Interview d’Avram Lyon, développeur de Zandy, client zotero pour Android

21 décembre 2011
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Logo de Zandy

Logo de Zandy, logiciel développé par Avram Lyon

Il y a quelques mois, l’équipe de zotero a eu l’excellente idée de publier une API en lecture et écriture. Grâce à elle, zotero est devenu mobile. Cette évolution montre la puissance de l’open source pour le secteur universitaire: l’open source s’accompagne de la création d’une communauté qui a la possibilité d’accéder à la source du logiciel, d’intervenir sur la manière dont il est développé et, ainsi, d’adapter les logiciels open source aux besoins de la recherche de chacun. L’interview qui suit est celle d’Avram Lyon, développeur de Zandy, un client zotero pour Android. Vous pouvez télécharger Zandy sur l’Android Market et lire son guide d’utilisation.

Could you describe who you are in a few words?

I’m a graduate student in Slavic languages and literatures at the University of California, Los Angeles, where I study Tatar and other non-Russian literatures of the late Russian empire. I also teach Russian and a little Tatar. And I caught the Zotero bug back in 2008, when I started graduate school, and started writing translators and helping out on the forums.

Why do you use Zotero?

I started using Zotero because I couldn’t imagine doing citations by hand in this day and age. I’ve kept using it because it makes it possible to automate and streamline the repetitive parts of research, and because the community around it promises great things to come.

What is Zandy?

Zandy is an Android app to help people keep up on their research without needing a full-fledged computer. It supports viewing and editing items in your Zotero library, as well as viewing attachments and notes. The next big goal is to support adding and modifying attachments, which will let us do cool things like use the camera to scan and upload documents. The source code is open and available under the same license as Zotero itself, so I’m hoping it will manage to generate an active user community of its own.

Why did you decide to develop it?

I decided to develop Zandy because I kept mentioning in the Zotero forums and developer listserv that an Android app would really not be that hard to write. One day in late August, I decided that I might as well do it myself. I suppose at first it was for the challenge and the experience of making a mobile app. I don’t actually use an Android

device myself yet — Zandy was developed using my wife’s phone — but I’m confident that it will prove useful for me, too, when I finally get a phone or tablet for myself.

As a researcher in social and human sciences, in which way do you think that coding is necessary to your research?

I think that coding is often necessary for me to keep up on the volume of sources that I use; my work in libraries and archives in Russia was greatly helped by having Zotero, and by having efficient ways to get large numbers of items, images, and annotations into the software. My research requires a lot of primary source materials that have no digital presence, and I’m trying to rectify that, and further my own research at the same time. I am working on spatial and relationship analyses of non-Russian writing in the late imperial period, and that

entails having well-structured, voluminous data.

And, I must admit, coding is a lot of fun. Especially when I see that it’s helping hundreds or thousands of other researchers around the globe.


Frédéric Clavert

Docteur en histoire contemporaine, Frédéric Clavert a étudié les sciences politiques et l'histoire contemporaine à Strasbourg et à Leeds. Ses recherches s'orientent aujourd'hui vers les relations entre les banquiers centraux et la construction européenne d'une part, sur les sources de l'historien.ne à l'ère numérique d'autre part. Il a été titulaire d'une bourse du DAAD et a obtenu l'aide à la publication du Prix Pierre Grappin. Après cinq ans comme chercheur (Histoire de l'intégration européenne et Humanités numériques) au Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l'Europe (Luxembourg), il est désormais ingénieur de recherche pour le LabEx "Ecrire une Histoire Nouvelle de l'Europe".

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