This past week I’ve set up a personal Zotero account (feel free to ‘follow’ me) and added the items listed on the Bibliographies page of this blog to it. I’ve created a public group called Ancient World Open Bibliographies and added all of the bibliographies to that as well. If you use Zotero and would like to be added as a member of the group, so you could add items or even create a folder and populate it with list of citations about a subject, please ask me.
I had not used Zotero before this experiment, and I like it reasonably well. But my experimenting thus far has not convinced me that it is a good solution for the need I currently have. As this discussion thread in the forums notes, there is no simple way to create (export) an annotated bibliography, i.e. as a document to print or email and share with students (although work-arounds for specific citations styles, including Chicago, are noted in the discussion.) There are additional user-generated software scripts linked in the thread that provide this functionality as well, and Zotero has an open ticket to make this easier as a pending upgrade (but the ticket is currently 4 years old, so it’s probably a low priority).
If I want to create a web-based annotated bibliography using the Groups feature, I need to add both the bibliographical item (the citation) to the Group AND a Note that I have created to contain the annotations. There is not a simple way to view both at the same time – you have to click on the item, and then another click brings up the annotation. (If I am doing it wrong or missing something here, please let me know!) And Zotero, at least on my machine, which is a fairly standard American-university issue one, using a campus wired-in network connection, is quite slow. The load times for all the clicks are killing me.
I’ll keep playing, and I think Zotero may be a good solution for creating an annotated bibliography and exporting it to a document (in this way it fills the same need as EndNote, RefWorks, and their various other competitors). To create a web-based, annotated bibliography that multiple people can edit and view with ease, I am not convinced that Zotero is right. Try looking at the Ancient World Open Bibliographies group and see what you think.