Sync zotero library (not files) to external WebDAV server?

My only concern about using Zotero is that should this site ever disappear, all my references will no longer be backed up. Is there any possibility for allowing the Zotero library to be synced to external WebDAV servers like attached files can be?

  • edited September 3, 2010
    Hi Few,

    Before the Zotero File Sync option existed to sync libraries and files and such, Zotero users used a number of WebDAV services to sync their attached files, etc. I still sync mine with Jungle Disk, although many other possibilities exist. If you search the forums, I think you'll find all sorts of discussions about WebDAV servers and services that can be used to sync your library.

    My understanding is that Zotero is backed by a number of groups that have keen interest in its future existence. I don't think it will be disappearing anytime soon.

    Hope that helps.

  • Hi Lisa,

    I think my original question wasn't clear. I know that WebDAV syncs the attached files.

    However, the reference library itself is mirrored by the zotero servers only (am I wrong?).

  • I don't quite understand your concern. If somehow disappeared (which certainly isn't happening anytime soon), you would still have all your data locally. But syncing isn't a replacement for a regular backup regimen anyway. If catastrophe strikes, yes, you can restore from the Zotero server, but that doesn't help you if, say, you accidentally delete many items and then sync those deletions to the server (assuming you don't have another synced computer).

    If you want to back up your Zotero database, do a proper back up of the Zotero data directory to an external hard drive, an online backup service, etc., as you would any other important data on your system. There's nothing special about the Zotero database in this regard.
  • In the zotero preferences, we can't switch from mirroring the library at to another server of choice. I can see why it has been structured as it has- the groups feature is reliant on zotero servers for authentication.

    However, should the zotero servers disappear (within the span of my career - a substantial possibility), a lot of functionality will cease to function. This isn't a huge issue at the moment, but as time passes, my reference library will represent a very significant time investment on my part, and it would be painful to re-migrate the data to another service. In this way, tying zotero to specific servers adds a substantial amount of risk on the user's behalf.

    Hence my question: Is there any possibility for allowing the Zotero library to be synced to external WebDAV servers like attached files can be?

    It's not meant to be an offensive question, and it doesn't have to do with external backup- though it could handle backup automatically as well (my WebDAV server is a RAID-arrayed and mirrored system).
  • No, syncing to WebDAV isn't possible—WebDAV is a simple file store with none of the advanced functionality provided by the Zotero servers.

    But the Zotero data server code is open source. If CHNM/GMU (which, bear in mind, is a major research university) for some reason stopped running, another person/institution/organization could provide a similar service and continue development.
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