Export from Zotero to Librarything or Goodreads

One of Zotero’s many virtues is that it is a really robust container for bibliographic data. If you want to spend a little time playing with the Citation Style Language that Zotero uses it is actually pretty easy to get some useful data out of Zotero to do all sorts of fun things with. One of the most simple of which is exporting items for services like Librarything and ISBN numbers which each service then either grabs the data from Amazon, the Library of Congress, or just the existing pool of items that they already have available.


  1. Install this CSL into your copy of Zotero.
  2. Create a biblography from all your books using the ISBN Export style
  3. Import the list to Librarything or Goodreads importers

Organize Books Inside Zotero

Before explaining how to export the books you’ll want to get a clean list of books you own. I tag all the items in my library that I own with the “I Own it” tag. From their it is easy to create an advanced search for all your books that have that tag.

Getting ISBN Numbers

Next use my nifty CSL file to export ISBN numbers. Just save this CSL file to your desktop and drag it into a open Firefox window, you should then be prompted to install the CSL. Once installed you will have ISBN Export as a option in the create bibliography menu.

This very simple export style underscores how easy it is to get started playing with CSL. The part of the style that does all the work is really just these few lines.

      <key variable="ISBN"/>
    <layout suffix="">
      <text variable="ISBN" prefix="" suffix="     "/>

The first part of this  <sort> sets list to sort by the ISBN number, and the second part,  <layout> tells Zotero that all we want is the ISBN without any characters as a prefix or a suffix.

Uploading Your File

From there all you need to do is upload your file. Both of Goodreads and Librarything have pages for uploading book information. While each service allows you to upload additional information my understanding is that that other info is only used in cases when the ISBN number for a given work was either missing or malformed.

£very1 c4n |_rn 2 ©ode (Everyone Learn to Code)

How Do We Get The Necessary Self Efficacy To Code

original image from uaeincrediable
original image from Capture Queen http://flickr.com/photos/uaeincredible/

For all the talk of read/write culture and how digital media has blurred the lines between producer and consumer, (or even prosumer if you like making up words) there is much less conversation about learning to write code. In my experience these conversations happen, almost exclusively, about tools that use graphical interfaces and wysiwyg editors for content creation. I think Marc Prensky is right in suggesting that programing itself is a new literacy, or even better yet I would suggest it’s really a deeper conception of digital literacy. In calling something a literacy were making it a fundamental, and I think the database driven programmatic nature of new media requires that folks start to take a proactive approach to making programing a part of our general education approach.

Before we can even really talk about that goal however there is something I think we need to figure out first. Many people don’t think they have it in them to work with code. I have seen people who are masters at manipulating things in complicated programs with graphical interfaces. Folks that can do amazing things in Final Cut, people who have no trouble troubleshooting issues that arise with their operating systems, but who power down when anything from HTML to C++ is mentioned. I frequently hear, “I can’t do that”, “I’m not a coder” or similar statements rooted in idenity, afinity and self-efficacy.

It is important to note that I say this, not as a confident coder but as someone who has gotten over his own fears about working through hunks of code. The things I have done, editing and tweaking Omeka and WordPress themes, hacking CSL‘s to get customized export from Zotero making a minor fix to one of Zotero’s translators, all required no training in JavaScript, or XML. Once I was comfortable with skipping chunks of stuff I did not understand I was generally able to get these things to do what I wanted to do. In these cases at least, the biggest barrier was my own lack of self efficacy with the idea of doing things with code.

There are a lot of great ways learn to code. (For a good list check out Karin Dalziel’s post, its directed at librarians but there are some great resources there.) However, I have not seen much work focusing on how we can get people over the paralysis that comes from the belief that it writing code is outside their grasp. To really break down these barriers, and get more folks to a deeper level of digital literacy, I think we need to know more about where that fear comes from and start developing stratigies for overcomming it.

35 Views Of Einstein From 2100 C St. NW

I’m working on a piece about the the Albert Einstein Memorial outside the National Academy of sciences. One of the facets I am exploring is the way in which the monument suggests photos to visitors. Many reviews of the monument on travel websites mention “photogenic” the monument is. Among other things it’s a place for formal pictures and a jungle gym for the kids to climb on. These are all CC licensed photos from Flickr. There are a bunch more, over 500 last time I searched, these are just some of my favorites, each of the thumbnails links back to the photographers pages on Flickr.

I think these photos have something to tell us about Einstein in popular culture and also some interesting comments on how monuments work. I have some ideas, but I am interested to hear other folks thoughts. What do you think about these photos? What can we learn from how people interact with, and photograph this monument?

Einstein Memorial by riacale.

Arguing with Einstein by chrisbb@prodigy.net.

@ einstein memorial by t3mplar.

a watchful eye by ucumari.

Einstein Memorial by Il Primo Uomo.

Albert Einstein Memorial by jcolman.