How to Learn/Use Zotero for the GGB Hackathon

We are counting down the days until the Gender & Geography Bibliography Hackathon (sponsored by the Gendered Perspectives on Women Group of the AAG), which will take place from November 15th through the 21st, 2015!
For the very brief version,  sign up to participate here: Below are the detailed directions (to distribute these isntructions, the link to this post is
This post provides more details about  the following:
  1. a quick recap summarizing the hackathon
  2. how to learn/use Zotero for the GGB Hackathon
  3. how to join the GGB Hackathon Zotero group
  4. how to add to the citations

Step 1. What is the GGB Hackathon? A hackathon is a time when a group of people come together to work on a digital project together, usually by coding and creating content for an app or website. Skills and time involved are minimal and the outcome is a profound source of public knowledge for our various fields, as well as useful training in the citation management software, Zotero. We are eagerly seeking faculty, students, and staff who want to take part any time and anywhere during the 11/15-11/21 week in adding to and editing the now 3,000+ large online, citation database of feminist geographic sources. Folks can work on their own or form their own groups. This video below explains the gist of the GGBH:

Sign up to participate here:

Step 2. How do I learn/use Zotero for the GGB Hackathon? This post you are reading now explains the key steps in downloading and getting to know Zotero, both for everyday use and specifically for the Hackathon. Even for the non-tech oriented, Zotero is a simple piece of software to use. Once you learn it, you will probably use it for your own research!! A small group of dedicated folks have developed the GPOW Bibliography website with a citation management tool called Zotero. Why use Zotero? It’s easy to learn and use, and it formats, alphabetizes, the stores citations for us–we will never need to edit again! Hurrah! This means that to take part in our GPOW efforts, you need to do a few simple things:
  1. If you are not a Zotero expert, watch each of the following very short and very smart videos:
  2. Follow the steps in the video to download Zotero at We recommend using Zotero through Firefox because of the increased functionality but it’s up to you!
  3. Login to and create an account.
  4. Play around with Zotero for 15 minutes. Maybe add your present syllabus to a folder, or the publications for a paper you are working on. They will be useful forevermore in this state so this is great work.

Step 3. How do I join the GGB group on Zotero? And why is it members only? We have kept the Zotero GenderGeog group ( as members only so that everyone who wants to participate can be supported by name, and we can reach out to folks in the future with various interests. Also, trolling of feminist hackathons is common and while Zotero makes backups of deletions, better safe than sorry our first time out! At the same time, the Gender & Geography Bibilography is a project for and by the publics so that the materials we share are public. We expect these steps to take around 5-10 minutes of your time.

Step 4. Okay, I’m in! Now how do I add citations to the bibliography? Woohoo! We’re so excited to have you here! In the GGB sign-up page, specify on which area you would like to focus. We’ve narrowed it down to the following: languages, scholars, book publishers, research topics, and journals. We expect you to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours or even, for some who come to love it, hours and hours on the hackathon. Hack as you desire! Here’s how the GGB Hackathon works:

  1. In terms of languages, English is drastically over-represented. At the same time, Zotero is still working on moving beyond the Roman alphabet so we have constraints there for now.
  2. For scholars, we have many key folks who do gender and geog in the field of geography but we really need to broaden our approach. Also, younger scholars are underrepresented or absent. The best way to find these materials are by comparing online CVs to major article databases or Google Scholar.
  3. Regarding book publishers, we are missing entire years of key monographs and, especially, book chapters. We recommend using WordlCat, Amazon, and/or Google Scholar for these searches.
  4. When it comes to journals, we have some journals well addressed, such as Gender, Place and Culture but, still, many pieces are missing. If you want to just take up a few journals and add all gender-related selections, it’s an easy search and a huge help.
  5. Oh, and of course: research topics! From experts in political ecology to sexuality and space, from participatory youth environments to food economies, we need your wisdom! List the key topics you would search in major database engines or Google Scholar to include here.
  6. Finally, editing, editing, editing is always needed. Citations for books are missing places of publication, and many things are misspelled, missing page numbers, and so on. If you’re a detail-oriented person, have at it.
  7. Okay, but once you search how do you add to the Zotero library? The videos above give an overview of how to add to the library, but for a brief overview, please read on!

(i) Once you have found an article, chapter, etc, you need to capture the information using the Zotero extension you downloaded in Step 1. The extension of Firefox is in the upper right corner (a ‘Z’)

(ii) When you are on the page with the citation data (e.g. the journal page with abstract, the database with abstract), move your mouse over the Z and click on the pull down menu beside it. You will see several options (“Save to Zotero using <database> name”; save to Zotero using DOI”; etc). Do not save as webpage. The preferred way to save in using DOI or database. Once you save the data, it will go directly to the GPOW Library in Zotero (it is a group library called gendergeog that you have access to once you register – see instruction Step 1 above).

(iii) The library is organized with a folder for each letter of the alphabet. Once you capture the information with the Zotero extension, it will be stored in the library. You now need to add the citation to the appropriate folder (alphabetical by author last name). To do this, you check the box in front of the citation. Then click on the folder icon (with a + in a small green circle) to add the citation to a ‘collection’ (the letter folder).

(iv) Please make sure that all important information was captured. You can do this by clicking on the citation in the gendergeog library.

Thanks to all of those who have worked for years and years to get us to the place we are at today, and thanks to those who will join in and bring this work even further along! It is so very exciting to bring so much excellent work on geography and gender to the world! Sure, you can add before 11/15-11/21 but don’t forget to join in the fun when we are all in the same spacetime of Zotero during Geography Awareness Week (11/15-11/21)! See you soon.
Our very best,
For the production and sharing of knowledge in all things gender and geography,

Jack Gieseking & Laura Shillington