Exporting to other software (e.g., Tinderbox) by adding own exporter?

I need to get out from Zotero (export) citation info (w abstract) + tags + notes + related. Essentially, I want to be able to export this info for the whole bunch of citations and so I prefer to automate the process. I want then to import them into other software as structured (marked up) text (e.g., Curio, or Tinderbox - in the latter case the relationships could be used to generate a map view). Each item would then be managed in that new application separately, but with keeping existing links etc. between the items. I have looked into using Zotero report - but I do not see any way to save it (other than by copy and paste). It may be easier to write my own exporter. But wanted to check if anything like that already existed? and hear if anybody has any suggestions.
Thanks - Jacek
  • 1. You said you're using Firefox, correct? Reports are html, you can just save them using Save Page As.. (ctrl+s/cmd+s) in Firefox.
    2. I don't know anything about Curio or Tinderbox, but ideally you'd want a more structured data format for export/import, no? Zotero exports into a lot of different formats (right click --> export selected items) - they can't read any one of those? But beyond those, nothing exists, no.
  • Re 2. Almost all exiting export formats are bibliography formats (except perhaps the simple Evernote export). The software mentioned by me may be able to read some basic info from the existing exports, but not the more specialized fields / links etc. It looks like I should write something customized for my needs.
  • BTW, there is quite a bit recent discussions on that topic in Tinderbox forums: http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/forum//YaBB.pl?num=1341079170
  • WRT to that discussion - you can select in which format Zotero uses for drag and drop under Export--> Default Output. That includes bibtex mentioned in that thread.
    Writing a csv exporter in js wouldn't be terribly hard, but as mentioned in the thread, it involves a lot of trade-offs and how you want it to look depends on what you want to use it for, which is why Zotero doesn't have one (yet).
  • Also, given the context of that discussion: it may be better to add import to tinderbox (so that TB users can take advantage of data from other reference managers). Writing new Zotero exporters is certainly possible, but I don't see any preferred method of getting bibliographic data into TB at the moment.
  • I do not think TB is open, so that a user could contribute an importer. Also, different reference managers can have quite different formats, I mean for not standard items, like notes and links.
  • Thinking about a translator for a TB (or similar) export, I am looking for documentation on Zotero records and field names (objects and their attribute names), but cannot find it. Is it listed/described somewhere?

    I guess, some of them may be following CSL standard. But, how could one export a link to the attachment file in the local file system?

  • export translators aren't super well documented. For field names, see here:
    for those not listed (like tags, links, notes), you're best of looking at existing export translators.
    Also, different reference managers can have quite different formats, I mean for not standard items, like notes and links.
    RIS and bibtex have (more or less) standardized fields for that - annote and N1 for notes. Links are less standard, but usually file in bibtex and L1 in RIS.
  • So if I want to experiment with creating an exporter, what's the recommended way to start for somebody new at this? Should I start by using Scaffold? Does Zotero recognize automatically new translators placed in its translators” subdirectory without the need to be restarted?

  • Scaffold doesn't support export translators (or rather: you can write them in scaffold and it produces the header, but there are no testing functions like for import and web translators).

    The best way to go would probably be to look at some of the existing export translators - unfortunately none of them are super simple, but I think RIS or Refer aren't crazy complicated.
    I think the only pure export translator is TEI so that might be worth a look, too.

    I'm pretty sure that you will need to restart Zotero before it recognizes a new translator, but you only need to do that once - changes to existing translators - including custom translators - take effect immediately.
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