Zotero for capturing and archiving webpages

Posted: April 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: research tools | 2 Comments »

I have heard positive reviews of Zotero for years, but being a steadfast EndNote user I never tried it out.  Yesterday I finally got my first look at it, and yes — it does indeed look like a very useful tool.

Briefly, Zotero and EndNote are both tools for managing and publishing bibliographies, and are thus of great use to students, writers, academics, etc.   The two have similar functionalities, but Zotero is free, open source, and cloud-based.  EndNote, on the other hand, costs money to buy and to update, and it’s stored locally on your machine.  I don’t have any complaints with EndNote, and plan to keep using it.  However, Zotero has a number of special features which EndNote doesn’t have, one of which I want to mention today:

Zotero can capture and archive webpages.  Learn more about that functionality here.

Now isn’t that pretty cool?

If you are researching webpage content, this could be extremely useful for you, since by using Zotero you can easily capture and store such pages for later analysis.

A few caveats:

Zotero won’t capture links, moving pictures, audio, etc.  I don’t think you can use Zotero’s search functions to search within the text of the captured webpage.  (Note:  I was wrong about this — you can.  See comments below.  Thanks, Avram and Adam!)   (Speaking of which, have you tried out Evernote?  Evernote is another great tool for capturing and archiving webpages, and all the content captured is searchable.)  Finally, Zotero is not an analytical tool.  For coding and analysis, you’ll want to import the data into another program, such as AtlasTi, TAMS Analyzer, etc.

Remember now, Zotero is designed first and foremost for archiving (scholarly) sources; it wasn’t created to do website analysis, hence the drawbacks mentioned above.  However, as a “getting-started-on-your-website-analysis-project” kind of tool it might come in handy.

If you are interested in learning about tools for large scale website analysis projects, see my colleague Laura’s website here.

2 Comments on “Zotero for capturing and archiving webpages”

  1. 1 adam.smith said at 2:33 pm on April 29th, 2011:

    Anything that’s included as text in a captured webpage can be searched by Zotero’s full text search.
    And Zotero was developed by digital humanities scholars, so it’s actually designed to work extremely well with non-scholarly digital information

  2. 2 Avram Lyon said at 5:20 am on April 30th, 2011:

    Actually, Zotero does index the contents of webpages, so the snapshots will shot up in full text searches.

    It’s also possible to radically change the way Zotero works with any set of sites by writing appropriate translators (http://www.zotero.org/support/dev/translators), which can be relatively easy using the translator framework (http://www.zotero.org/support/dev/translators/framework).