How to Write a Zotero Translator: A Practical Beginners Guide for Humanists

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The citation management program Zotero is a wonderful tool for researchers everywhere. Citations from the web may be "grabbed" simply by clicking on a in your web browser address bar. The citation information displayed on the screen is then saved to your Zotero collection with little or no additional effort. However, for this to work, each and every website must either follow standardized metadata guidelines, or must have its own personal "translator" that tells Zotero which words on the screen correspond with which bibliographic fields. Computers are stupid; translators make them smart.

Most users who know about the citation capture feature are enthralled by it and want more. The Zotero forums receive multiple requests daily from users hoping their favourite site will be given this capability. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough Zotero programmers around to keep up with the demand for translators, and more intensive coding-projects take priority.

Luckily, Zotero translators are fairly easy to create (as far as computer programming goes). This guide seeks to help take some of that load away from the Zotero staff by teaching the community of Zotero users how to create their own translators and to share them with others.


This is a member project of NiCHE (http://niche-canada.org/).