Zotero and the Big6

The features and capabilities in Zotero are great for keeping a permanent library of online information for practices referencing a large body of diverse resources. If you spend time in work, hobbies, or research trying to manage bookmarks and various online location data and things, it is for you.

Instead of having to manage links with the less-than-robust bookmark tools of the many possible browsers you use and having them stuck on different devices, copy and pasting links into word processing documents and having them get lost in the shuffle, or emailing them to yourself and cluttering up your inbox-- only to lose information when websites change-- the information can be at the ready and accessible in one flexible place. This is not to mention that it is online and synchronized between your devices.

These are reasons why the Big6 and Zotero are meant for each other. Big6 projects can involve a lot of resources and information, so managing it cleanly, in some way, can really help to avoid the my-dog-ate-it syndrome. Granted, there are numerous tools that could assist in this matter, though not with the same set of abilities Zotero has.

Now, there is another good reason for using Zotero with Big6 projects. On the LearningWilds Zotero library is a set of Big6 templates. With these Zotero notes, you can integrate the Big6 steps and their questions into your Zotero libraries, so your Big6 related information is together with your resource data. You don't have to mess around, flipping between programs and trying to find Big6 documents that were created someplace else and wandered away.

This can be done in a matter of minutes instead of the 30 minutes to an hour of extra work you would spend doing it yourself-- for each project.

Here is how to use them:
  1. First, Zotero needs to be installed on your machine with the appropriate Zotero connector installed for your browser. The Zotero installer usually helps with the latter step, and, if the connector is not in your browser, you can get it on the Zotero site.
  2. Next, open your Zotero application and create a folder for your Big6 project:
    Making a new Zotero collection
    1. Right-click on your library folder and select "New Collection."
    2. Give your folder a specific name that fits your project. The name in the example is rather non-specific, so try something more appropriate.
      Giving your project a name
  3. Be sure to select your new folder in the Zotero library by clicking on it. Zotero is going to automatically put the templates there, and if it is not selected, the templates will end up elsewhere in your library.
  4. Now that you have a folder to put your project in, open your browser and go to the LearningWilds Zotero library.

    Opening the LearningWilds Zotero library in browser
  5. Make sure to select the "big6templateorig" folder by clicking on it.
  6. Click on the Zotero connector button in the toolbar of your browser (yours may have a different icon, this one is in Firefox).

    Using the Zotero connector
  7. A window will pop up showing you the documents for the template.

    Selecting and saving templates to ZoteroSelect them all and then click the get button. You will see a message box telling you the documents are being sent to Zotero.
  8. Return to the Zotero program and you should see the Big6 notes, ready to go.

    Viewing the notes in Zotero
  9. Click on a note you wish to use, then click in its editing box on the right-hand pane and you are ready to start typing your Big6 plans. A number of the templates have instructions with them, so you might want to familiarize yourself with them first.

    Viewing the notes in Zotero

Note: the templates were originally created with a set of organizing folders for Big6 step 3 (which you can see in the LearningWilds Zotero library). Unfortunately, Zotero does not copy folders from the online libraries. So if you want that folder in your Big6 project Zotero library, you will need to make it yourself. As an alternative, you could message LearningWilds on Facebook about it and I will be glad to send you the whole enchilada as a Zotero import file.

Otherwise, have fun with your great new research system! If you find things you think should be added to the templates or changes, or anything confusing in this tutorial, please message LearningWilds at Facebook . It would be great to make them more effective.

Enjoy!

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Zotero and the Big6 original article at learningwilds.net

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