Call for Participation: Zotero Bluebook Development

Professor Frank Bennett of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Law has asked me to post the following message, and to invite interested individuals to participate in this exciting project:

Zotero and the Bluebook are about to become good friends.

[NOTE: Zotero is a popular open source bibliographic management software application, and The Bluebook is a legal citation standard, widely used in the US.]

With changes merged over the past several weeks, the development trunk version of Zotero has acquired the basic capabilities needed for legal writing. After a year and a half of work on the processor, we have a user interface and we’re ready for action of a sort.

From this point, the project will benefit greatly from the input of actual legal writers. Unfortunately, there are very few lawyers in the Zotero community at present, for the obvious-enough reason that Zotero has until now not been terribly useful for things legal.

[…] I would be looking for people who are comfortable with a few basic technical things (installing Firefox, installing plugins), who are able to invest a small amount of time playing with software with limited and occasionally broken functionality, and who have the patience to report a bit of detail when things do not work correctly — beta testers for alpha software.

Building the full-wax version of Bluebook and related styles will take a little time, but at this point I’m pretty confident that Zotero for law will become a tool of choice for law students, and that the tool has the potential to colonize the professional space in due course. On
that hopeful note, here are links to the forum and utilities:

zotero-legal (Google group): A forum for discussion and a repository of notes and proposals: http://groups.google.com/group/zotero-legal

Zotero development trunk (main and word-processor plugins): The utilities that run in Firefox: http://www.zotero.org/support/dev/svn_and_trac_access#trunk

Bluebook style (CSL 1.0): The current version of the Bluebook style in CSL 1.0: http://gsl-nagoya-u.net/http/pub/bluebook-demo-x.csl

If you would like to participate, please contact Professor Frank Bennett. If you know of a colleague who might be interested in participating, please feel free to share this information with them.

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