Missing library

I am going to need your patience here, as the description is a bit long. The background is that I upgraded to version 2 a couple of weeks ago. I had just synced my collection to the Internet when my laptop started showing signs of giving up the ghost. I thought this was great timing! I transferred all my stuff to a spare PC and a bit later bought a new laptop. I then installed Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. As you can imagine, this was a fairly chaotic time, and I am only now getting to the point where I can start using the new laptop properly. So I just checked Zotero to make sure everything was ok. And it wasn't. Not only did I have duplicated entries (which I can live with and know how that happened), but I had two libraries in my collection and now there is only one (which is more dramatic!). The libraries relate to my Masters dissertation programme, which is in one location on my hard drive, and subsequent material, which is in a different location.

I should also add that the drive letters have changed in the move to the new laptop.

I have done the following:
Checked my library online - it is the same as on the computer.
Downgraded to version 1
Used the zotero.sqllite file from before the upgrade - this had no duplicates, logically, but also not the missing library.
I have found a file named "Meine Bibliothek.rdf" ("My library" in German) where the files are stored for my dissertation, and another one with the same name in the directory where I (thought I) had the zotero.sqllite file for my Zotero database.These appear to be the only copies on the system.

I am not aware of ever having deleted directories with Zotero data in them, so I wonder if the problem lies somewhere between the change of drive letters and these two "Meine Bibliothek" files. Does anybody have any ideas on how to get back the data that appears to have been lost. The underlying documents are still there, it is the records in Zotero that have vanished.

Thanks in advance.
  • OK - to recapitulate - you had two separate Zotero data directories, right?
    On different locations on your hard-drive?
    One of them is still fine, the other one is missing/doesn't work?

    As a general rule, Zotero never deletes the zotero.sqlite, not even when it's uninstalled.
    Also, something that's confusing me - if you had two _libraries_ you would have had to have two zotero.sqlites - one database can only ever have one library in Zotero.
    Or maybe you mean "collections?"
    You need to be clear here in terminology - if need be use the German terms - some of us speak Germans and the developers usually know (or can look up) the translation from the language files.
  • Thanks for the response. I am looking at Zotero as I type, and at the top it says collections. Underneath it says my library. Obviously I don't have two of whatever it is now to check with, but I concluded from how the window is set up that Collection was the higher level of Library. What I had was one container with two sub-divisions - dissertation and non-dissertation. Each of these was in a different location on the drive. By that I mean that the files they referred to were at different locations. How Zotero deals with that, I don't know. I guess I always assumed that there was a central database and that included a reference to each individual item.

    Does that make sense?

  • OK - in Zotero you have one library.
    In each library, you can have several collections.
    Collections are _not_ like folders.
    Every item that is in a collection is also in "My Library". The same item can be in several collections (this is modeled e.g. after playlists in itunes or collections in gmail).
    It sounds like you had a library with two collections.

    I'm a little confused by what you say about "Collections" above "Library" - at least in 2.0 that's not the case. Could you maybe post a screenshot?

    My suspicion is that you exported and imported the library using the RDF format - (thus the "Meine Bibliothek.rdf"
    that format is not for transporting libraries and one of the things it will lose is information on collections. So if during the upgrade you exported your Zotero library as RDF and imported it back you'd get what you see.
    If you still have your old zotero.sqlite, you'll be able to restore this - although I wouldn't be optimistic about the links to your pdfs, if the name of the harddisks (and thus the file path) has changed.
  • Can't see how to post a screenshot, but it isn't that important, and I was looking at version 1 at the time. I transferred the whole data directory to the new computer, not the rdf file. Then there would have been a sync, thus explaining the duplicates. As I wrote before, the original sqlite file from before the upgrade is available, but that is also not showing the data.

    I have just looked at Zotero again. I was thinking in the first post that My Library was the dissertation one and the other one was missing. In fact, If I remember correctly, I have one library and multiple collections, one of which was the non-dissertation collection. So, I am seeing the collections that related to the dissertation, which were all in one location, but the one collection that had its files in a different location is missing. However, it gets better, because when I click into the collections, most of the entries are missing as well. Sorry about that confusion. My mind is clearly addled from the hassle of converting to a new OS and to 64-bit.

    I'm not too worried about the links to documents. It's tedious but I can do that manually. But getting back the actual content in Zotero would be good :-) But it looks like the information was lost before the upgrade.

  • check database integrity in the advanced tab of the preferences.
    This is all a bit weird - stuff doesn't just disappear from a database.
    Could you have copied the wrong data directory with an old sqlite?
    Syncing wouldn't explain duplicates, no, that's the whole point of it.

    Maybe someone else has more ideas, I'm at a bit of a loss here.
  • Appreciate your input anyway. There is another discussion in the forums which suggests that syncing does cause duplicates if you transfer the database manually to a second computer and then sync, rather than syncing first, but that is another, lesser issue.

    As to the idea of using the wrong directory, that is certainly a possibility I will follow up. I think I need to sit back and simply find every example of zotero.sqlite on both computers and see if one comes up trumps. I fear the worst though. I did check integrity before upgrading though.

  • As a followup to the last post, I imported the two library files into Zotero and seem to have got most if not all of the data back, albeit not in the collections. That's at least something. Presumably I will have to reestablish the links to the files.

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