Linking to Zotero items via zotero://select

I would like to be able to link directly to Zotero items from other items' notes and from external HTML pages. Some digging in the forums shows this is a popular request. To summarize what I learned from numerous discussion threads [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] and my own experimentation:

  1. Generating a report for an item opens a page with a URL like zotero://report/items/0_USN95MJC/html/report.html. Here the identifier 0_USN95MJC refers to the item.

  2. An item ID can be used in conjunction with the zotero:// protocol handler in Firefox: for example, if I enter zotero://select/items/0_USN95MJC in the URL bar, the corresponding item will become selected in the Zotero pane. For me, at least, the current behavior has shortcomings:
    • If Zotero is not already open, it will be opened and given focus but no item will be selected.
      If the Zotero pane/tab is already open, it will not receive focus, though the item will be correctly selected; and if the requested item is not already in the active list of items, the current search/filtering will be cleared to reveal it. Annoyingly, the lack of focus means there is no feedback to the user if the select URL is entered while Zotero is open in a background tab.
      If the entered zotero:// URL is invalid, nothing happens.

    • The select links do not work from a (local) HTML page.

    • The select links do not work from notes in Zotero. (When I copy the link from an HTML page to the TinyMCE editor, the href attribute is discarded. Explicitly adding the href back makes the link blue, but clicking it has no effect. cf. this thread)

    • There is no way (that I know of) to select multiple items at once.

    • This does not seem to work for collections.

  3. To avoid having to edit an item URL by hand, this translator can be installed (to the translators directory; requires browser restart) and invoked via "Export Selected Item" or Quick Copy.
Aside from forum discussions, I have not been able to find any documentation of the zotero://select feature. If someone is able to make it more usable, I'd greatly appreciate it.

As has been noted in the discussions, zotero:// links can also refer to individual attachments: selecting "Open in Internal Viewer" for an attachment opens it via a URL like zotero://attachment/1937/.

FWIW, I am using Firefox 13.0.1 and Zotero 3.0.8 on Mac OS X 10.6.8. (I have Zotero Standalone installed as well but rarely use it.)
  • Thank you very much for posting this summary. Has anything happened on this front over the last two years since your post?
  • I'm pretty sure this
    The select links do not work from notes in Zotero.
    has been fixed and should work now.
  • Yes, that is true, the select links do now work from notes in Zotero. I am using them in the standalone Zotero. However besides the desired efect of focusing on the linked reference, they also have the undesired effect of opening an empty window. That is not a big problem as one can simply close that unwanted window.
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