EndNote vs Zotero

Tama recently posted about the lawsuit being brought by Thomson against Zotero, and says that he won’t be using EndNote again.

This made me start thinking about why I haven’t used Zotero at all, to date. (Sure, I’ve looked at it, but that’s it.)

  1. I have been using EndNote for years. I know how to use it, how to fiddle with styles to make references look how I want them to, how to troubleshoot it. I’m good at EndNote.
  2. Until recently, part of my job was providing EndNote training to new users, and providing support. It was a big part of my job. (I’m doing a different job at the moment and don’t have to provide this support. To be honest, I don’t miss this at all!)
  3. I have a significant number of references stored using EndNote.
  4. EndNote does the job when I am writing for publication. I don’t want to learn how to use a new tool when I have one that works and I have to cope with the pressures of meeting deadlines.

When I got to point four, the realisation that I didn’t want to learn how to use a new tool, because I have one that works, really gave me a start. I’d always thought of myself as being interested in exploring and learning how to use new tools.

It was good to have this realisation, though. Made me stop and think about and even relate to other people’s resistance to all those Bright and Shiny Things out there that I love to preach talk about. Like, why would I want to try RSS when I can just check the website? (Or keep subscribing to email lists?) Why would I try Bright Shiny Thing X when my life’s been fine without it, and I don’t really have the time/inclination/energy to sit and work out how it works? If I am going to use Bright Shiny Thing X, I am going to have to stop using Tried and True Thing Y, because I won’t be able to do both/it makes no sense to use both – and I like/am used to Tried and True Thing Y – so no thanks, I will stick with Tried and True Thing Y.

So how does one overcome such resistance? In the case of EndNote versus Zotero, well, like Tama, I don’t like what Thomson’s doing (especially if Thomson’s claims are wrong – I’ll be watching what happens with interest), so I think I might have to take a closer look at Zotero. Now’s probably a good time, as I have just finished one paper and am about to start another one (or three). I don’t have any answers for other tools, though. I guess the arguments for new ways of doing things have to be compelling enough to get people’s attention. It helps if a new tool adds something that an old tool doesn’t have. And it helps if the new tool is super, super easy to use as well.

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2 Responses to EndNote vs Zotero

  1. Matt says:

    Insightful post.

    I know … how to fiddle with styles to make references look how I want them to

    You might be breaking the new click-through contract when you do this (as spelled out on the DLTJ post that you link to). Even if you didn’t mind what Thomson Reuters was doing to Zotero, there’s a lot to dislike about what they’re doing to EndNote!

  2. Zorro says:

    You can also try RefWorks. I love it.

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