Zotero instructions

I want to give better instructions about how to get Zotero working and how to get your items into our Zotero group at http://www.zotero.org/groups/hist390-001-2013/items, since it’s a multi-step process. Do also see the Zotero help documentation.

  1. Download Zotero at http://zotero.org/download. If you use Firefox, you only need to download the Zotero Firefox extension. If you use another browser, you’ll need to download two things: the Zotero stand-alone application AND the Zotero browser extension for your browser: Zotero extension for Chrome or Zotero extension for Safari. If you use Internet Explorer, your only choice is to install a bookmarklet. If you have a Chromebook, you can use Zotero with just the Zotero browser extension for Chrome or the, although it might be a little buggy, or use the bookmarklet.
  2. Install the standalone application and/or make sure that your browser has the extension (also known as an “add-on”) installed; you might need to restart your browser.
  3. Sign up for an account at zotero.org by going to https://www.zotero.org/user/register/.
  4. Log in to zotero.org with your account at https://www.zotero.org/user/login/
  5. Join our Zotero group by going to https://www.zotero.org/groups/hist390-001-2013 and clicking the “Join Group” button. The “Join Group” button will only appear if you are logged in to zotero.org.
  6. Open the Zotero application on your computer and find the Preferences with the little gear icon. Enter your zotero.org username and password and click OK to ensure that your materials sync to zotero.org and that your Group membership shows up on your computer. See https://www.zotero.org/support/preferences/sync for fuller instructions.
  7. Use the browser icon to save sources to your Zotero library or enter them manually. Drag any books, articles, and so on in your own Zotero library to the folder in our Group library with your last name.

If you have any trouble, first look around in the help documentation on zotero.org at https://www.zotero.org/support/. If you can’t find what you need, email me.

Zotero group library

Post to HIST 390 (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of HIST 390-001 The Digital Past Fall 2013 group favorite links are here.

Post to HIST 390 (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of HIST 390-001 The Digital Past Fall 2013 group favorite links are here.

Exam #2 Questions

Here are 57 questions from which the 50 questions on Exam #2 will be taken. All the answers should be available from the study guides posted in the Research Skills Unit category on this site; if you don’t find those resources helpful, do some searching on the web, and when you find a helpful site, post it to the course’s Diigo group.

What is a library catalog?
What is a call number?
What is MARC?
What does MARC stand for?
What is a proxy server?
What is a primary source?
What is a secondary source?
Give an example of a primary source.
Give an example of a secondary source.
When would you want to use primary sources instead of secondary sources for your research?
What is an e-journal?
What is a pre-print?
What is peer review?
Why is it important to know if a journal is peer-reviewed?
What are the two widely used book classification systems?
What is ILL?
What does the acronym ILL stand for?
Name two of the Five Pillars of Wikipedia.
Describe how you would correct an error on Wikipedia.
What is metadata?
What is bibliographic metadata?
What is crowdsourcing?
What is a codex?
What is WorldCat?
Who is one of the founders of Wikipedia?
What is a wiki?
What is an ISBN?
What is a plug-in?
Name a search engine that isn’t Google.
What is an algorithm?
What does it mean to “crawl” or “spider” the web?
What is MediaWiki?
What is Wikimedia?
What is an ISBN?
What is OCR?
What does the acronym OCR stand for?
What is a codex?
What is DRM?
What does the acronym DRM stand for?
Give an example of an ebook file extension.
What is HathiTrust.org?
What is Google Books?
What is Duck Duck Go?
What is Google Scholar?
What is Project Gutenberg?
How many books (that is, unique editions) have ever been published, roughly?
What symbol do you use to indicate “NOT” in a Google search?
What is Wolfram Alpha?
What is Zotero used for?
What is a periodical?
What is Google News?
What is Google Images?
What is ProQuest Historical Newspapers?
What is the ProQuest Research Library?
What is Academic Search complete?
What is JSTOR?
What is America: History and Life?

Post to HIST 390 (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of HIST 390-001 The Digital Past Fall 2013 group favorite links are here.

Post to HIST 390 (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of HIST 390-001 The Digital Past Fall 2013 group favorite links are here.

Scholarly Journals and Databases

Philosophical Transactions

Philosophical Transactions

Proxy server

Proxy server


Primary source – any material that is of its own time rather than something reflective written later. The 1969 UCLA student newspaper article about the first ARPANet connection is a primary source, whereas the blog post that shares it and comments on it is a secondary source. Most magazine and newspaper articles are primary sources, because they are usually written quite close to the date of the events they discuss.

Secondary source – any reflective, narrative, or analytical material that uses and discusses primary sources or original data. Most books and scholarly journal articles are secondary sources. Of course, if you are writing a history of science, a scientific article published in 1957 would be a primary source rather than a secondary source.

e-Journal – an inaccurate and misleading term used by many research libraries (despite scads of evidence that they shouldn’t) to describe the full-text online version of any periodical. The online version of the Los Angeles Times is called an e-journal by many libraries, as is the online version of People magazine and the online version of the scholarly journal IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. Search for any periodical title via the e-Journals tab the GMU Libraries’ website to find a particular newspaper, magazine, or journal by its title.

peer review – the volunteer system by which scholars look at one anothers’ work to make sure that it is 1) original, and 2) reasonable. A peer-reviewed publication is (in theory) of higher quality than a non-peer-reviewed publication.

database – most scholarly databases available through library websites are large, searchable lists of related information. Any one database can include hundreds of thousands of records from thousands of magazines, newspapers, or scholarly journals.

pre-print – the final version of a scholarly paper before it has been copyedited, typeset, and published in a journal; the author’s own final draft. Many article authors post these online themselves for free now in addition to (or instead of) publishing them in journals that may require payment.

Open Access – a semi-political movement to make scholarly work (especially but not exclusively scholarly work that is funded by the government with taxpayer dollars) freely available online rather than “paywalled.” Open Access week is October 21-27, 2013, and GMU will hold many events for it: http://infoguides.gmu.edu/content.php?pid=295386&sid=3950037

Proxy server – A proxy server is a server (a computer) that will “stand in” for another server; you use it to access one network while you are using another. If you use GMU’s proxy server while you are (say) at home or at a Starbucks, you can get access to the information sources GMU pays for. Instructions for using GMU’s proxy server.


ProQuest Research Library – Scroll down in the Ps to find this full-text database, which “provides one-stop access to more than 4,000 periodicals from one of the broadest, most inclusive general reference databases ProQuest has to offer. Search from a highly-respected, diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, and magazines covering over 150 academic disciplines.”

America: History and Life – Scroll down to this database in the History database list on GMU’s library website. Searches both citations and full text, and “provides English language abstracts of scholarly literature (journal articles, articles in collections, dissertations, book and media reviews) on the history and culture of the U.S. and Canada.” Goes back only to 1964.

JSTOR – a large general database of scholarly journals (JSTOR stands for “Journal Storage”). Note that recent articles from the last two to five years are *not* in JSTOR; only articles older than that can be found here. Some journal issues as old 1880s can be found here.

Google Scholar – a good general search engine for scholarly articles.

Microsoft Academic Search – Similar to Google Scholar, but better for Computer Science.

arxiv.org – an open access repository of scholarly papers in Physics, Math, and other sciences, including Computer Science.


Pick any database in the list of those GMU has access to and try to find out the following:

  1. What’s in the database? In other words, what are you searching for when you search it? Magazine articles, patents, chemical forumlas?
  2. What can you get: citations only, full-text only, or a combination?
  3. How big is the database? How many records does it have and/or how many periodical titles are included?
  4. What dates does the database cover?
  5. What special interface features does the database have (or lack)? Can you limit to peer-reviewed articles? Can you see how many times an article has been cited? Are there other features?