The ideal tool for a student in high school or college, Zotero is a unique freeware research tool with plug-ins for both Microsoft Word and Open Office. At the most basic level of use, Zotero is a place to store and manage all bibliographic references such as magazine articles and books. It can be used with a number of browsers, or used as a standalone application to store and retrieve research information. It can also be used on either Macs or PCs.
Zotero has a layout much like Windows Explorer. At install, it creates a My Library file where the user can store references. There are four pull-down menu items, File, Edit, Tools, and Help. If you choose New Item from the File menu, you can include a number of details about the citation so they can easily be used in the future. Best of all, when integrated with Word or Open Office, Zotero adds controls such as Insert Citation, Edit Citation, Edit Bibliography, and others to the taskbar of the word processing application, making it fast and easy to insert references. The learning curve isn't too steep and most users should get the hang of the app with just a bit of practice.
Zotero installs quickly and proved stable in our tests. It is a great tool for anyone writing academic style papers that require footnotes and references, as it helps to eliminate errors a user could make when citing a reference more than once.