Tags, multiple libraries, and how to handle tag deletions

Currently the client interface does not differentiate tags in the local library from tags in the group library. I learned this the hard way by deleting a tag from the group library and finding that it was also gone in my local library.

But I did not do so lightly. Before deleting the tag I clicked on it, making sure I was in the group library; and sure enough, only the items with that tag in the group library were displayed. This led me (and will no doubt lead others) to believe that the tag was specific to the group library and could be safely deleted.

It gets worse. I happen to have another copy of the same items in another group library. The tag still exists there. So the following defective round-trip is currently possible:
1. Copy items to a group, let's call it A. This always includes tags, even though, as I have argued, tags, like notes, are often personal and there should be an option to leave them alone.
2. Now copy items from group A to group B. Again, all tags will be included.
3. Now click on a tag while in group B. Only items from group B are displayed, leading you to believe this is a group B-specific tag. Right-click on the tag, select "Delete tag...". The tag is gone. Not just gone in group library B, but also in the local library!
4. Confusingly however, the tag still exists in group library A. (Why is that? And is that instance now cut loose from the local library? What then linked the same tag in group B to the local version?)

I think I can reason out myself why this works the way it does currently (it has to do with group items have some information linking them to items in a local library but not to items in other groups), but I think it is clear that this shouldn't work like this.

1. Make copying of tags across libraries (local-group, group-group) optional.

2. In the tag pane, visually distinguish tags from local libraries and tags from group libraries.

3. More thinking is needed to figure out how to visually represent tags that are similar locally and in the group. But a deletion in the group should never automatically and without warning delete the local tag!

4. When a user deletes a tag that exists both in the group and locally, provide at least the following options: "This tag exists in multiple libraries of which you are a member. A. Delete tag from this library only. B. Delete tag from all libraries."
  • That's just a bug. It shouldn't happen.
  • Does that mean that tags actually are group-specific? Then proposal #2 seems to be even more important.
  • Yes, they are. Tags from other libraries just currently show up in autocomplete. If you select one, a new tag is created in the current library.
  • So can we get such tags to not show up in autocomplete, or at least be visually differentiated from local tags?
  • I have a similar problem,
    using 3.0rc1 and working on several projects in several groups, tagging of items becomes, thanks to autocomplete, a little messy.

    In short: I do not want autocomplete to show me tags of the other grouplibraries.

    Is there a way to seperate the tag data of group libraries?
  • edited January 26, 2012
    Yeah, my initial formulation was a bit confused but essentially that is the problem that remains, and that is still bothering me too. We need a way to separate tag data of group libraries.

    And relatedly, I really really want a way to ensure that my tags (essentially a private taxonomy) are not copied over to a group library, just like the currently existing options for not copying over files and notes. Tags can be personal, give us the ultimate control over them.
  • Right-click on the tag, select "Delete tag...". The tag is gone. Not just gone in group library B, but also in the local library!
    Fixed. (The code that did this predated the addition of group libraries.)
  • Also, just to clarify, this only went one way: from a group library to the personal library. That's also why Group Library A was unaffected.
  • I also fixed a similar problem with renaming.

    Both fixes will be in 3.0.8.
  • edited June 15, 2012
    Can I draw your attention again though to the dubious "feature" that caused this in the first place: the fact that there is still no option to disable the automatic copying of tags to group libraries? I can understand why you'd maybe want to copy them by default (for clever data mining, autusuggesting related sources, making Zotero more social, etc.) but really we should have an option to turn this off.
Sign In or Register to comment.