Zotero: Property is Theft, But Don’t Quote Me On That

This just in, via beSpacific – Reuters is suing George Mason University for violating the Endnote TOS. Apparently (though I’m not sure I really understand the issue – this news story is very cryptic) Reuters claims the organization violated the terms of service when they analyzed ways to convert style files from Endnote to Zotero. Reuters (parent company of ISI, parent company of Endnote) accuses Zotero’s programmers of reverse-engineering Endnote files to make the conversion possible and that this threatens to destroy their customer base.

The Mark of Zotero, ACR Log, Barbara Fister, September 28th, 2008.

Here’s a bit more on the new forms of property front– or, rather on the old forms of property will defend themselves even when threatened in the most trivial ways front. Endnote has it’s own, uh, footnote in history, since it marked an early watershed in the automation (sort of) of certain aspects of writing. I imagine it is still very popular in certain scientific fields.

Zotero is the open-source challenger, although I am not certain that it is quite as full featured as Endnote. I am certain that will change, slowly but surely. What’s always interesting is the way open source tends to strip away the liberal niceties, maybe especially in relation to education. The rhetoric is all about making it easy to use and share knowledge, until you threaten my cash cow.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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