Friday, November 14, 2008

Emory University Libraries, George Mason's Center for History & New Media, Announce Zotero Partnership

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emory University Libraries and The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University have entered a cooperative partnership on Zotero (, the free, open-source bibliographic manager. A team of librarians, information technologists and faculty members led by Connie Moon Sehat, Emory Libraries' new director of digital scholarship initiatives, will extend research capabilities of the software in collaboration with Zotero's main development team. Sehat is a former co-director of Zotero and CHNM.

For Dan Cohen, who is associate professor of history at George Mason University and director of CHNM, a relationship with Emory exemplifies the powerful opportunities for institutional cooperation offered by digital media.

"The Center for History and New Media and the Zotero Project are lucky to now have the resources and experience of Emory on their side," says Cohen, "and the continued insight and direction of Connie Sehat. We look forward to what will undoubtedly be a tremendously productive collaboration." Cohen oversees Zotero with Sean Takats, assistant professor of history at George Mason and CHNM's acting director of research projects.

At Emory, participation in the Zotero project represents a step toward the realization of larger transformations happening in the libraries as well as the university overall.

"Developing exciting and innovative tools and capabilities to support digital humanities research is a cornerstone of our strategic plan," says Rick Luce, Emory University vice provost and director of libraries. "Partnering on the development of open source software with CHNM, an established center of excellence in the digital humanities, allows the Emory Libraries to create value for the research community while sharing the risks in developing innovative software."

Already a powerful research tool, Zotero allows users to gather, organize and analyze sources such as citations, full texts, Web pages, images and other objects. It meshes the functionality of older reference manager applications with modern software and Web applications, such as and YouTube, to amass large amounts of data in easy ways.

Over the next two years, Zotero will allow researchers--and their data--to interact with one another in Web 2.0 communities, help scholars archive information with the Internet Archive and offer text-mining capabilities. Zotero also will expand educational offerings to provide more support for its growing national and international communities of users, many located in university settings. Working in conjunction with the Zotero team at CHNM, Emory's Zotero team will take advantage of local research environments and library expertise to contribute to Zotero's anticipated growth.

Since its introduction in 2006, Zotero has earned significant accolades for its facilitation of online research. It was named a PC Magazine's "Best Free Software" in 2007 and again this year, as well as "Best Instructional Software" of 2007 as determined by the Information Technology and Politics section of the American Political Science Association.

The Emory University Libraries ( in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are an intellectual commons for Emory University, Atlanta and the world. The nine libraries' holdings include more than 3.1 million print and electronic volumes, 40,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections.

The Center for History and New Media ( at George Mason University uses digital media and computer technology to democratize history. Since its founding in 1994 by Roy Rosenzweig, CHNM has used these tools to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. Each year CHNM's many project websites receive over 16 million visitors. More than one million people rely on its digital tools to teach, learn and conduct research.

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