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Zotero Everywhere: Browser- and Machine-Independent Support for the Research Community

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Zotero Everywhere: Browser- and Machine-Independent Support for the Research Community

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Zotero Everywhere: Browser- and Machine-Independent Support for the Research Community


Through initiatives such as optional fee-based cloud storage through the recently formed Corporation for Digital Scholarship, a non-profit established to underwrite Zotero’s continuing
costs, the project has made major progress with respect to sustainability within the bounds of existing grant funding. Nonetheless, a critical challenge to Zotero’s long-term sustainability remains its exclusive tethering to the Firefox browser. We therefore propose a staged project to decouple Zotero from Firefox by developing a standalone Zotero client, by creating new Zotero toolbars for other popular browsers, and by significantly expanding the Zotero server’s functionality to support that client and other tools that interact with the platform. In short, to create an ecology that supports research wherever and however that research is being done.

Start Date


End Date


Proposal Co-Authors

Sean Takats
Dan Cohen

Web Designer(s)

Chris Raymond


Dan Stillman
Faolan Cheslack-Postava
Trevor Owens

Staff Members

Ammon Shepherd
Andy Privee


Trevor Owens


1. Independence from Firefox
a. Standalone Zotero compiled and running on Windows/Mac/Linux. Zotero will be compiled into an application that can run on any of operating systems supported by Firefox now or in the future.
b. New browser plugins. To interact with the new translator architecture described above, we will prepare browser plugins for several other popular web browsers.
c. A new site translator architecture that is decoupled from the Firefox browser.
2. Machine Independence
a) Syncing of full-text content. We will add syncing of full-text content to allow users to access their attachments (e.g. PDFs) from any installation of Zotero or via the web at zotero.org.
b) Expansion of the Zotero Server API. At present the Zotero Server API provides read-only access to personal and group libraries.
c) Library editing via the zotero.org website. Using the expanded API described above in 2b, we will produce a vastly improved web interface that will allow users to add, edit, and delete items.
d) Adding Zotero items via a bookmarklet. Zotero’s translator architecture is currently tethered exclusively to the Zotero Firefox add-on.
e) A generic citation API. Zotero 2.1 currently integrates an entirely rewritten citation formatting engine which can also run as a standalone server module.
f) On-demand file download. Even users with very large libraries will be able to access their data from locations with limited bandwidth, since there will be no need to synchronize all file attachments.


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation





“Zotero Everywhere: Browser- and Machine-Independent Support for the Research Community,” RRCHNM20, accessed July 14, 2024, https://20.rrchnm.org/items/show/12.

Item Relations

This Item foaf:fundedBy Item: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
This Item Staff Item: Dan Cohen
This Item Staff Item: Sean Takats
This Item Staff Item: Chris Raymond
This Item Staff Item: Dan Stillman
This Item Staff Item: Faolan Cheslack-Postava
This Item Staff Item: Trevor Owens
This Item Staff Item: Ammon Shepherd
This Item Staff Item: Andy Privee