SEASR Analytics for Zotero

View Demonstration Movie

This demonstration couples the collection and data management capabilities of Zotero with the data transformation, mining, and visualization capabilities of SEASR. This example contains three basic forms of analysis that allow us to look at relationships among authors of a Zotero constructed data asset. However, this demonstration can easily be extended to include other SEASR approaches or those that you have developed.

This extension to Zotero provides users with the ability to submit items / collections for analysis through the SEASR Analytics environment and retrieve, display, and store the results in Zotero.

SEASR provides a semantic-enabled web-driven dataflow-execution environment that allows others to create their own analytical components. The initial analytics are meant to be demonstrations to show capabilities based on citation network analysis. Additional analysis capabilities are forthcoming.

This application simplifies the ability to analyze Zotero assets by leveraging analytics from SEASR or other tools. This application will allow for the synergy of two useful tools, gaining leverage from both; ultimately many other tools can be integrated into SEASR.

This SEASR application is designed to integrate the research activities of humanities scholars by allowing them to use two powerful tools in combination–Zotero for data management and SEASR for analytics. Zotero was developed at the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, and is a tool aimed at facilitating a user’s research process by providing mechanisms for collecting, managing, and citing Internet resources (websites, articles, books, etc.). Zotero functions as an extension of the popular open-source browser Firefox. One of the key features provided by Zotero is the ability to automatically extract metadata from online resources as part of the resource collection process and to store it conveniently. Zotero also provides advanced tagging and searching functionality, allowing the user to organize, find, and visualize the collected resources effortlessly.

SEASR provides a semantic-enabled web-driven dataflow-execution environment that allows others to create their own analytical components. The initial analytics are meant to be demonstrations to show capabilities based on citation network analysis of the selected data assets. Additional text analysis capabilities are forthcoming. SEASR provides analytics to enhance scholars’ use of digital materials by helping them uncover hidden information and connections, supporting the study of assets from small patterns drawn from a single text or chunk of text to broader entity categories and relations across a million words or a million books. This application allows researchers to use the SEASR analytical tools with their Zotero assets in a straightforward way.

The Firefox plugins for Zotero and SEASR need to be installed. A movie demonstration of the plugins in action are here.

Zotero standardizes their collections using RDF. The portability of this representation allows the SEASR Analytics for Zotero plugin to ship collections to be analyzed using the SEASR infrastructure. Relying on a lightweight request/response cycle, users can send their collections to be analyzed through the SEASR services. SEASR provides basic analytic services, as well as the means to easy expand the provided analysis. The results of the analysis are transfer back to the user that initiated the request and stored as a new entry on the Zotero database. This allow the user to go back to those results in an homogeneous fashion later.

==Data Input and Manipulation==
Zotero provides the user the opportunity to search for and select documents, web pages, and searches, and to place them in a “personal collection” folder. The process for doing this as well as access to the downloadable plugin can be found at: The collection and subcollections are listed in the left column of the Zotero window. The documents included in each collection are shown in the center column when the collection is selected. Once the selection is made, the analysis can begin.

==Execution of Analysis==
The SEASR team has been integrating a variety of tools as well as developing our own analytics. Currently we have integrated natural language processing tools (NLP) and current research algorithms from our data mining collaborators as well as transformation components to allow for data movement between the different components.

This demo includes three very simple forms of social network analysis that allow us to look at relationships among authors of a collection of text assets. These examples are used to show how the Zotero-SEASR bridge can work. More sophisticated and more relevant forms of analysis can be developed.

The following steps show how the bridge works:
# Select the document or set of documents that you wish to analyze from Zotero columns one and two.
# Select a subunit of the collection by using “Control-Click.” A menu extension will appear. This window contains the analytical tools that are available (three in this demo, but many more can be added).
# Select the analysis that you wish to perform from the menu extension. In this demo the three analyses are:
* Author Centrality Analysis – A simple node-importance ranker based on a measure of the centrality of a node in a network. This ranker is normally calculated as the fraction of shortest paths between node pairs that pass through the node of interest. In some sense, this ranker is a measure of the influence a node has over the spread of information through the network.
* Author Degree Distribution Analysis – A simple node-importance ranker based on the degree of the node.
* Author Hits Analysis – Calculates the “hubs-and-authorities” importance measures for each node in a graph. These measures are defined recursively as follows: The “hubness” of a node is the degree to which a node links to other important authorities. The “authoritativeness” of a node is the degree to which a node is pointed to by important hubs.

==Visualization of Results==
The results from the analysis will appear in a window on the left. In the case of this demo, it will be a list or researchers/authors that are represented in the collection being analyzed. Scores are provided for each author in the list, depending on the selected analysis.

==Adding You Own Analysis==
New flows can be easily added to extend the functionality. The SEASR plugin preference has a url that contains a list of flows. So adding new flows to this list makes them accessible in Zotero. We have a request to add another SEASR-based analysis to calculate the Flesch-Kincaid statistic. The existing flows can serve as examples of how to create a flow using a lightweight request/response cycle to communicate between Zotero and SEASR.

# Zotero,
# SEASR Firefox plugin,

8 Responses to “SEASR Analytics for Zotero”

  1. Zotero: The Next-Generation Research Tool » Blog Archive » Analyze Your Zotero Data with the SEASR analytics plugin Says:

    […] We are excited to announce Zotero’s first data mining plugin. The initial launch of SEASR Analytics for Zotero allows users to use SESAR’s author centrality analysis, author degree distribution analysis, […]

  2. links for 2009-02-02 « 语虚 Says:

    […] SEASR » SEASR Analytics for Zotero (tags: firefox_extension km) […]

  3. rsgreen Says:

    Server down?

  4. Xavier Llorà Says:

    The services have been restarted

  5. Archival Management Systems Report, Wiki & Webinar « Digital Scholarship in the Humanities Says:

    […] Zotero with add-ons for analyzing information (perhaps similar to the tools under development by SEASR), authoring and sharing research  (like the Word plug-in or plug-ins for multimedia authoring or […]

  6. Michael Poon Says:

    Hi is your server down? I cannot get seasr analytic to work with Zotero. It returns with the error message: “There was a problem retrieving the results from the server”. Are there other means for end-users to communicate with you other than through this blog?

  7. Xavier Llorà Says:

    Hi. It is working fine from inside our building. We are checking. You can also ping us here

  8. adamgolding Says:

    Hi, I am experiencing inconsistent behavior with the zotero plugin–sometimes results are stored in a separate ‘seasr analytics results’ folder, someimes they are stored in the current folder, sometimes results are not generated at all–any suggestions?

    also, the forum on meandre is not working, I cannot post new topics!