What is Collaborative Research and Knowledge Management?

Research and knowledge management processes and procedures are getting more and more important within research and educational contexts. Since the 1990ies a couple of existing databases concentrating on reference management (citations and bibliographies) had been supporting research and teaching processes (f.e. Endnote or BibTex). Since a couple of years, a new generation of instruments tries to combine the reference management core with the idea of a structured digital mapping of the existing and used information and knowledge as an entity. In the current web 2.0 era these tools try also to integrate the idea of collaborative working.
These tools can be broadly implemented, for lecturers to plan their courses, for researchers to structure their research projects, for students to prepare presentations and papers etc.
Below you find information about three of these tools (Litlink, Zotero and Citavi):

Tools for collaborative research and knowledge management

Litlink, Zotero, Citavi, Mendeley

Litlink (www.litlink.ch)

Litlink is an application for the Historical and Cultural Studies, developed and operated by members of the Historical Institute at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. It is one of the few instruments that is tailored specifically to the knowledge management teaching and research processes of social sciences and humanities. The application allows managing and linking data to literature, archive material, pictures, people, periodicals, audiovisual media, web sites, events, places, things and organizes the data via index cards and projects. All Litlink data can be continuously adjusted, synchronized and merged with data from the web.
The specific value of Litlink is shown by the fact that all the necessary research and teaching processes data can be linked and organised within a single application. Therefore it becomes possible to organize and display research projects or academic courses in a structured way and to create/export knowledge products such as presentations, seminar paper, essays oder dissertations out of it, including citations styles and bibliographies.
Furthermore, the local, FileMaker-based application is supported by a webbased version (litlinkweb) which can be used to adjust, synchronize and merge data when having the local client installed on different working stations. In the near future, the Web version will be able to allow collaborative work of different users on the same data base.

Zotero (www.zotero.org)

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).
Furthermore, Zotero-folders can be shared for collaborative work of several users.

Citavi (www.citavi.com)

Citavi is swiss data and knowledge management system developed by Swiss Academic Software. It is able to search and include online data (reference management), to grab references and quotations from Web pages and PDF’s with a picker tool, to organize data within projects, to build out knowledge out of information, to insert formatted citations and bibliographies in documents, to import PDF’s to the project. The tool is very strong in searching and including online data and in formatting citations and bibliographies.

Mendeley (www.mendeley.com)

Mendeley is a reference manager and academic social network that help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.
You can
  • automatically generate bibliographies,
  • collaborate easily with other researchers online,
  • easily import papers from other research software,
  • find relevant papers based on what you’re reading,
  • access your papers from anywhere online, and
  • read papers on the go, with our mobile app.

View more features of Mendeley