Sometimes my computer is too far away and I need to get on the internet right now, so I grab whatever laptop is closest to me in my incredibly messy common room. A lot of the time everything is fine until my suitemate sees what’s going on a yells at me until I give it back. But occasionally, I open the computer only to see that I’ll have to check my email using Safari, or — God forbid — Internet Explorer, or anything that is not Firefox and thus the Worst Browser in the World of the Day.
And no, Firefox itself is not today’s “Cool Internet Thing of the Week,” because I’m not that behind the times. I assume most of you use it already because you’re not dumb. Or maybe you use Chrome, which is almost as good — only not quite, because it doesn’t have the #1 Firefox plug-in in the world, Zotero.
Zotero is basically life-changing, at least if you are a college student who sometimes has to write a paper involving actual sources. See, normally you would get that final research paper assignment, then you would go to the library (if you’re oldschool) or JSTOR (if you’re me), find all your sources, and write your paper after crying a lot and procrastinating until the last second. And then it’s half an hour before you have to turn it in and you still have to do all the citations. As you try to remember the difference between MLA and Chicago, where to use a period and where to use a comma in the footnotes, and how to make a hanging indent, you cry some more.
Well, not if you have Firefox! In that case, you can just get Zotero, a.k.a. the coolest thing of all time after Lady Gaga’s egg-inspired couture.
Once it is installed, a tiny little button appears in the corner of your browser’s window. Magical wonders are to behold when you click this little button. You can basically find any source online — be it a newspaper article, amazon page, orbis page or youtube video — then click, and Zotero magically absorbs all the necessary information for a bibliographical reference. It will proceed to politely ask you the format in which you want the citation, sync up with Word, and effortlessly implant it in your paper.
Your days of crying and keeping up with the latest episodes of Modern Family on Hulu are over — you will be done with your papers so quickly your only option will be Megavideo.