Welcome / Greetings to Debbie, Zotero's new Community Lead

I hope the rest of Zotero users will join me in saying Welcome to Zotero's Community Lead. Debbie just posted her first blog entry today (at http://www.zotero.org/blog/greetings/). It would be nice if Zotero's blog allowed comments (at least to Zotero's registered users). But since it doesn't, I thought we can try to say hello to Debbie through the Discussion Forum.

Thank you for introducing yourself, Debbie. It's good to know Zotero's community relations will be in good hands (UIUC GSLIS wouldn't graduate any other kind, right? ;-)
  • ah great to have the new community lead on board. Hi Debbie!
    I would be curious about what your see yourself doing as the community lead -
    obviously you're going to run the Zotero seminars, but what are some of your other plans for outreach?
    More Facebook? Twitter? Make the blog more active? Turn on blog comments ;-)? Just curious.
  • Hi, Debbie! Welcome to the circus.

    I've been thinking about what I could possibly say by way of welcome that goes beyond the first line of this post ... a greeting that carries with it the happy prospect of additional work burdens and longer hours at the office. :) Something along those lines finally dawned on me today, so here goes.

    Some of us have been pushing extensions to Zotero's functionality that will expose the tool to new communities. Specifically, footnote backreferences and parallel cite capabilities in Zotero 2.1/CSL 1.0 will make robust legal style support possible for the first time; and the multilingual branch of Zotero, when it goes live, will make the tool viable for a large population of users working in or with Asian languages.

    These are exciting developments, because they promise to bring network effects in their wake. If the platform can support any style, from any field, in any language, on any platform, the barriers to collaboration across distance, disciplines and languages will be greatly reduced. We will make the world larger by bringing people closer together.

    At the same time, these new communities will have quite specialized support requirements. Most users in Japan, China and other parts of Asia will be most comfortable with support forums based primarily in their native languages. Lawyers, for better or for worse, are for the most part consumers of code, accustomed to specialized single-point-of-contact support for tools that they use, and they tend (in my own experience, at least) to shy away where that is not available.

    It seems as though some devolution of support (and of the collation of user feedback) will be called for -- whether via affiliates, or satellites, or franchisees, or freelancers, or advocates, or whatever. The sticking point, viewed from the periphery, is that providers of "local" support (in terms of language, or in terms of discipline) should be "part of the circle" with links to the core project, but also have independent resources and incentives for maintaining an organization. The resources issue is important -- someone spinning up a Zotero support forum for Japanese users, say, cannot easily look to development funding, because such work is at one remove from the core. I'm not sure what the best response or mode of organization would be -- perhaps library associations could be mobilized to provide collective funding for support centers? -- but it seems an issue worth some reflection.
  • Hey guys! Debbie here. Thanks for the shout outs on the forums and to those who sent out positive vibes in the Twitterverse. It's just Day 2 of the job and I'm still getting my bearings, so as of now I can provide at best some brief responses to the above.

    re rusodepaso: cheers! Are you by chance a GSLIS grad as well?

    re adamsmith: Hi! In answer to your question: Outreach will carry on via the good ole methods (Twitter, blog) and I will update them whenever something important arises, but I’m examining some other cool, very collaborative though perhaps less traditional outreach tools that I’m very excited about, too. Sorry if this is vague, but my intentions will become clearer soon :).

    re fbennett: Thanks for these invaluable insights. Some options I am looking at now relate to the points you bring up about strengthening regional support in different communities, and I’m excited to see how they will pan out – and I’ll be sure to keep everyone up to speed.

    My personal Twitter is debbie4chnm. That's where I'll post nerdy ramblings related to information literacy, digital humanities, as well as stuff relating to Zotero and stuff not relating to Zotero. Please feel free to stop on by! Any official updates I’ll provide via the Zotero Twitter and blog.
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