Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Canadianization of Zotero

Zotero is a pretty amazing computer program for historical researchers using the internet. What makes it even better are the translators. Translators allow you to click on a little icon in the address bar and automatically save all the bibliographic information found on the website. This is a great time-saver as those of you who use Zotero for this purpose already know.

If you're not familiar with this feature and already have Zotero installed, go to, search for your favourite book, go to the entry and click on the little blue book icon on the right hand side of your address bar. Then take a look at what got saved in Zotero. Pretty nifty for one click of a mouse.

However, they're not as easy to make as they are to use. The translator for only works for Each website that is supported - and there are a lot - have a custom-coded translator, specific to that site.

Right now, most of the sites that are supported are American. I say it's time for a change.

So, in the interest of promoting Canadian history research, I'm offering you a chance to get the translator of your dreams, free of charge.

I am taking requests for translators for sites that are used by CANADIANS for research.
These sites can be in English or French (or both), and priority will go to historical databases, and requests made by UWO history professors who gave me good grades.

If you know of a site that fits these criteria that you would like a translator for (or if you operate such a site), please post your request HERE, and include the word "Canada" somewhere in your message.

I will do my best to fulfill all suggestions, provided they are posted prior to July 15, 2008.

To be eligible, the site must contain:
  • a large database of records (1000+ entries).
  • each entry must have its own page with a stable URL (if you can cut and paste the URL into a blank browser's address bar and it takes you to the entry, then it's stable enough).
  • Each entry must have a title.
  • The entries must be searchable via a search box.
  • I must be able to access the records. (That means if it's password protected, it must either be accessible to me via the library at the University of Western Ontario's subscription, or you must provide me with access.)
  • The site cannot be under construction, or planning changes to its structure/design in the near future.
Examples include:
  • Glenbow Library and Archives
  • the Globe and Mail
  • CAIN
  • BCain
  • UWO Library
Please forward this request to any of your colleagues who may find this helpful.

Remember, only until July 15, 2008. After which time I'll be on to other things.

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