Athabasca Landing

Zotero Alert
February 26, 2013 – 10:02pm

With the fantastic collaboration of Athabasca University faculty I have been investigating the failure of Zotero to accurately generate APA 6th Ed. format.  In addition, Zotero can also fail to retrieve DOI that resolves easily from

This begs the question of accuracy for any citation application.  Many sites (i.e., evaluate features but nothing on accuracy of output.

A simple test reveals immediately the problem.

ISBN and DOI capitalization issues for Textbooks and Journal articles.
Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches …

Correct APA is to have capitalization of > Choosing <

My discussion can be found at and the responses to the discussion indicate bad news for anyone who expects accuracy.  If the MS Word application can adjust capitalization then a correct transformation in a citation application should be able to parse and capitalize output where necessary.

What I would like to see is research on the accuracy of citation applications in generating correct formatting from poorly formed data fields.

Regardless of the citation application, if the enduser has to enter preformatted data, then how is this any different from entering the sum manually in a spreadsheet?

Weren’t computers suppose to make our lives easier???

Athabasca Landing

A digital referencing tool for the world

Originally published on Athabasca Landing site:
July 12, 2011 – 4:13pm

If you are using a closed source or commercialware application for referencing, then your archival reference database will be weaker than choosing an open-source alternative.  Anyone who has endured watching a file format (and/or software application) shutdown due to laws that allow any computer company to sell you software then have that software shut down, know what I am talking about.  Examples include Freehand, Hypercard, and Owl Guide.

The strongest open-source alternative that I have found is Zotero (  A second but less convenient choice is the database feature in LibreOffice (

Zotero has great referencing features blended into a Firefox plugin for MAC and PC.  In addition, plugins exist for Microsoft Word, Open Office, and now LibreOffice.  Given that the Zotero application is stable, open-source, and free – then why is it that when I talk to educators, no one has heard of this software?