ZotPress and COinS

We’ve just installed the ZotPress plugin on the Commons, and I thought it would be good to review how CHNM‘s Zotero works, and how ZotPress extends its functionality to blogs.

I’m sure many of you are already using Zotero as a citation manager, and taking advantage of its group bibliographies.

For the uninitiated – Zotero is an online tool that sits in your browser and lets youcollect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.”   Zotero.org provides access to individual collections, as well as group libraries.  Check out the following short screencast created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University for a better sense of what their citation manager can do:

COinS Metadata Exposer

If you want to make your blog easy for users to cite using Zotero, install the COinS Metadata Exposer WordPress plugin, also released by the CHNM.  All you need to do is activate the plugin and citations to your blog’s pages and posts can be ingested into Zotero collections with a single click on the “Save to Zotero” icon, circled in the image on the right.

Zotero Everywhere

Zotero was initially released by CHNM as an add-on to the Firefox browser.  Zotero Everywhere is another CHNM project funded by Mellon to bring Zotero functionality to Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer browsers.  Follow its progress on link above.  As far as I can tell, at present Zotero needs to be run on Firefox.

What is ZotPress?

ZotPress is a WordPress plugin that lets users output Zotero citation content into posts, pages and into any widgetized area of a WordPress blog.  After activation, configure ZotPress by adding at least your user id and maybe some groups (see configuration screen, below).  To find your user API ID and Public Key, go to Zotero.org, login, and go to Settings, and then click on FEEDS/API (or just follow this link – https://www.zotero.org/settings/keys).  There you will find your 6 digit API ID and your key which you will need to fill out the form below.

To find group API IDs, go to the Groups tab in Zotero.org and search for a group.  So, for example, if you search for “Digital Humanities,” you will find many group libraries, some public and some private.  To get a group ID, drill down to the collections, and click on the RSS icon “Subscribe to this Feed” and find it in the URL.  You might see something like this: api.zotero.org/groups/25016/items. The API ID for this group is 25016.

Using ZotPress in Pages and Posts

If you want to use citations within a page or post, you may use the WordPress “shortcode” format.  See below for some examples:

[zotpress collection_id=”CEBCRFWG”]

[zotpress user_api_id=”517913″ download=”yes”  limit=”7″]

Collection IDs may be found by clicking on a group collection, and then looking at the url – for example: ../items/collection/APITMX5Z – in this case, the collection id is “APITMX5Z“.

Individual Item IDs may be found likewise by clicking on the item, and then looking at the url – for example: ../items/JV75TNFU – in this case, the item id is “JV75TNFU“.

Using ZotPress in Sidebars

If you want to use citations in your sidebar, go to widgets in your WordPress Dashboard and drag the ZotPress widget to the sidebar of your choice.  You will see the ZotPress Widget form on the right.  Here you may define what Zotero content you wish to see.


If you click on the Zotero tab in your WordPress dashboard, and then click on Help, you can see the various parameters which are available.  There are a lot and I have only experimented with a few of them.  More to come on that.

ZotPress is being actively developed by Katie Seaborn and you can follow its forum posts on Zotero.org.

Sometimes the citations take a bit of time to render, so be patient.

Aspects which are still a mystery to me:

  • how to get images (or web page snapshots)  into citations and into ZotPress
  • why does the “Citations” tab on the dashboard never show anything





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