Multilingual Zotero: Its Promises and Limits

Multilingual Zotero: Its
Promises and Weaknesses
Fu Zhuo
Research and Liaison Librarian III
Miller Nichols Library
The University of Missouri-Kansas City
November 4, 2011
 Are you a multilingual scholar who needs to work with different
language materials? Do you need to cite them and publish your
articles in a foreign language?
 Multilingual Zotero could be your choice thanks to the efforts of
Zotero community developers and contributors who are
proposing, building up, and vigorously testing such a useful and
unique tool.
 Multilingual Zotero enables you to automatically capture,
organize , and correctly format bibliographic items enriched with
translated and transliterated multilingual data.
How It Works
 Multilingual Zotero is an experimental variant of Zotero 2.1 and
works in the Firefox browser.
 It has Zotero’s original look and feel, however, provides
additional multilingual functionality.
 It enables you to translate, transliterate, and sort your citation
data within the Zotero application.
Multilingual Zotero: Language
Multilingual Zotero: Duplicates
Multilingual Zotero: Editing Item
Multilingual Zotero: Citations and
 Like the standard Zotero, Multilingual Zotero also allows its
users to collect, manage, cite, and share information.
 As to collecting information, it collects attachments, notes, files
(e.g. PDFs, images, and audio/video), links and snapshots, etc. It
also uses translators (models) to ingest information.
 The generic translators can work on specific websites. Users can
also manually add items if they cannot be automatically added
into Zotero.
 Managing information includes building up collections, setting
up tags, and searching specific items within the collections.
Users can also save their searches for future use.
Promises Continued
 Not only can Zotero collect and manage its items, it can cite
major citations styles such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, and also
many journal special bibliographic styles using its Citation Style
Language (CSL).
 In addition, it uses its word processor plugins to integrate the
citation into word document processing and make it possible to
change citations styles for the whole document.
 Sharing information in Zotero actually means to use multiple
computers with syncing, to access synced items through Zotero
server, to collaborate with colleagues via user groups.
Promises Continued
 Zotero can be a center for group research project, for group
discussion, and for communication. Apart from that, the
Multilingual Zotero has its special features. International users
can enable language tags when they need to import data into
the Multilingual Zotero.
 They can also change the language by clicking “Quick Locale
Switcher” add-on in the Zotero/Firefox. The language
configuration, editing item data, citations and bibliography, and
duplicates management have made the Multilingual Zotero one
of the highly necessary tools in citation software market.
 It is not easy to “romanize” other languages. Adding records in
other languages is a huge task. The Multilingual Zotero needs
many more volunteers with different language backgrounds and
technical skills to speed up this work.
 The second challenge is that no matter how well a record is
being translated or transliterated, it still needs human
 The third challenge lies in collaboration process. It involves a
quality control of such initiative. The last one is how to handle
the ownership of the underlying metadata which are provided
by other information vendors.
 Pioneered by Frank Bennett, an Associate Professor at Nagoya
University in Japan, Multilingual Zotero has been developing
steadily. Joined by Avram Lyon and other contributors, the
project is running as a beta form.
 With the international users in their minds, those scholars,
researchers, or simply pure users work so hard to capture,
organize and correctly format the items for other international
users. By translating or transliterating multilingual data, the
Multilingual Zotero helps the international scholars and the
students to import, store, and cite any items in various kinds of
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