Wednesday, December 19, 2007

pf-dspace blog now Zotero (and COinS) compatible!

In our previous post I mentioned the new Zotero/Internet Archive alliance. Since I wrote that I've taken some time to understand a bit more about how Zotero works, and in particular what kinds of markup are required to make web resources "compatible" with Zotero to the extent that they can (a) be detected by the client and (b) added into a local Zotero database at the click of a button. My final step has been to tweak this blog to provide COinS metadata, after a fashion...

Some explanation is in order! After you've installed the Zotero extension to Firefox, when you travel to a site that is compatible with Zotero you will see a small icon on the right side of the address bar; the style of the icon will indicate what type of resource the plugin as detected. Click on the icon; if only one item was detected (one bundle of metadata) it will directly add the item into its local database; if more than one item was detected, it will bring up a list of all the items, and you select which ones you would like to be added. Once the item has been added, you can add addition metadata, notes, etc --- the usual Zotero features.

What's the trick? One way that Zotero "detects" a citation is by way of html SPAN elements of class="Z3988", aka the OpenURL COinS: A Convention to Embed Bibliographic Metadata in HTML standard. I use the Openly Informatics generic COinS generator, a web-based utility in which I enter some metadata and it spews out a bit of markup, which I paste at the end of my blog entry. Now when Zotero-equipped users visit my blog, they will see a collection of citations which they can selectively add to their citation lists -- which of course they will want to do!

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