Mobile Zotero Part 2: Planning Features

Between cleanup from one hurricane, preparation for another later this week, dissertation research in history, coursework in Information Science, and a mini-vacation last weekend, I haven’t had much time to think about the mobile Zotero project. I still don’t have a name for the project, but I have at least started building a list of required features. So here, without further ado, is the first list:

  • LIbrary Read/Write
  • Note read/write
  • Search
  • Create/Modify Collections
  • ISBN Input/Scanner
  • DOI input/scanner
  • Tag navigator
  • Relationship navigator
  • File upload/download

Time to start digging into Zotero’s API, seeing how it translates into Swift, and looking at any existing libraries that might solve some of these problems for me. Avast!

Zotero Mobile


As a scholar and open source devotee, Zotero is my life. (Click the link to learn about the best bibliographic management software in the world.) I use it as a personal library, a personal assistant. Sometimes it feels almost like a second brain: the brain where I’ve stored all of the connections between books and ideas that I need to function as a historian so I can focus on other things with the brain in my head.

The only thing it’s missing—and this is HUGE—is a useful mobile client. I’ve tried what’s out there and it just doesn’t work for me. As in, it doesn’t work. Period. So for the past few years I’ve been struggling to use the mobile web client, which is sorta OK, but it is weakest exactly where I need Zotero to be strongest: search.

Rather than continue struggling to operate my second brain, I realized that this is an opportunity. Why not develop my own Zotero client for iPhone and learn Swift along the way?

Consider this, then, the first in a long series of posts documenting the creation of this tool. I have yet to name the project and will begin listing features in future posts. Like Zotero, this will be a truly open source endeavor. I encourage anyone reading this to chime in with ideas or suggestions. If you’d like to volunteer, send me an email or comment below.

Let’s build Zotero for iPhone!