Zotero’s Got Game: ZoteroSquare


The service works as follows: ZoteroSquare users “citat-in” in order to earn “badges” sure to inspire envy and admiration in tenure committees around the world. A few examples include:

Local: You’ve been at the same place (e.g. curled in the fetal position inside a library study carrel) 3x in one week!

Super User: That’s 30 citatins and nothing written in a month for you!

JetSetter: Hopping around the world one soul-crushing panel at a time… congrats on your 5th conference citatin and safe travels!

Bender: That’s 4+ years of graduate school for you!

Explorer: You’ve citatinated into 25 different twelve-step programs!

Asked for background on the inspiration for ZoteroSquare’s path-breaking innovation of citatins, Zotero Developer Fred Gibbs protested, “How are we supposed to pronounce that? Citation? Citating? That doesn’t even make any sense!” The stunning new functionality not only exploits Zotero’s millions of intelligent and lonely users, it also leverages the full extent of the software’s origins. “Few people know that Zotero is at its core powered purely by dating software,” revealed Dan Stillman, Zotero’s Lead Developer.

Zotero Web Developer Faolan Cheslack-Postava shrugged in disgust when asked for comment, but Community Lead Trevor Owens enthusiastically dubbed ZoteroSquare “the most depraved navel-gazing software since Dragon NaturallyTweeting.” Zotero Co-Director Sean Takats added that he had grown bored with providing researchers with useful tools and now simply wanted to cash in with premium services. According to Takats, Zotero’s future business model could hardly be more straightforward:

1. Add social networking features.
2. ???
3. Profit!

When confronted about the new feature’s striking similarity to the inexplicably popular service FourSquare, Zotero Co-Director Dan Cohen tersely asserted that he has been appending ”-Square” to the end of various words since at least 2001

I enjoy the jest… :) but for a moment I confess I was taken in. A hazard of seeing the world through game-coloured glasses! But seriously: game elements do have a place, even in something like keeping track of bibliography. The NetherNet uses this sort of thing; heaven’s above, even Weight Watchers. Imagine a contest to put together the ultimate research bibliography on some obscure topic (Roman brick stamps, anyone?), and using this kind of mechanism to crowdsource it out….