"Thomson [Thomson Reuters] makes the proprietary bibliography software EndNote, and claims that Zotero is causing its commercial business 'irreparable harm' and is wilfully and intentionally destroying Thomson's customer base. In particular, Thomson is demanding that GMU stop distributing the newer beta-version of Zotero that allegedly allows EndNote's proprietary data format for storing journal citation styles to be converted into an open-standard format readable by Zotero and other software. Thomson claims that Zotero 'reverse engineered or decompiled' not only the format, but also the EndNote software itself. ...
Litigation, which may go to a jury trial, is pending, so judging this case on its legal merits would be premature. But on a more general level, the virtues of interoperability and easy data-sharing among researchers are worth restating. Imagine if Microsoft Word or Excel files could be opened and saved only in these proprietary formats, for example. It would be impossible for OpenOffice and other such software to read and save these files using open standards - as they can legally do.
Competition between open-source and proprietary software is long-running, as personified by the struggle between Windows and Linux for desktop and server operating systems, but also in many branches of software used by scientists. Researchers tend to lean towards open sharing, but they will also pay for added-value features, and it's important that the playing field is level. Ultimately, the customer is king."
Nature Volume 455, p.708 (9 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/455708a; Published online 8 October 2008, Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.
"Zotero is an easy-to-use yet powerful research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways. An extension to the popular open-source web browser Firefox, Zotero includes the best parts of older reference manager software (like EndNote) - the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references - and the best parts of modern software and web applications (like iTunes and del.icio.us), such as the ability to interact, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero integrates tightly with online resources; it can sense when users are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, and - on many major research and library sites - find and automatically save the full reference information for the item in the correct fields. Since it lives in the web browser, it can effortlessly transmit information to, and receive information from, other web services and applications; since it runs on one's personal computer, it can also communicate with software running there (such as Microsoft Word). And it can be used offline as well (e.g., on a plane, in an archive without WiFi)."
(Dan Cohen & Sean Takats)
"I've increasingly felt that digital journalism and digital humanities are kindred spirits, and that more commerce between the two could be mutually beneficial. That sentiment was confirmed by the extremely positive reaction on Twitter to a brief comment I made on the launch of Knight-Mozilla OpenNews, including from Jon Christensen (of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford, and formerly a journalist), Shana Kimball (MPublishing, University of Michigan), Tim Carmody (Wired), and Jenna Wortham (New York Times).
Here's an outline of some of the main areas where digital journalism and digital humanities could profitably collaborate. It's remarkable, upon reflection, how much overlap there now is, and I suspect these areas will only grow in common importance."
(Dan Cohen's Digital Humanities Blog)