Advice for Zotero folder management needed

Dear dev team, dear fellow user,

I would appreciate some advice on where to best store PDFs / e-pub files etc. for which I do not have a Zotero entry yet but for which I want to create one by dragging the items into the centre pane of a specific collection.

Ideally, I would like to avoid keeping all items twice on my file server, and I am not sure how Zotero handles file locations when PDFs are added locally. Does Zotero merely create a metadata entry and then link to my original file location, or is a copy of the file stored in my Zotero directory? I want to avoid having multiple copies in different places -- so can I put the file into a folder that Zotero will "accept"?

I hope the questions is clear.
  • edited April 23, 2024
    In standard usage, you 1) save from the web where possible, which avoids this problem, and 2) if you do have a local file, you drag it to Zotero and then delete the original file. Zotero stores a copy within its data directory and handles file management and syncing for you after that.

    There are other workflows, described in the second link above, but this is the approach we recommend and provide support for.

    We don't offer "watch folder" functionality:
  • Thanks, this is good to know. I grab data via the browser whenever possible, but I also have PDFs of handwritten notes, unpublished lecture notes etc. that I want to be part of shared libraries for teaching.

    So I will set up a "transition folder" that I regularly empty when things have been added to ZOTERO.
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