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Anthropology: Productivity Tools for Scholars

Useful Web Tools for Scholars

LibX Toolbar: a Library Research Browser Toolbar

LibX PUL is a web browser plugin/extension/add-on for Firefox and (partly) Google Chrome that provides direct access to selected library resources, plus other useful features. It will change your library research experience for the better.

Reference Management Systems: Citations and Bibligraphies Made Easier

Reference management systems allow you to import, organize, and annotate citations from library catalogs and databases and the Internet. They also sync across multiple computers, allow the easy generation of bibliographies, and in some cases work within Microsoft Word to add citations. If you see an article you like in a database, for example, click a button and it's added to the program. Organize citations into folders; click on a folder to generate a bibliography in the citation style of your choice.

  • Zotero (free, easy to use Firefox addon, or a standalone program with "connectors" to Chrome and Safari; plugins available for MS Word and Open Office); Using Zotero at Princeton
  • Refworks (web-based system that Princeton subscribes to)
  • Endnote (software you can purchase from the University at a discount)
  • Mendeley (freeware, also allows importing, organizing, and annotating of PDF files)

File Syncing and Storage Programs: Never Lose Your Work Again

File syncing programs allow you to save files to a drive on your computer that will be stored in the "cloud" and synced across multiple devices. They work like regular drives, so there's no uploading. You can sync a folder with multiple services. Working on that important project? Sync the folder with Dropbox, and then sync the dropbox folder with Sugarsync. That way your documents are on multiple computers and clouds.

  • Dropbox (2GBs free, 1TBs & more plans starting for $9.99/month or $99/year)
  • Google Drive (15GBs free storage, 100GB & more plans starting at $1.99/month)
  • Princeton H: drive (No file syncing like the others, but available off campus via the VPN. 5GBs of storage backed up on Princeton servers)
  • Long Term Media Storage (from the Princeton New Media Center)

Line Break Removal Tool

Text copied from PDFs often has line or paragraph breaks you need to remove before pasting that text into something you're writing. Text Fixer strips out those line breaks.

Attaching Links in Zotero and Syncing with Dropbox

With the release of Zotero version 4.0, it is now possible to choose which directory Zotero uses when you attach links to files. If you use Dropbox (or another similar file-syncing service), you can now save your citations in Zotero, attach links to files in a Dropbox folder, and have both synchronize with every computer you use. By doing this, all of your citations and saved electronic documents will be easily available where you are working, as well as being backed up in the cloud and your hard drives. Here are instructions to set up the sync and link files:


1) Sign up for a Dropbox account. [Or Google Drive. If you go with Drive, just substitute it for Dropbox in the file examples below.]

2) Download or upgrade to Zotero 4.0. I recommend downloading the Standalone version and then installing the appropriate browser extension for Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

3) Create a folder within Dropbox to store all of your saved digital documents such as PDFs of articles. (In my example, that folder is labelled "Zotero.")

4) In Zotero, change the setting for the Base Directory to the Dropbox/Zotero folder. The path is Preferences/ Advanced/ Files and Folders. Here's what it should look like:


5) Move all your saved files and folders with digital articles and ebooks to the Dropbox/Zotero folder. You can keep whatever folder organizational structure you have already and just move everything into the Zotero folder.

6) In Zotero, right-click on a citation for which you have a saved digital file, then choose Add Attachment, then click Attach Link to File. Find the appropriate file in the Dropbox folder and attach it.


7) Once you've attached the link to the file, as long as the settings are correct and the same on each computer, Zotero and Dropbox should synchronize with whatever computers you use, and the file should be retrievable through Zotero.