10 Jun 2012

Seven Firefox plugins to support your research efforts

Firefox is a popular open source web browser (accounts for ca. 25% of worldwide usage share of available web browsers). The seven recommended add-ons below might also help you when conducting research online. 

... is a plugin that operates as your personal reference organiser. It contains the following features, among others:
  • Automatic capture of citation information from web pages
  • Storage of PDFs, files, images, links, and whole web pages
  • Flexible note-taking
Integration with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice/OpenOffice via plugins
You can also run Zotero as a separate, standalone program without Firefox (Zotero 3.0).

TinEye Reverse Image Search
... is a reverse image search engine. The idea here is to identify the source of an image, find out where it comes from and how it is used. To use this add-on, right-click on any web image and select "Search image on TinEye" from the context menu. Results are displayed for you at tineye.com. The results are qualified and very much rely on TinEye’s image database updates (quickly expanding and currently standing at 2,160,069,909 web images).

Diigo Toolbar
... is a powerful plugin toolbar for annotating, bookmarking, archiving and sharing web pages. Apart from saving links or the whole web page online, you can also attach highlights and stickies to a web page as a reminder for future use; this is exactly the sort of stuff you need when conducting research and keeping track/note of important information.

... is similar to Diigo but lighter in use. ScrapBook serves to save web pages and organise them in an ordered collection (like bookmarks). You can also full-text search and quick-filter your collection.

... is a handy number and a must-have. Right-click on any foreign-language text in a web page and it will be translated using the Google translation service. Translates from/to the following languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Batalan, Chinese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Yiddish.

Read it Later
... see also Pocket; the idea here is to save web pages to a reading list and read them at a later stage when you have time. Pages can be read in offline mode too, so you're not reliant on an internet connection. You can also sync your reading list to all of your computers (work and home) and bookmark pages.

Deeper Web
This plugin aims to beef up your searching by using a tag-cloud technique (topic mapping). It offers, among other things:
  • Tags Tab: add/include a keyword from the original search query via a contextualised tag clould
  • Phrases Tab: assists in re-shaping and refining a search
  • Sites Tab: click on one of the sites in the tag cloud and you’ll get all relevant results from the selected source only.
The plugin is quite powerful as it employes a few Zoomies (mini search engines), such as Blog Search, Metrics Search and Wikipedia Search, among others.

Do leave a comment and share any Firefox plugins that you find helpful for online research. 


  1. I also really like Read it Later - though I must admit lots of stuff gets put in my 'read it later' list and never seems to get read :)

    I like Readability also - it can make cluttered web pages a lot easier and quicker to read:

  2. I was a big fan of extensions/add ons for Firefox but I found that they seemed to make the browser crash a lot more. I was a huge fan of Firefox compared to Internet Explorer, but I have now moved over to Google Chrome. It seems to run much quicker and has a great app store. Chrome has now caught up with Firefox and is now apparently the most popularweb browser http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/21/3033566/chrome-most-popular-browser-weekly-may-2012