Select multiple items, right-click to relate them


I'm quite astonished that this doesn't work, actually.

I find the related-items quite a powerful feature, but I don't use it very often, mainly because it is cumbersome to establish links. One common situation, where it would be easily possible to speed up the linkage process, would be to add the feature to easily make selected items in the middle pane related items.

e.g. I want to simply select two (or more) items in the middle pane (either in the same folder or the results of a search), right-click on them, and have the option to "Relate items...", possibly below the entry "Merge items...".

I'm sure that this wouldn't be hard to implement, and it would make linking items so much easier.

Cheers, Matthias
  • I agree that this would be a real help. The worst part of making related items is definitely the cumbersome process to do so.

    If the user selects three or more items, should they then all be related to one another?
  • I totally agree — I also find that I use the "related" feature a lot less than I would want to, just because it is such a PITA to actually relate items.

    I saw another UI suggestion fly by some time ago, where someone suggested relating items by drag and drop (I drop A on B = I relate A to B). That would also be a very intuitive UI action. Plus it would be good for one-to-many relations (e.g. book > chapters or book > reviews), for which the multiple selection method outlined here wouldn't work.
  • There's always many roads that lead to Rome. I would actually think both ideas would make sense. My intuition is, however, that drag&drop is a major feature, as it really is a one time decision what drag&drop will do in Zotero: I can see that this will lead to endless discussion and probably only appear in 4.0.
    However, adding an entry to a context-menu (that already exists) is a lot less intrusive. And frankly, I'm sure it can be implemented with less than 30 lines of Javascript code. In other words, I was hoping that this would even make it into 3.0 final.

    Cheers, Matthias
  • Almost no chance for 3.0 final - my understanding is that the next beta, due out soon, is feature frozen.
    The advantage of drag&drop is that it mirrors tag functionality and doesn't contribute to GUI (or rather - context menu) cluttering. I think it's strongly preferable.
  • Well, the menu item would be relatively straightforward to do as a plugin, if it comes down to it.
  • A context menu item would be nice to have. Since it would establish a many-to-many relation, it would be cumbersome to undo if the user mis-keys ... some means of removing the relation from multiple items should probably be provided as a companion.

    Implementing it via a plugin in the first instance as ajlyon suggests probably makes sense; it would given you the freedom to try out different approaches to find an interface that covers the cases.
  • This seemed like a good idea so I added it to my plugin:
  • Thank you for the plugin Willshanks

    Can you undo a merge? I am new and I merged some things accidentally. Also the ability to copy tags across multiple items would be amazing.

    Ex: I have 10 items of the same subject. I want to use tags rather than just a folder. I'd be able to highlight all items and then update tags.
  • Currently in Zotero, you can select any number of items and then drag them onto a tag in the tag selector in the lower left to have that tag added to all of the items. If you want multiple tags, you have to drag the items over for each tag separately. (I submitted a patch that lets you paste multiple tags into one item, but it hasn't been added to the regular release of Zotero yet. Once it is added, you will be able to use the "copy tags to clipboard" function in my plugin to copy and paste tags across items one item at a time).

    I am not sure about undoing a merge -- I never use the merge command.
  • I LOVE U WILL lol. That was so fast I never left this page! I guess all commenters are notified by email?
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