Thursday, December 23, 2010

Watch Out for an Overly Helpful Zotero

Zotero, a Firefox browser add-on, is a tremendous tool for researchers that helps capture internet based citations for inclusion in your reports.  It can even create bibliographies.

Today I learned that Zotero tries to be overly helpful to its users. That can throw you for a loop when you are least expecting it.

The Problem

I was logging into an electronic database at my library's website. A window popped up asking me to accept a proxy. Not knowing what a proxy was (but thinking it was helpful) I accepted the proxy. Yes, I know, I should have been practicing more safe computing. *sigh*

This is what the pop-up looks like (click image to see a larger view):

What happened as a result was that whenever I went to my library website it forced me to entered my library card number so that I could log in.  This is very frustrating especially when all you want to do it a quick look up in the card catalog.

The Solution

The simple solution is to say "No" when using Firefox and it asks you to accept a proxy.

If, like me, you said "Yes" by mistake and need to undo it here's what you need to do.

Step 1

Select Tools from your drop down menu at the top of your screen.  Then select Add-ons as you see in the image above. Do NOT be tempted to press the Zotero button just beneath it. That will simply start Zotero.

Step 2

Next, under the Extensions tab, you will see a list of the Firefox add-ons that you currently have.  In the box that says Zotero, press the Options button.

Step 3

Uncheck the box that says "Automatically remember proxied resources."  This will prevent Zotero from asking you to save proxies.

If you had accidentally accepted a proxy like me, it would appear in the white box below. (I had already removed mine before taking the snapshot) To remove existing proxies, highlight the proxy name and then press the minus button below.  When you are finished press OK.

Hopefully you will find this helpful.  Thanks to the technical support at the Minuteman Library Network for identifying the problem for me.

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