Tuesday, 7 October 2008

EndNote vs Zotero

EndNote vs Zotero is a version of the Open Source movement vs Corporate Commerce. Zotero is an Open Source plugin for the Firefox browser and provides a very serviceable bibliographic management tool with some unique features, and of course it is free. EndNote's owners - Thomson/Reuters - are suing the creators of Zotero on the specific issue of the ability of Zotero to use the c3,500 output styles created by EndNote and EndNote users. Links below provide a more detailed and a more informed explanation of the issues.

The owners of EndNote do have form in being aggressive with the competition. They bought and effectively killed off the University's previously preferred bibliographic software, ProCite.

The following practical points should be considered in favour of EndNote ...

  • EndNote is a good product, and is free to end users on University computers

  • EndNote Web can be used on home computers and laptops

  • BU computers do not support Firefox

  • If you do not have access to your computers C drive you can't install Firefox or Zotero on University computers

Links to blog entries on EndNote vs Zotero.


Bruce said...

A couple of things. First, you wrote "BU computers do not support Firefox." Why is that not the case?

Second, you describe Endnote as "free". While that's true from the perspective of an individual campus user because of your site license, it's not strictly true. Your university pays for the software, and once a user moves on they don't have access to that. Moreover, Thomson has a history of yearly costly bug fixes.

So I'd suggest that users (particularly grad students and academics) need to take a broader view of freedom.

Matt Holland said...

Bruce, thanks for your comment. I can't speak for our IT Services but I would expect them to say that when planning the student desktop up to 6 months in advance they have to make choices about browsers, IE, Netscape, Chrome and Firefox and probably more that I don't know about.

Yes we do have a three year license from EndNote and we get EndNote Web bundled in with this and our subscription to Web of Knowledge. So yes, it is free to end users but there is a cost to the Library. Perhaps a good reason to exploit EndNote/EndNote Web. Upgrades are free as part of the package.

Not sure about taking a broader view of "freedom", but you can if you like take a broader view of the software you use. I run Chrome, Netscape, Firefox and IE on my computer because I have asked for administrative rights. I also run Zotero on my ASUS EPee, which runs Linux.

One point that I have tried to get across in this blog about EndNote / EndNote Web and Social Bookmarking tools is the flexibility of data and the ability to transfer data via applications using for example the RIS Standard.