Say Bye Bye to My Fear of Technology

Posted: June 25, 2011 by Stephanie Krogmann in solving IT-problems

I am a person that is naturally scared of technology. I know how to turn on the computer, to open Windows Office and to go online. That is all I usually do. In order to research online I use Mozilla Firefox which is definitely easy to handle even for persons like me. After using this tool for a while I figured out how to use simple bookmarks allowing me to save pages I liked or graded valuable.  It became much easier to work on the web (Well, this might not be something astonishing for computer cracks, but at least for me ;)). A few weeks ago I had another moment of cognition. In class we were introduced to Google readers.  This tool offers you the possibility to follow various pages and always be up to date without having to visit all the web pages. I really was amazed by all this possibilities; you just have to look for them carefully and be open-minded. At that point I decided to learn more about Mozilla and the Web and so I started to research about add-ons.

The first add-on I installed was “HTTPS Everywhere”. It was really easy to download and it ensures a secure travel trough the web, as it enables the user to surf with a coded access. I took comfort and after a while I was ready to deal with Zotero, another add-on that helps you to bookmark and take notes in a really smart way.

In order to find my way through this this add-on I searched for an instruction video, which really helps to take the first steps and find out what can be done.

So what I did first was downloading the add-on and after that I had to restart Mozilla Firefox.  Add-ons are programs that do not install on the desktop, but directly in the browser.  After opening Firefox again I could see a little pop up in the right bottom corner that I only had to open.

Zotero allows me to create different folders where I can storage various bookmarks. But why is this better than usual bookmarks?

  1. I can create folders. Immediately I crated one for my interests around Berlin and another one for my Regional studies term paper project. That gives me the possibility to order my links.
  2. In addition to the links Zotero is able to store notes, tags and information. After finding an interesting article about Russia, I directly could storage my opinions, notes and ideas along with the link. This really helps me to keep track of my notes and to order them. Also I can add tags to a link which definitely helped me already as well.
  3. I am able to create a Zotero account with a username and a password. If I do so, I have access to my Zotero database regardless of which computer I am using. It is not required that I use the computer I originally in stalled my Zotero account on.

4. Furthermore Zotero enables me to easily insert online preferences into texts. This is really important in case of my Regional studies project, as I have to work academically. For example I am able to insert a reference into Google docs. This is very easy as I only have to select “create biography from selected item” and then insert the link into my Google docs document. I will have a perfect preference with only a few clicks. On top of that I can also insert preferences into Word. Opening Word you can find the term Add-Ins in the head runner with helps you to again insert a preference from Zotero.

All in all I am really grateful, that I discovered this helpful add-on. It is way better than usual bookmarks and helps me to do my online research more efficiently. I really enjoy being able to order my findings and add notes. I am a clumsy person and always lose my handwritten notes. Therefore this is a really good way for me to work. I will definitely keep on using this tool and on top of that I am willing to learn more about other add-ons, as I realized that my fear of technology sometimes can complicate work processes.  Furthermore, I can storage more links without getting confused or lost in my lists, as I can create different folders.

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Comments
  1. Bruce Spear says:

    Good work, Stephanie! This is wonderfully explained, I thing most of your classmates would read it and feel comfortable taking the plunge! I know this is Saturday and we should all be outside enjoying the weather, and I know you’ve got lots of work to do, but what would really make this an excellent post is to include a couple of screenshots where you actually use Zotero for your academic work and so create post that goes one step beyond “easy to install” or “not so bad after all” becomes “wow, this is really useful: at comparatively little cost it is helping increase my productivity, furthering my career, making me rich, etc. … “! It may be days before you get to such work, but then you could edit your post to show your reader where she is going, and once eager to get to this terrific thing she will do the work of reading on. This is not required, but a couple of images showing real uses would give you a great skill to add to your toolkit and give your readers a richer post! Good luck! -Dr.B!

  2. Lisa says:

    Dear Steffi,
    as far as I am concerned, it is also really hard for me keeping track of all my different kinds of notes/ articles/ sources etc.
    I’ll definitely try to use this application in order to organise the files for my regional studies termpaper.
    Have you heard about the so called ‘Zotpress’? It is the combintion of wordpress and zotero!
    Check this out 🙂
    ( http://blogs.library.duke.edu/libraryhacks/2011/06/10/zotero-wordpress-together-at-last/ )

    But all in all, I really like your personalised art of writing. It’s nice to read that you’re really scared of technology like almost everyone of us 🙂
    But I’m sure that we’re able to handle this problem!
    So- good work buddy!

  3. maxsc21 says:

    yes i agree to lisa.. i also bookmark a lot of pages, but always with the standard firefox option. when i’m searching for older bookmarks now i have to scroll through an unsorted list of more than 100 bookmarks, all in a tiny window sticking to the firefox toolbar.. if you know the way i keep organization in my college folders you might say that i am familiar with that.. but in fact it is annoying. and steffi showed very well how simple it is to arrange things systematically.. what an idol 😉

  4. sasha1989 says:

    Hi Steffi,
    Your first two sentences made me laugh because I have the same situation. That is why I had to read your blog post.
    Wel..as many people already wrote before it is excellent.
    First of all, you chose very “hot topic” – how to keep track of the web-pages. It is very actual for us now because I guess everyone is writing term-papers now.
    I have to say that after reading your blog I also installed this add-on my computer. And since 2 hours I am enjoying it.
    The next thing I like in your blog is your style. You for sure have one because I read many of your posts. You have a talent to describe difficult thing in simple language.
    All in ll, good done!

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