Working with Academic PDFS using zotero-zotfile-zandy and a laptop and Android reader

Any other academics trying to use Zotero/ Zotfile/ and Zandy in conjunction with reading PDF articles organized by these on both a PC computer and Android Reader? If so, does anyone have a ‘best practice’ that makes this efficient, organized, and cheap (being a poor student)?

My research workflow is as follows: (Questions inserted..)

1) With Firefox, I download relevant academic PDFs and store them by subject matter in windows folders on my laptop (PC).
2) I use Zotero –“Create New Item” and “Retrieve Metadata for PDF” in order to catalogue the new PDF. I run in Background Mode typically and so I keep two copies of every PDF on my PC, one in the subject matter folder and one that is filed by Zotero also on my laptop.
3) Because I am interested in viewing the PDF files also on my Android Reader (a rooted Sony PRS-T1, which has a micro SD card slot), I have explored what Zotfile and Zandy offers.

as I understand it …
With Zandy, I can view Zotero bibliographic information for all of my PDF files
online with the Android Reader and this only requires a small amount of Zotero storage (for this purpose , the 100 MB free storage is typically enough).

BUT, since my interest is to be able to view the PDF files on my Android Reader as well, are there alternative methods that do not require uploading the PDF to Zotero Storage?? I would like to store the PDFs (via Zotero/ Zotfile) on a micro-SD card and swap this between my laptop and the Android Reader (where I would view them using Zandy). Has anyone else tried this? {I know about the risks of using a micro-SD only and the need to make frequent backup copies, but I am still interested}
My effort in this regard has been as follows:
Using Zotfile Reader, I run the command “Send Files to the (Zotfile) Reader”, which I redirect using Zotfile Preferences to the micro SD card. When I swap the micro SD card to the Android Reader, it can find all of the documents. One annoyance is that if the PDF files has “Title” metadata, this is the default used in the Android reader library rather than the “filename” for naming files in the library. is there a way to change the title metadata in batch mode? also, on the android reader, I would like to be able to have Zandy find the linked files on the micro SD card, but this does not seem possible yet. can zandy find the file location?. Thank you for any comments, thoughts..
  • First, the bibliographic metadata that Zotero syncs is unlimited -- the 100MB of free space is specifically for attachments. The metadata for libraries is synced free without limitations.

    If you can set up WebDAV storage for your attachments, Zandy will be able to access them for reading on the go. Zotfile gives you an option to move them to and from the reader without requiring Zotero File Storage or WebDAV, but, as you note, Zandy doesn't yet know how to find the right file for a given attachment when transferred in that way.

    So right now you can use Zandy or Zotfile, but not both. If Zotfile can rename items to include their eight-character alphanumeric key, then I suppose I could add a feature to Zandy to scan for such files.

    [I'm the developer of Zandy.]
  • I've added the scanning to the issue tracker for Zandy (, but it looks like Zotfile would need to add support for including the attachment key in the filename to make this work.
  • Very grateful for your reply, and the creation and development of Zandy (and thanks for getting it on Amazon MP because my device was not supported by Android MP). webDAV/cloud at my institution would be an option, but the interface I have access to does not support my windows 64-bit computer.
    I would truly welcome the 'file scanning' feature you describe within Zandy. Zotfile, with its extensive set of renaming rules/ scripts, so far does not appear to support the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). When I retrieve PDFs from academic journals, almost all {exceptions mostly are non-OCR scans) have an embedded DOI intact, so what you describe would be a welcomed option.
  • I don't actually need the DOI in the filenames, but rather the eight-character key (like ABCD1234) that Zotero uses internally. I'll see if Joscha can add that in a future release.

    As for WebDAV, Zotero's WebDAV support should work equally well on 32-bit and 64-bit computers, even if your institution's WebDAV client doesn't. Try it out.
  • Note: Zandy's WebDAV support is in Zandy 1.2 and later, but the version currently available from Amazon's app store is 1.1.3, so you will need to wait for the latest version to be approved by Amazon before you can try out that feature.
  • Very helpful on both points! Thanks!!
  • I recently started using Zandy on my Kindle Fire in conjunction with Zotero. So far it's worked great to see my collections, access notes, bibliographic information, etc. However, I am unable to open any .pdf attachments to my Zotero files through Zandy. When I click the .pdf attachment, a blip comes up saying it's being downloaded, but it never shows up in my downloads.

    Any ideas?
  • matsonae's question about Kindle Fire PDF +1.
  • Are you using WebDAV or ZFS for attachment storage?

    Also, Zandy-specific questions can be directed to to reduce confusion here on the main Zotero forums, since it's not a Zotero-sponsored CHNM product. But I'm happy to respond to questions in both places.
  • Thanks, I've moved the discussion there:
  • Hi there,
    It seem there are a few (unsuccessful?) options for accessing pdfs and a Zotero library on Andriod tablets. Can anyone verify a working solution to both (preferably free)?
    1) not free: pay for Zotero attachment syncing, install Zandy on Android
    2) not free: 3rd-party sync service (DropBox, WebDAV, others?), and configure Zotfile to send to the sync folder on PC-side, plus configure Zandy to receive attachments from the Android version of the 3rd-party sync folder.
    3) free: manually connect tablet to computer, use Zotfile to send pdfs to tablet... if the folder naming structures (beyond the base/root folder) are the same on PC and on Tablet, will Zandy recognize the attachment?
    4) has Zandy been updated to search for the Zotfile 8-alphanumeric code of the attachments, and has Zotfile been updated to send this along?
    5) buy a windows 7 tablet

  • Regarding 3: No, Zandy will not recognize the file if using Zotfile to send it. And regarding 4, I don't believe either has been updated.

    I'm sitting down today to do some long-overdue work on Zandy, but I don't know how soon a new feature of this sort might be in coming.
  • 6) Buy an iPad and use ZotPad. Version 1.1 will be released in a week or two and will support 1, 2, and 3 (with iTunes).

  • 7) (free) If Android == Linux, then can't one just i) root the Android, ii) install Firefox + Zotero Plugin + Zotfile, iii) copy over all the pdf's and their file structure, iv) configure the tablet's zotfile to access the base folder of the pdfs. ???

    Or, more generally, if Andriod==Linux, then the question of syncing between tablet and PC is just the same question as is going on in other forums about sycing between two computers.
  • 7 does not work. Firefox for Android and Firefox are not the same, but different products.

    (Like Safari on Mac and iPad are different, and IE on Windows Phone and Windows PC are different.)
  • @mronkko
    7 does not work. Firefox for Android and Firefox are not the same, but different products.
    Yeah, I know. But, with superuser ("rooting") access, others seem to have enabled the usual firefox + zotero on Androids (which are just some sort of debian Linux). e.g.,
  • As far as I know, Android is not based on Debian in anyway. They both use a version of the linux kernel and have some libraries in common.

    You can of course install a desktop operating system (e.g. Debian or Ubuntu) on the Android tablet and then install Firefox and Zotero. Or you can run another operating system in a virtual machine. I have not seen a live installation of this, but the performance is unlikely to be good. Also, you would be using an user interface that has been designed for mouse, not a tablet interface.
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