Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Zotero update; free software; MSWord2007 & Biblical Studies

Be sure to check out The Best Free Software listed on the PC Magazine site. Readers of this blog will recognize many of the programs cited, but there are quite a few other interesting ones.

Dan Cohen brought my attention to an award that Zotero (cf. my posts) has won a contest as the best citation manager, beating out many of the large commercial products. In addition, he points to a new plugin for Zotero called Vertov. The big idea here is that Zotero functions as a manager of all your digital media, including audio, video, etc. So, with the Vertov plugin, you can mark certain sections of a video and annotate it. Very nice. Supposedly it works with any QuickTime compatible media, but I'm having troubling getting it to work with anything other than MOV and AVI files for now. [UPDATE: 2008.03.19: The director of the Vertov project, Elena Razlogova, just emailed me to confirm that only MOV and AVI files work for now, but other QT-compatible file types will be added soon. Thanks!]

In the meantime, I finally took the plunge and installed MSOffice 2007. I have a mixed response so far. As someone who heavily customized Word and PowerPoint, I'm finding rather annoying digging around trying to find stuff. In relation to biblical studies:

  • Using the Logos keyboard for typing polytonic Greek. (See this post.) What worked fine in Word2003 is not working well in Word2007. I'll see if Logos can help out. (The problem has to do with combined or composed characters, in particular, vowels with more than one diacritical.)
  • Word2007 does come with a vastly improved annotation/referencing/notation system. I'll play around and see how well it works. I'm starting to get my dissertation converted from old NotaBene for DOS into MSWord DOC, so I will have plenty of opportunity to learn...
  • Actually, I'm trying to figure out whether to use the MSWord2007 citation system or to go entirely with Zotero. Zotero now has a plugin (for MSWord or for OpenOffice) to make citations incredibly easy within the word processor. You can choose between 14 different citation styles (including MLA, Chicago, APA), footnotes or endnotes, and more.
  • The edition of Office2007 I got comes with OneNote. I see that some people on the forums are really liking this as a tool for accumulating and organizing all kinds of research. I will see...


  1. I've been using Microsoft office 2007 for a while now and I love it. Contrary to populary opinion the Ribbon is customizable IF your willing to learn some XML. That and other great instructional videos are available at Microsoft's video training site. I can't respond knowledgeable about the keyboard, though.

  2. Vertov (0.7.2) now supports as much as I could figure that quicktime would accept (via checking extensions). Firefox won't work directly. Manually adding obscure files into the URL field in Zotero will let you open them in Vertov just fine.

  3. Let me clarify. Some extensions aren't recognized by Firefox, so media of that sort needs to be added to Zotero manually, and once in Vertov will recognize it.