Zotero and Oxford style references

by Nick

I’ve been using Zotero for a while to deal with all my referencing. It’s an add-on for Firefox that sits quietly in the browser until you’re at a site with bibliographic details – Amazon, a journal site, etc. You can then click a button in the address bar to grab all of the details. What’s nice is that you can then attach notes, PDFs of the article, and add tags so you can organise your collection of books and articles you’ve read.

What I was struggling with yesterday, though, was how to export citations to Word in Oxford style. Zotero comes pre-loaded with a number of styles but most are for scientific journals. The only two humanities ones are Harvard and Chicago style. One of the beauties of Zotero is you can customise it to your heart’s content, so if you know XML and how to work in Citation Style Language you can set up a template for whatever citation style you want.

However, I don’t know how to programme full stop, let alone in these languages. But I did eventually get the style working – if you’re technologically clueless like me, here is how.

1) Zotero has a list of styles that have been developed by users. These aren’t approved but seem to be in development. The list is here. There’s one called “History Journal” which seems to be a generic Oxford style for historical journals.

2) However, these won’t automatically install if you have the current version of Zotero. Instead you have to mess about editing the Citation Style Language. All far too complicated for me. But version 1.0.2 of Zotero will automatically install this. The only problem is that it’s not released yet, but you can download a dev version here.

3) So once you’ve installed this, just go back to the Styles page and install whatever style you want.

Not the most elegant solution but it worked!