This afternoon, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lecture by Dan Cohen, director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Since the untimely death of Roy Rosenzweig, Cohen has been the most recognizable face of the digital history revolution. He’s a real hero to history bloggers and digital historians alike.Cohen was an engaging speaker who mixed the infectious enthusiasm of a tech geek with the persuasive rhetoric of an entrepreneur — which is essentially what he is, only for the nonprofit tool Zotero, which he developed under Rosenzweig’s oversight. Much of the lecture was focused on Zotero and its emerging possibilities. Cohen informed us that Zotero was busily at work solving the historical problem of our time: the overabundance of data. Zotero is designed to sift through mountains of data and find things relevant to historians’ research interests. It’s now been translated into thirty-six languages, including Icelandic and Mongolian. Cohen said the latest developments include recommendation-sharing among historians and various forms of Web 2.0 social networking, including various plugins to Zotero that have been developed by programmers not affiliated with CHNM. Listening to Cohen go on about the endless possibilities felt like listening to Steve Wozniak in the days of the Apple ][ — incredibly cool, but not a little daunting.
Read the rest here.
Here is an intro video to Zotero. Comments from the techies in the readership are solicited: