My favourite writing app for the Mac, Ulysses, announced yesterday that it has decided to switch to a subscription model. Here’s my two cents.
For over a decade, Zotero has been my go-to reference manager for academic work. Free, open source, and cross platform, it’s a fantastic option for anyone wanting to sync references between devices, and avoid paying the extortionate fee Clairvate Analytics (previously Thomson Reuters) charges for EndNote. Most universities and libraries would save a pretty penny if they encouraged users to ditch EndNote, seemingly their default option, and fully embrace Zotero.
Hitherto, Zotero has been available in two flavours only: an extension to the Firefox web browser, which was ideal for capturing references from the web on-the-fly, and as a standalone desktop app. The new Zotero 5 release does away with the Firefox extension altogether, in favour of much faster and more stable desktop edition.
I’m really impressed with the new Zotero 5, which has been in beta for what seems like forever. While there isn’t much difference on the surface to the old version, the whole experience feels a lot faster and smoother, and we’re promised new and better things to come. One new feature is a group called ‘My Publications’, which allows you to curate a list of your own works and share it on the Zotero website. This might be a handy way for academics to promote their work, although there are better options out there (e.g. ORCID). Zotero cloud storage remains vastly over-priced, so I still encourage folks to use the free Zotfile extension to move references to another, cheaper cloud storage location.
The new and improved Zotero Standalone is a free download from zotero.org.
For many topics, especially the more complex ones, maps can be a useful way of visualising data and presenting them in an approachable way.