others who also own the book could do the same, or add tags with SCA kingdoms or branches – to make it easier for someone to find one to read, or find a fellow enthusiast to work together with. Yep, you can add detailed notes, perhaps highlighting key details, or how it relates to your research interest.

I’ve tagged the book with both my local group and my kingdom name. One of the most useful features of Zotero is that you can search in many ways. You can look for entries that are local to you, or entries that mention a specific garment you are interested in. Tags provide a great way to manage that searching quickly. However, as we grab sources using their DOI, automatic tags might come in that are duplicative. We might need to clean them up. I’m letting everyone add and edit right now.

As you look at the items, you will see that there are several that are related. Specifically the book and the data set of nearly the same name. Online, you don’t necessarily know they are connected, but if you go look in your group libraries folder, you will see that the physical book I have and the dataset are linked to each other as “related.” The URL for the dataset is also linked – so it is an easy way to get back to the proper place.

If you are working with items in the GROUP library, those changes are global. Thus, more likely we should just add new notes, rather than edit someone else’s comments. You could also create a note with ideas, and title it TALK, and others will come and give feedback on your proposed changes. I encourage you to add a note with your review.

Like the idea of sharing sources, but hate the idea of other people seeing your notes? That’s fine – you can copy them into your personal library just by dragging and dropping. But I still suggest you add new items you find to the group library.

There are lots of item types – artwork, book, book section, email, etc. Experiment to see what the different item types bring up as suggested categories for you to fill out. There are multiple ways to add items – typing, using a browser connector (just click the button) and adding via ISBN or DOI. Try those out too. You can experiment in your own library, and then share it to the library when you are happy with it. The way to do that is drag the item into one of the other folders.

I suppose you might want to see how those items look as a citations. Let’s see if wordpress will play nice? Well, not perfect, but you can see the possibilities – based on Chicago Manual of Style.

Barbican Research Associates. “The Staffordshire Hoard: An Anglo-Saxon Treasure.” Archaeology Data Service, 2017. https://doi.org/10.5284/1041576.
Rogers, Penelope Walton. Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England, AD 450-700. CBA Research Report, no. 145. York: Council for British Archaeology, 2007.
———. “Dataset for Cloth and Clothing in Early Anglo-Saxon England, AD 450-700.” Archaeology Data Service, 2007. https://doi.org/10.5284/1000304.

There really is far too much to discuss tonight. I really recommend Zotero for Genealogy – it touches on all of these topics, and more. You can check out a more detailed description of the process of working with and creating citation items here.

Anyway, that’s enough for tonight. I’ll work on adding sources I’ve previously reviewed in my blog. Now we just wait for someone else to join, and start playing around together.