More automation when dragging PDFs to Zotero

I often drag a PDF to Zotero (e.g. after receiving a file from a colleague by email). Then I routinely choose "retrieve metadata for PDF" and then "rename file from parent metadata"

This process could be streamlined by adding two options.

1) Option to always retrieve metadata for an item when it is drag and dropped onto Zotero and it would be stored as a top level item.

2) Option to always rename a PDF based on parent metadata after a PDF is dragged onto item or retrieve metadata has been used.

Setting both these options to enabled by default would also create a nice first-use experience when the only thing a new user would need to do to import his existing PDFs would be to drag these to Zotero and they would be automagically processed.
  • We've talked about #1 before. The obvious problem is the reliance on Google Scholar and the ease of getting blocked. I'm not sure we want to offer auto-retrieval unless we can do a better job of using other sources to identify the metadata (particularly since someone could easily drag a whole bunch of PDFs in at once). We could also do the retrieval in the background, perhaps with an integrated progress bar of some sort, spaced out enough that it wouldn't trigger the blocking.

    I don't know that this really needs to be an option. I think, once it's feasible, it should just be the standard behavior, possibly with an easy way to undo a particular identification for the cases where metadata retrieval gets it wrong.
  • I agree that just having automatic retrieve be standard behavior is fine. It would also take care of the not infrequent misunderstanding of people trying to cite PDFs directly.
    Some considerations:
    As mronkko has pointed out on some other thread - sorry, can't find it atm, maybe he knows where it is? - Zotero often doesn't find the DOI even when it's on the first page of the pdf and is included in the text output of a vanilla pdftotext version.
    IMHO that should be one of the first things to fix - CrossRef data is better _and_ it doesn't lock people out.

    A second step would be to see if there are other uniquely identifiable IDs that we can use - ISBN is an obvious choice and will work for many reports, there may be others.

    The third step would be to do the retrieve metadata in the background as Dan says - that sounds like quite a challenge to me, to be honest.

    As a final step, I do think Zotero should consider using the pdf file meta tags as a last fallback. I know they are bad, but when in doubt may still be better than nothing.

    Completely agree with 2.) and that seems like a quick one - it's _always_ the next thing I do after retrieve.
  • edited May 1, 2012
    Issue created for renaming automatically after metadata retrieval (and for that one, at least, I don't think it needs to be an option). It's only a potential problem if the retrieval is incorrect, but I guess 1) we count on its being correct and 2) if it's not, it's easy enough to do another rename after fixing the parent.
  • Automatically renaming files dropped on existing items seems more questionable. I'd rather not pref it, though, particularly since whether you would want it might depend on the file in question. Any other ideas? A modifier key would have zero discoverability. A popup would be annoying.
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