Looked at prosaically, public Zotero libraries may be the equivalent of a give-a-penny, take-a-penny bowl at a local store. This convenience alone would be useful, but the creators of Zotero are much more inspired than that. They know that sharing a library is crowdsourcing a library. The more people who know what we’re researching before we’re done with the research, the better. Better for the researchers, better for the research. Collaboration begins at the source, literally.I wouldn't quite say I've drunk the crowdsourcing Kool-Aid yet, but I agree with Sample's subtext, that cultural shifts are needed to make the humanities more collaboration-friendly, and opening up your Zotero library is one step in that direction.
Happily, the Zotero widget gave me a lot less trouble than the Twitter search widget on my course blog, something I may whine about in the future, because the Twitter widget still doesn't really work properly, and the documentation is officially "unofficial." Argh.
Okay, well, actually, it seems like I just got that whining done.
[Update: the little Dapper whozit that I'm using seems to like to screw up and display a lengthy error message every once in a while. It's a passing thing, apparently. You get what you pay for and all that.]