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It starts with an idea: You’re a scholar and you use the web to search for sources. How can you collect your sources and their metadata without having to copy, paste, reformat? Or spend your starving researcher’s budget on some proprietary software?

That’s only the beginning for Zotero, a free, open-source plug-in for web browsers developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Zotero allows researchers to do much more than harness the power of the web to save citations. There is also a robust social component that allows researchers to share their research in progress.

Dan Cohen is the director of the Center for History and New Media and one of the minds behind the project. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab’s very own David Weinberger caught up with Dan for this week’s podcast to talk about Zotero, open syllabi, and other tools and ideas for enhancing and sharing research.

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Creative Commons music courtesy of Brad Sucks and photos courtesy of dan4th, orpost, and mendeley.