Add child notes to standalone notes

I would like to be able to add child notes to standalone notes in the same way that I can add child notes to references.

For example, I have created separate standalone notes for many of the authors important to my research. Many times I have wanted to add a separate child note to one of these standalone author-notes, but at present this isn't possible. (Let me know if this example isn't clear.)

Is anything like this on the roadmap? Do others agree that it would be useful?

  • I don't really see the value-added against the additional complexity. If you need some structure to your notes, use section headings, lists, etc.?
  • @bdarcus, If notes could include collapsible headings or TOC or something like that, it could work, but at present adding a dozen notes about an author or subject into a single note gets unwieldy.

    (Also, isn't the basic structure already in place? Top-level notes would just have to get the capability that references already have to include children...)
  • edited March 28, 2011
    I agree, I love Zotero and I like to use it for keeping track of authors and other contacts as well as their publications. Being able to add a child note to a standalone note would make zotero into a wonderful networking tool. Being able to keep track of who is doing what research is really useful! The ability to mark 'Related' items is really good and fulfils some of the functionality I'm looking for but it's not as intuitive or as easy to navigate as having child notes would be.

    The difficulty I assume with coding this is that it would allow for circular hierarchies.

    Note 1
    -> Note 2
    -> Note 3
    -> -> Note 1
    -> -> -> Note 2
    -> -> -> Note 3
    -> -> -> -> Note 1

    Perhaps the solution would be to add a "Person" Item Type alongside the "Book", "Interview", "Document", "Journal Article", etc.
    Call the "Abstract" field "Contact" and adjust the other fields where appropriate.

    At a pinch this could be done now by using the "Interview", "Instant Message" or "Email" Item Type but it would be much more elegant to have a dedicated "Person" Type.

    Anyway, them's me thoughts. ;-)
  • If we could get the ability to add child notes to stand alone notes Zotero would then be an outliner, with really powerful bibliographical properties. We could takes notes about ideas, relate them to sources, add child notes for quotes or subsequent thoughts, and jiggle them all around to form a structure for a paper/argument.
    That would be cool - like NoteBene but friendly.
  • Whereas it's quite an "old" post, I add a comment : adding a child note to a standalone note would be really useful... at least for me (am I alone?)
    Is it something which could be implemented in Zotero or are there some technical (or any others) obstacles to this function ?
    It would make Zotero a perfect and complete tool for researchers'needs...
    Till now, I have to have folders with text documents in other place, separated from my Zotero Data.
    Anyway, still a wonderful tool.
  • I am bumping this because 12 years later and this should be a reality. If this had been implemented or were to be implemented, Zotero would be the best note-taking and referencing software on the market by far!
    If this is still of concern to anyone, I just use Zettelkasten and numerical entries and tier those like word does for an outline.
    For example:
    1 - Keyword Title/author/etc.
    1.1 (or) 1.A -
    2 -

    and so on. It automatically pops it into the correct order for me and with the tags and related options works well.
  • Here comes another belated bump.

    I am also interested in using Zotero as Zettelkasten because of its convenience. Would you feign to explain how are you handling indexing in Zotero please, @GDL13 ?

    I am considering maintaining indexes for 2 collections, namely Bibliographic Notes which contains my annotations and my notes on them, and Zettels which contains standalone notes with or without bibliographic reference.

    Using tags as a keyword index is an okay practice imho (creating another index by hand and maintaining it is not worthwhile) and using related field to connect notes makes navigation between related notes easier.
  • Note that you can use the Better Notes plugin to create links between notes.

    To see a list of all your standalone notes and navigate quickly between them, you can also create a saved search:
  • Thanks for the suggestions @mjthoroaval . I checked out Better Notes plugin before but that is not exactly what I wanted. Workspace note is not what I am looking for. I need an index to reflect the inner workings of my thought process behind making notes and relating them or ordering them under some subject or keyword. To be able to do this, I devised a alphanumeric ID system to put in the beginning of a note title, which is the first line of it. I can keep track of ID's and their reflected locations relative to each other on another standalone note with links created via Actions&Tags plugin but it doesn't make it better to see them in a birdseye view. Maybe I would tweak the advanced search option a bit to create a pseudo-collection to show their relations, but still, this is not going to cut it in terms of having a solid index.
  • edited February 23, 2024
    I also do not use the Workspace note much. At the moment, I only use it to pin the note I am currently working on.

    Here is an example of what it can look like, in the lines of the original post:

    I generate the note links from the Actions and Tags plugin:
    But this does not automatically connect the notes as Related, which can be done if you use the built-in feature to link notes to the Workspace note.

    Hopefully the note links can be integrated into Zotero at some point (with backlinks like in Evernote or Obsidian), so that you do not need to use all the other features of the Better Notes plugin to use them.
  • Thank you for the explanation. Maybe I would consider using this to embed note content in.
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