As I’ve discussed in a previous post, I’m an enthusiastic user of the free reference manager Zotero; I’m impressed with how such young, open-source product has managed to quickly outshine established, non-free alternatives like EndNote.
One difficulty I (and others) have had with Zotero, though, is in generating reports for a group of articles. Particularly, there’s no way to customize the categories you display in the report. This can be a real problem if you’re trying to share your sources with a co-author; at best, there’s a lot of unneeded metadata cluttering up the document (at worst, your email says you’ve been working on this for weeks, while your articles’ Date Added data tells a different tale…).
Now, I’m told this will be corrected in a later version of Zotero. However, I turned to PHP and a bit o’ regular expression magic to do it now. It turned out to be a good learning project, and I’ve been pleased to see that a few hundred other people (if Google Analytics is to be believed) have gotten some use out of it, too. The tool’s listed in the Zotero documentation, and–by far the most important of all–I got a free Zotero t-shirt out of the deal, which is now my favoritist garment ever.
Have fun, and if you think of anything else you’d like in this, just let me know.