Exporting Attachments to .csv

Hi all,

So, maybe I'm just dense, but I have not been able to find any information regarding how to achieve what I want, which is as follows. I have a number of entries with images (e.g. MC029_1983_NYCSUB.tiff) attached to a parent item, each of which have notes and tags attached (see image below). If I select the parent item and the attachments, and export them as a .csv, the attachments are not exported as individual entries/rows - they are simply listed in the "File Attachments" metadata column - and none of the notes and tags attached to the image entries appear in the .csv (the text in the child note you can see in the image does appear in the .csv [along with a bunch of code I could do without] in the "Notes" column, but not the text of the notes I made on the image attachments). Is there a way to make Zotero "count" attachments as citations themselves when exporting, so that each attachment would appear as its own row, if that makes sense? Generating reports for every citation in my library that includes attachments in order to extract the metadata attached to those attachments isn't really a great/efficient solution for me. Any guidance or help regarding settings I'm missing, workarounds, etc. would be much appreciated - thank you!

  • If you mean that you have "attachment notes" - that is, notes belonging to individual attachment files (image files in your case) - my understanding is that they are being phased out. There were quite a few capabilities of other note types that they did not support, CSV export seemingly being one of them.

    If you need a note associated with each image moving forward, one way of doing that would be to have a child note with the same name as each image. The above link shows the option that Zotero v7 (currently in beta) offers you to migrate existing attachment notes to child notes. However the association between each image and its note would be looser then.

    Or you could just use the single child note you have in the screenshot above for all the notes about all the images under this item.

    But Zotero's design tends to assume that your data is mostly single parent items with single attachments (or only a small number of PDF attachments, eg a PDF paper and a supplemental material PDF). It is less well suited for data organised in other ways (eg 'composite' items like multiple book chapter PDFs under a single book item are not that well supported, or multiple images of a single subject).

    Another data organization perhaps more consistent with that design - that would also link the image to its note more explicitly - would be to have each single image as a single item. That would also allow you to keep tags for individual images. The item name you have now, covering all the images under the item in your screen shot, could become a (sub) collection name, within which each single image exists under a single item. Each with a (child) item note if desired.

    You would have to test each of those schemes to see if it provides a more useful CSV output for your needs (eg for the last one, use right-click Export Collection at parent level, with View\Show Items From Subcollections set).
  • Thank you so much @tim820, that answers my question. I also considered making each image a single item, but was hoping to avoid that scenario because it is definitely less efficient when it comes to ingesting the amount of material I have. But considering the minimal capabilities of attachment notes, and what you mention about the way Zotero is designed, that may be my only option. Thanks again!
  • You might want to consider trying out Tropy, another project from Zotero's parent organization. It complements Zotero well when you're working with (/ trying to organize) lots of interconnected visual sources.
  • @AbeJellinek thank you that is a great tip!
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