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December 10, 2005

FireFox Scholar to be Available Soon

"Jeffrey Young, Browser-Based Software Will Help Scholars Organize Information Found Online, Researchers Say, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 6, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:

The Web browser has become an essential tool for many academics, a versatile window into books, journal articles, blogs, and other research materials. Why not create a customized browser with professors' needs in mind? That is the logic behind Firefox Scholar, a software package under development by researchers at George Mason University that will help users organize and cite materials they have found online. The open-source software, which developers plan to release free sometime next year, will plug into the popular Firefox browser, which is also open source. "A good way of thinking about it is incredibly smart bookmarking," says Daniel J. Cohen, an assistant professor of history at George Mason who is working on the project. "You're not just bookmarking the page, but you're automatically [capturing] author, title, all that info that scholars want to save."...For the browser-based software to work fully, however, digital archives must format their books and articles in a way that lets it sort out where elements like title, author, and other bibliographic information reside. Some digital collections already do that, and others could make minor adjustments to comply, says Mr. Cohen. Roy Rosenzweig, a professor of history and new media at the university, says the new browser would also allow researchers to automatically save a copy of an online article or Web page and make annotations on those saved pages. That's better than a shoebox full of notecards and photocopied articles, says Mr. Rosenzweig.... A beta version of the software is expected by summer or later next year..."

Source: P.Suber. Open Access News (6 Dec 2005) [FullText]

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