Keep "date added" from oldest item when merging [solved]

edited March 4, 2024
Hello. There is a certain behavior of Zotero that I have never really understood the reasoning for. I would love to see it updated in a future version.

The vast majority of papers I save to Zotero are arXiv preprints. Very often, these preprints get updated and superseded by new versions. I want to be able to update the Zotero entry with the latest arXiv metadata and PDF, but not lose the timeline information of when that article was first added to the library.

The thing is that, when I want to go back to an old paper I saved, I can't remember all the thousands of author names, and keywords often do not narrow the search down enough. What is so much easier is to remember and scroll to the time period of when I came across that paper, or to look in my save history for a cluster of articles relating to a certain topic.

Currently, if I want to update an article, I either have to add it anew from scratch, or I can merge a newly formed entry with the previously existing old one (with old chosen as the 'master'). In the former case, I obviously I lose the relevant date information. In the latter case, I may get the new PDF merged under the old entry, and the "date added" will stay as the old one, but all of the metadata will be carried over from the old copy as well.

If it were possible to manually update the "date added" that would not be too much work. But there is no option for changing this field.
  • A little inconvenient, but you're aware you can merge individual fields from other item types, i.e. you could use the original item as the master and then carry over the new metadata fields where needed?
  • @adamsmith , thanks for pointing that out. That does seem to be a workaround to accomplish what I'm going for. It would still be great if "Date added" were one of these so that I could just carry that single field over from the old entry, instead of manually carrying every updated field from the new entry.
  • Changing it to keep the oldest Date Added probably makes sense.
  • We do currently preserve the oldest Date Added when merging items. If that's not working for you, could you provide a simple sequence of steps to reproduce the issue? Just the Date Added fields from the two items and the exact sequence of things that you did to execute the merge. That should be enough to reproduce the issue.

    Or are you talking about the Date Added fields of the child attachments?
  • Following up--Right now, I am unable to reproduce the problem and it seems that the oldest Date Added of a library item is indeed being preserved under a merge, even when the "master item" chosen is the newer library addition. That is the desired behavior, but I swear it was not functioning this way at some point in the recent past. I will follow up if I experience this again and it is reproducible. Thank you for your attention to the matter!
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