If you’re on the Internet all day like myself, then you probably come across hundreds of websites, files, music collections, historical archives, images, etc, that you would like to keep track of. Let me introduce you to Zotero.
Zotero is a free Firefox 2.x add on — compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux — that makes the collection of data effortless. By default, Zotero makes itself accessible from the status bar, but you can also display it above the Web page content at the top of your browser. It can be used to archive almost anything that you come across on the Internet. However, for our purpose at Sitening, we’re using it for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes.
Zotero allows you to collect your data and then categorize it, tag it, archive it and link to it. It even has an import/export feature to share your collection with others (and for them to do likewise). I have several sites that I rely on every day and they each serve their own purpose. Some of them are social networking sites like Digg, del.icio.us or StumbleUpon and some of them are bookmarking sites like reddit or technorati.
So, let’s say that you have a list of 100+ websites that you know you’re going to be visiting frequently. How would you add them to Zotero? Once you have Zotero installed, there are several options that allow you to easily add the data you want.
My preference is to use the add-link option, because it helps me streamline my collection process — tagging it, writing a description and then categorizing it. Those three tasks help me sort through the data with a minimum amount of fuss. To add a link you click on the link icon (circled in blue) and Zotero will automatically add the website you’re currently viewing to the Library. Once you start adding links on a regular basis, you’ll grow your Library in no time at all. As you see from the image below, the entire Library list is nicely sorted in alphabetical order.
Before you assign any information to your Library entries, it’s probably a good idea to assign categories that you’re going to be using frequently. When you click on a Library entry you get the option to assign some information to it. It is here where I think Zotero excels. So lets say I click on my Good for SEO category. My Zotero Library will then display all the websites I have assigned to it. If I click on one of those entries, I will then be able to assign information to it. I can view the page, see when I added it to my Library, add a note or a description about the site and tag it with any appropriate words that I think best fits the website. I can also relate it to other similar pages, should I wish.
I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Zotero can do, but even if you’re remotely interested in archiving or storing the data that you come across on the Internet, I highly recommend it. It’s free, easy to use and lives right in your browser where you need it most.