Changes to fields and item types for Zotero 5.1

  • I was going to request a type for a special issue of a journal, but I see Periodical Type is already on the list! That's great.

    What's the best I can do to cite a special issue in Zotero 2.0?
  • I created tickets for most of the things discussed on the zotero-bits github wiki:

    There are still a few open questions, so comments are welcome.
  • I am not sure if these 2 issues should be addressed with new fields or some other way.

    1. In English departments MLA and APA are both often used. Title capitalization is different - MLA (Title Case) and APA (Sentence case). Zotero does not now change title capitalization automatically. Thus however the title is entered is how it will display - which makes it impossible to use the same title entry for MLA and APA - without going in and changing the capitalization. It seems this could be handled in one of two ways: somehow change between Title Case and Sentence case automatically; or have two fields for title - one for each case.

    2. see my previous comment and discussion at
    it seemed there was some thought that this might call for a new field.
  • 1. Right-click on the title to use the very limited transformation options. You should generally use sentence case in Zotero, since styles can force title case if necessary (right?)

    2. See
  • edited January 19, 2011
    1. Zotero can in fact change title capitalization in styles. This works almost perfectly from sentence case to title case, but has lots of problems in the other direction (and there is no viable solution for that - no way Zotero can distinguish proper nouns). The solution is to save all of your items with sentence case and then have them converted to title case by the respective style (this might not be implemented in all styles requiring title case - let us know when you find an instance where it's missing). There are a number of threads on this, please find one and continue the discussion there if needed, separate fields are most certainly not going to the the solution here.

    2. Thanks for bringing that back up - I do think we need to find a solution to citing the database used. I think Rintze's suggestion of using a csl "catalog" variable makes most sense, but we haven't thought this through very much.

    Edit: so yeah, what ajlyon says - thoughts on the catalog/source issue are welcome - either here or on the wiki.
  • Thanks for the info ajlyon and adamsmith. good plan to use sentence case as default.

    Sorry to post 1. here. (FYI, MLA and MLA with URL styles are not Title Case-ing Sentence cased titles - i will try to find another place to post that.)
  • What about the archival collection type? Here are discussion and ticket:

    These are now included in library catalogs and can be imported into Zotero. It would be a great aid in research, archives need to be cited in bibliographies, and this would need to be implemented in the hierarchical item types structure anyway.
  • Okay, I'm a musicologist but not a librarian (I'll contact a librarian for input), but here's the big difference: a music score is basically a book, for item type, but instead of "author" there needs to be a "composer" field. The other features of the "book" item are useful (such as publisher, editor, etc, etc.), but other useful features would be something like "orchestration" or "parts" and then maybe a work index number, such as "opus" (but not all composers use opus numbers, so that could just be part of the title.

    I imagine just modeling it on book, adding the tweak of a composer field, and we'd be in good shape... but more when I hear back from a librarian!

  • Another field, for opera "musical scores" would be "librettist" (so instead of author, we'd need "composer" and "librettist" to be added). That makes me realize that also "lyricist" or "words by" or "text by" might make sense too.
  • edited January 27, 2011
    asallen - that sounds reasonable, thanks for the input - could you provide some examples of how various such works (I guess an opera, a lied, an orchestral score, and maybe an arranged piece would cover most usage cases) would would be cited in a style common in musicology?
    edit: and please just use actual works (i.e. Schubert, Franz. Winterreise...) rather than abstractions (Composerlastname, Firstname. Lied) - much easier to understand an actual citation.
  • I am not sure this is the right place but I would like to see an item type related functionality in 2.1.

    In a typical scholarly article several sources that are under different item types are cited. While using "insert bibliography" button it would be great to have the "option" of auto-grouping based on item type. Thus, each resource will be listed alphabetically under the item type heading which it belongs to.
  • not going to happen in 2.1 and a good deal more complex, but it's something that's on the radar and will come eventually.
  • "it is important to remember that item types in Zotero are best understood as a set of fields and a set of ways they tend to be styled."

    I would prefer if item types were best understood as a way of classifying citations, which is at least part of what we use them for. In short, I'd like to see working paper as an option, regardless of how identical its required fields may be to some of the other formats. Working paper is a very widely used term and implies a paper in progress, which is not aptly reflected by classifying it as a 'manuscript' or 'conference paper'.

    If the overlap is problematic for some people, it folds right into my related suggestion, which is to allow users (via the preferences menu) to select the various classifications they would like to see available in the drop down menu. Many of us see at least a couple options we know we'll never use, and being able to keep the list tidy would speed up work flow and improve consistency for the end user. At the bottom of the list could be an option to 'Add more citation types' which would open up the aforementioned options menu.

    Sorry for the slightly off-topic feature request, but since it ties into argument for the working paper classification, I hope it's fair to include it here.
  • The point is that Zotero offers you numerous other ways to "classify" items - tags and collections most notably. The former will eventually include some version of a visual component.

    Creating more and more item types that won't export to other citation managers and won't be reflected in what's possible to adjust in citation styles is, I believe (and, I gather, the developers believe), not a good idea.

    The other feature request is a quite separate GUI request - sounds good to me, but I don't know how hard a more customizable GUI would be to write.
  • edited January 28, 2011
    @canarik and jgeorgia,

    To classify all your items, there are tags and connexions as adamsmith mentionned. You may also want to create folder and sub-folders depending on document real type, and so on.
    However there is something more when it comes to produce a bibliography organised by sources types, examples...

    1. Jurisprudence
    2. Legislation
    3. etc.

    I simply use a tag for every type of classification, "4- Articles" which is put on scientific papers, law review or case law chronicles, or "6- Gouvernmental papers" for reports, conference, etc.
    Then, I research within Zotero and use the tag as a criteria.
    So I end up with as many research-report as categories I need and simply "extract bibliograhpy" from these items afterward. Then again, it might be annoying to this when you use only 10-20 documents, but as I use 100-150, it's more than usefull.


    As a general question, is there a place to check on metadata? (Some sort of "CSL Metadate Field Index" like this old one: )
    I'm trying to find out if "session" is going to be there for legislation and such.
  • My librarian friend is not a cataloger, so she's getting in touch with someone who's got better details.

    Here are a few examples from one the main journals in musicology, the Journal of the American Musicological Society:

    Igor Stravinsky, _The Rite of Spring: Sketches 1911-13_, edited and with commentaries by Robert Craft (London: Faber and Faber, 1969).

    Igor Stravinsky, _"Petrushka" and "The Rite of Spring" for Piano Four Hands or Two Pianos_ (Mineloa, N.Y.: Dover, 1990).

    And here are a few examples from the bibliography of Susan Youens, _Retracing a Winter's Journey: Schubert's Winterreise_ (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991). All brackets and details are as printed in the book.

    Schubert, Franz. [Autograph manuscript] "Winterreise von Wilh. Mueller." Part I. 21 folios. [Dated at the beginning] "Febr. 1827 Frz. Schubert mpia [manu propria]." In the Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City.

    Schubert, Franz. [Engraver's fair copy] "Winterreise / von Wilh. Mueller / in Musik gesetzt / von / Franz Schubert / A[nn]o 1827." Part I. 32 folios. In the Vienna Stadt- und Landesbibliothek, Musiksammlung, MH 5391/c.

    Schubert, Franz. _Neue Ausgabe saemtlicher Werke_. 4th ser.: Lieder. Vols. 4a and 4b, 242-5, 260-78. Ed. Walther Duerr. Kassel: Baerenreiter, 1979.

    And I'll provide some more specifics when I get them. Thanks!
  • @Philippe_T There has been some discussion of adding support for splitting biographies by type. In other fields, people sometimes need to separately list published and unpublished literature, primary and secondary literature, or literature by language of publication. When solution to this comes, it will hopefully cover your case as well.

    The site you mention is the best place to look for information on Zotero/CSL mappings and for the fields in each Zotero type. It is correct and not out of date.
  • @ajlyon Thanks for your answer about the web-site and the other point as well. ^_^
    Yeah, I basicly need 9 to 12 different types too, sometime a pain to organise... but as I always say... it's better than handwritten stuff or a list within a simple doc. So far, "research" been usefull to organise the type of docs... but yeah, if something else comes out, joy!
  • Bill, legislation/statute and case law could have "publisher-place" / "place"
    Bill, legislation/statute and case law could have "report-year" as well, if possible

    Those very often have to be link to a State, province, region and a container (report) which has its own edition information, but which are currently not fully present, as I point out.

    As regards to "book/article/law/jurisprudence review, an additionnal fields, mapping to something similar like for "book chapter" could be used...

    Zotero label -> Zotero fieldname -> CSL fieldname
    Title -> Title -> Title
    Book title -> bookTitle -> container-title

    And as ajlyon mentioned, "reviewedAuthor" already exist, so we would simply need a map.
  • Add field for itemtype Forum Post. Forum Post and Blog Post actually seem rather specific compared with the other more generic types. It would thus seem more appropriate to devise a generic Post type of item to me rather than current state where neither has the fields I need. However, with the current Forum Post one key missing field is Message Number and Creator Email. In some postings the best way to retrieve the post is the message number so this is the most important. Example in the GenForum postings each posting numbered. Could Message Number be added? Or a more generic posting item be created with more fields that spanned Forum Post, Blog Post with all likely fields? Thanks!
  • Document is missing these fields: Place and Series
  • again, not sure if this is appropriate here.

    I just entered a title of a book section item that included strikethrough text. I entered it as:

    Reading <strike>hypertext</strike> new media: Proposing a methodology of emergence

    The title field is text only - which makes total sense in 99.99% of cases. I am wondering if it would make sense to allow or accommodate somehow situations like this in the title field. (or any other fields?) Perhaps allow (and then translate when pasting the bibliography into Word) certain tags - not sure what would be needed other than strikethrough.

    Of course, this is no big deal as the number of titles it represents is so small. Just wondering.
  • wrong thread, but yes, that's clearly an important feature (a lot of disciplines require italics e.g. for animal names or cited book titles in the title) the beta version allows some mark-up/ rich text in the title field - not sure if strike will work, but <i> </i> and <sub>/ <sup> definitely will.
  • ...and what about my last post and Ketchell's ones?

  • Bill, legislation/statute and case law could have "publisher-place" / "place"
    Bill, legislation/statute and case law could have "report-year" as well, if possible
    Are the places here for the place of publication of codices and compilations of case law? Or are they the place where the legislation was passed or case decided? How does report-year differ from Date Decided / Date?

    Maybe Frank (fbennett) can contribute here as well-- he's the resident legal CSL expert.
    [..] Or a more generic posting item be created with more fields that spanned Forum Post, Blog Post with all likely fields?
    It would be nice to go back and restructure these types-- there are certainly more types than are needed. But it's nearly impossible to merge types now; this situation serves as a reminder that we have to be careful now as we explore making new types and adding new fields.

    As for your concrete requests, is the message number not part of the URL? Usually it can be specified as part of the URL. We'd also like to see examples of how the field would be used in citations (preferably with reference to style guides) before making it a separate field.

    Creator E-mail, like author affiliation and address, might some day come to Zotero as part of a plugin or expanded core support for creator/agent metadata. But not now-- that's a whole new kind of data.
  • Document is missing these fields: Place and Series
    Some people would like to add all fields to the Document item type. I don't know if that will happen for Zotero 2.1, but some kind of number and place seem pretty reasonable.
  • @ ajlyon
    Your questions:
    1- Are the places here for the place of publication of codices and compilations of case law? Or are they the place where the legislation was passed or case decided?

    2- How does report-year differ from Date Decided / Date?

    My answers:
    1- Places where the legislation was passed or case decided - yes. In fact, the place of publication of codices and compilations is suppose to be the same as the place where the legislation was passed. (Except when you deal with some very specific international material, but then there is other items types.) So actually, the only thing that is needed is a "place", whatever it stands for. For that geographic indication... we could also use the "extra" field, but it's already used for report-year or other information.

    2- "report-year" because usually the compilation of case law are within a book/report/collection/binder/something. e.g. case law/jurisprudence from 2005 to 2009 are in one single book/collection of case laws and the compilation itself was published in 2010.

    Does it make sense to you? ^_^

    On a side note... If it would be only me, I would only put the year of the decision, but some styles do require the container date (Canadian uniform legal style, the most use through all Canada courts, university, law faculty), which may differ from the decision date.
  • There is one thing that my field requires that zotero cannot currently accommodate: many titles that I use include not only items in italics (as mentioned above) but frequently items in languages that do not use roman alphabets. Specifically, many items that I cite have words in Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Akkadian, Cyrillic, Coptic, and a few others. I have fonts on my computer that can handle all of these non-standard alphabets, but I need the ability to write in different fonts in the title area in order to use them. Making this a possibility will determine how useful 2.1 is to me.

    Nathan Lamontagne
  • 1.
    2. You can already use non-roman letters in Zotero fields: Zotero is fully UTF-8 compliant. You can also mix roman and non-roman letters.
  • I did not know that - it is excellent, but in truth, it does not solve my problem. The fonts that I am typically required to use are not UTF compliant - although this is changing, it is changing slowly, and many journals still use legacy fonts from Scholars Press, which among other things requires me to write Hebrew left to right (which is backward, for that language). The SP fonts are simply alternate "font types" for the English language, which means that I use them like English fonts.

    Is it possible in the new version to allow for font formatting in fields? As far as I can tell, that would be the best solution to MY problem, though I doubt that many other people have the same problem.
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