Tag: zotero

Change is in the Air, and the Outline

With my recent trip to Germany and the Bundesarchiv in Freiburg, I learned a few important things. One, my original proposed study of the Jägerstab and all of the tunnel projects that organization created is too large. Dr. Herbert suggest that would make a nice life-time study, rather than a dissertation topic. Instead, I should focus on one tunnel project and the accompanying business and forced laborers. Two, it is good to have contacts. Dr. Herbert put me in contact with Dr. Wagner at the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial. Dr. Wagner gave me some excellent advice on how to better select a project. First and foremost, is to have a research question. So far, my research question has been, “What can I find out about the tunnel projects.” I have been content, to this point, to want to just tell a narrative of a tunnel project. One other question comes to mind: Was underground dispersal effective? More will surely come to me as I dig into the data (pun intended).

After crafting a decent research question, the next step is to ask myself if I would like to study the organizational structure of the tunnel project. If so, three types of organizations were involved in underground dispersal: the Jägerstab and their aircraft armaments programs, the Geilenbergstabes focused on the oil and fuel production, and private, individual businesses. Within this study of organization, there were government bodies that oversaw the tunnel construction, such as the SS, the OT (Operation Todt), and others.

A high school near the hotel in Freiburg, Germany
A high school near the hotel in Freiburg, Germany

All underground dispersal projects utilized forced labor. I will also need to consider several aspects regarding the use of such labor. First of all, which type of labor to focus on: political prisoners, prisoners of war, foreign civil prisoners. Second, is the research to cover the daily life and working conditions and experiences of the laborers?

Along with these great questions, Dr. Wagner suggested several books to see as examples.

To help formulate a new outline, I took several of the books and reconstructed an outline based on their table of index. There was a common thread that weaved through each of the works, so I replicated that structure for my new outline. As of this writing, I don’t even have an idea of the business or tunnel I will end up researching, but I can formulate a rough outline nonetheless. Here is what I have so far:

  • Introduction: Historiography, Methodology, Argument
  • Chapter 1: The Business Above Ground (193x – 1944)
  • Chapter 2: Decision to Disperse
  • Chapter 3: Organization of Project X
  • Chapter 4: Technology of Tunnels
  • Chapter 5: Collaboration with Killers: Use of slave labor
  • Conclusion: Meanings, Memories, and Movements

I will refine and add to this as I get more information.

As a technical side note, the above list of books was automatically generated using a the Zotpress plugin. This connects my WordPress install with my online Zotero account. With that set up, I can easily select books to include in a list or bibliography, and have them input into the post.

The Tools to Do the Job – Scrivener, Zotero, LibreOffice

(This post is cross-posted at my personal blog)

Scrivener is awesome software for writing, that I’ve mentioned before, but I had yet to really test out the integration with Zotero (my citation manager of choice). So now that I have finally started on my dissertation writing in earnest (and not grant writing), I needed to make sure that footnotes are usable in my work flow. So this is a quick write up of the tools I will use in writing my dissertation, and how I will use them.

The Tools

LibreOffice: Free and Open Source document software. Who knows how long I will have access to free Microsoft Word? LibreOffice (the fork of OpenOffice) will always be free and freely available. The steps will be basically the same if you are using Microsoft Word, just substitute that program for LibreOffice when it comes to it.

Zotero: I’m certainly biased, but Zotero is the greatest citation management software evar! Also free and open source. I’m using the stand alone version, but you can use the Firefox extension as well. Should work the same.






Scrivener: The greatest writing software I’ve seen. So good I even paid for it. I don’t usually do that with software (as you can see, I like free and open source).





The Process

Here I will try to outline the process I found that will save footnotes from existing documents into Scrivener, and Scrivener created footnotes into exported documents. From there, it’s easy to create Zotero connected footnotes.

1. Copy existing documents with footnotes into Scrivener

Copy from LibreOffice
Copy from LibreOffice

The first issue to run across is to put your existing documents into scrivener. I wrote a paper for Hist 811 that is basically the bulk of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the dissertation. It’s needs some finessing in order to fit in the dissertation. It would be a shame to lose the footnotes, which is what happens if you just use Scrivener’s import file process. This is an easy fix. Just copy the text from your document and paste it into a Scrivener text area.

Then with your Scrivener project open, create a new text area, or select an existing one, which ever, and paste it in. Nothing special there.








2. Create new footnotes in Scrivener

Scrivener makes a Footnote
See how Scrivener makes a footnote!

What is special, though is what Scrivener does with that footnote. See there, footnote number 20, right after the quote about the cocktail of causes and rearmament being one of the ingredients? Now in Scrivener we have the word “ingredient” highlighted and underlined, and on the right side of the Scrivener window, there is a new footnote with all of the content of the original footnote. Sweet!







Easy as Format->Footnote, or use the shorcut keys Ctrl-Cmd-8

That’s all well and good. What if we want to edit the text a little bit, add some good stuff and add another footnote in there? What do we do? Well, Scrivener has a way to add a footnote. Just highlight some text (the footnote will be inserted after the last word), and go to the Format menu and select Footnote. Or you can use the fancy shortcut keys, for faster typing and footnote inserting, Ctrl-Cmd-8 (⌃⌘8).








Look, Ma! A new footnote!

Now you have a new, blank, footnote area to put a footnote reverence in.








Select the reference in Zotero and drag it into the footnote box in Scrivener.

Zotero makes it easy to put the reference in that new empty footnote with drag and drop citations. Just pull up your Zotero (either from Firefox, or if you have the standalone version). Select the reference you want, and drag it into the empty footnote section.








3. Moving from Scrivener to a document, and keeping your footnotes!

So, ideally, you would be able to export your text document, and all of these lovely footnotes you have made in Scrivener, using Zotero, would just magically work in a Word or LibreOffice document. It doesn’t, yet (or ever?). So here is how to get your footnotes into a document, and then get those footnotes to be Zotero enabled.


First, you export your Scrivener document to RTF format.







Select RTF format

Select the plain RTF format, and the first check box for only the selected files (although, you could un check this if you want to do all of your files at once. No other check boxes are needed. Then just hit the Export button.






Open it up with your favorite document program, LibreOffice or Word.

Next, you will want to open your new RTF document in LibreOffice (or Word if you’re using that program).




All my citations are in the house!

You will notice that all of your footnotes are in this file. Yeah! Sometimes the text had odd font sizes and styles. So a quick ‘Select All’ and change it to default style and Times New Roman, 12 pt should fix that right up. Now here is the labor intensive part. For each footnote, we’re going to have to recreate it so that it is handled by Zotero. Then we’ll delete the original footnote. It would be nice of Scrivener could export the footnotes in a way that Zotero could detect them, but alas it is not to be.


Now you add a citation through the zotero buttons to make a zotero-aware citation.









All my citations are in the house!

Insert a Zotero citation using the Zotero buttons in your document program’s menu bar.











I prefer the Zotero classic view.











The new citation find view is pretty slick, though.








You can add pages with a coma, space, number.





Now you have two citations.







With two citations in the document, you’ll need to delete the one that was not made by zotero.






Just make sure you delete the non-zotero aware citation. The Zotero citation is usually highlighted.














Now you can save the document as a different file format: odt, doc, docx

Now save the document as an ODT document. If it is saved as anything else, it will not be Zotero aware.







Take your pick of file types.













Save as the correct file format if you want Zotero to be able to edit them again.








One alternative method is to create footnotes in Scrivener using the format {Author, Year, Page#}. Then export as an RTF document as before. Then, in Zotero, use the ‘RTF Scan’ tool in the Preferences menu. Zotero will see all of the citations and replace them nicely with formatted citations (using Ibid. and short notation for repeat books, and such). Zotero will not be aware of these citations at all, so if you need them to be Zotero aware, you might as well use the steps outlined above. If you do not expect to update citations or the text once done in Scrivener, then this may be the easiest way to go.

Now I can happily transfer existing documents into Scrivener and save the footnotes!

Digging in to the dissertation

Pun intended, of course.

I found a really cool piece of software that will, I believe, be very helpful in writing the dissertation. It’s a Mac application called Scrivener. I found it while reading up on an influential digital historian’s blog, William Turkel. I like it because it organizes the writing process in the way I already think about it. I can write, or rearrange bits of text as if they were note cards, and so much more… I’ll let a few screen shots speak for themselves:


As you can see, I’ve been working on my outlines for the first two chapters. I was worried about integration with Zotero, but found this tip to be helpful. It’s a bit of a process, but sure beats doing all citations by hand.

Funding Update

Also, for an update, I have now applied to two big fellowships, USHMM and the GHI, with one more to go at the National Archives. I should hear back about the USHMM this month.

After that, it’s the big two, the Fulbright and the DAAD.

Sources Update

I have most of the documents scanned from USHMM. There are still a bunch of microfilms I should get digitized from the National Archives (or the originals from the German Archives). Now I just need to start going through them and translating and organizing. I’ll have a post on that later.

Detail of A4 at Hadmersleben

Above is a teaser of one of the documents. This detail shows the location of the proposed tunnels in relation to the town of Hadmersleben, in Germany. The different areas of the tunnel are labeled.

How to footnote a blog post?

Update: It appears that most people come to this page looking for how to properly attribute a blog post in their footnotes, not how to do footnotes in a blog post. 🙂 So, a different search shows how to do the former, while this post shows how to do the latter. Search tip, add the style you are looking for when you type in “how to footnote a blog”. So it would be “chicago manual style how to footnote a blog”. Below is the proper way to footnote a blog in your paper using the Chicago Manual of Style, taken directly from their site linked above:

Blog entry or comment

Blog entries or comments may be cited in running text (“In a comment posted to The Becker-Posner Blog on February 23, 2010, . . .”) instead of in a note, and they are commonly omitted from a bibliography. The following examples show the more formal versions of the citations. There is no need to add pseud. after an apparently fictitious or informal name. (If an access date is required, add it before the URL; see examples elsewhere in this guide.)

1. Jack, February 25, 2010 (7:03 p.m.), comment on Richard Posner, “Double Exports in Five Years?,” The Becker-Posner Blog, February 21, 2010, http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/beckerposner/2010/02/double-exports-in-five-years-posner.html.
2. Jack, comment on Posner, “Double Exports.” Becker-Posner Blog, The. http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/beckerposner/.


So the first hurdle I have come across, is how to do the footnotes on these pages and posts. I tried two different approaches before settling, with still some insecurity, on a plug-in to handle the formatting for footnotes. There are two options, and I’m kind of leaning on going back to the first option after writing this.

Option 1: By Hand

Zotero Adding a Citation
Zotero - Adding a Citation

Hand code the footnote numbers as links and the footnotes they link to. Well, you don’t actually have to format and code it all by hand. Microsoft Office and OpenOffice Writer actually do a pretty decent job of creating the links and formatting the footnotes to look and act decently. It’s a simple copy from the word file and paste it into the “Visual” editor in WordPress. After that I would switch to the “HTML” editor, copy the text and plug it into my trusty terminal using Vim to do some quick search and replace of unwanted things (like styled span tags for every paragraph and some CSS formatting). You can use any text editor that has the search and replace ability. Then I pasted the text back into the “HTML” editor, and I was good to go.

Option 2: Use a Plugin

Simple Footnotes Plugin
Simple Footnotes Plugin

This option has some benefits and drawbacks. I tried a number of different plugins but settled on the Simple Footnotes plugin by Andrew Nacin. The benefits are that you don’t have to hand code or edit anything. You just add in a [ ref] tag and put in anything you want to be as a footnote, and close it with a [ /ref] tag. 1 The plugin automatically takes care of formatting, and puts the footnote at the bottom of the post or page. Another benefit is that it adds the footnote text to the “alt” field of the anchor tag so it “pops up” when you hover the mouse over the footnote number in the body of the text. The big downside, and the reason I’ll probably switch back to hand coding it, is that this method is not very portable. If I ever need to grab the text out of the WordPress database, then I’ll have the footnote text in the middle of the text body. It is also that way as you are writing, so it kind of gets in the way. This is especially noisome when the footnote is rather large. True, you can copy and paste the displayed HTML or source HTML and have it turn out OK, but it is really a pain to have the footnotes in the body of the text as you try to write or edit.

Those were the options I see for adding footnotes to a WordPress blog post or page. It would have been really helpful to have a zotero plugin for WordPress that allows you to add a citation just like a Word or Writer document. I know there’s a way to export a “bibliography” from zotero with the selected works, but it doesn’t take care of formatting, adding the numbers and links and such. Hmmm, I wonder if that’s possible, and if I could/should write it…


  1. This example has a space after the first square bracket so that it does not render as an actual footnote.