Multi-computer and multi-cataloger use

Just started using zotero today. Looks great! But have already run into my first problem screaming out for a feature.

I spent the morning at home on my laptop building a bibliography. This afternoon I am at my office working on a different project. I've just realized I am starting up two different library collections on two different computers. I'd love to have one library I can access from anywhere. I've adopted as my bookmark system primarily for this benefit. It is key to me using most any software as I have three regular computers I move among.

Related: I do my research as part of a team. Allowing the full team to share a single library would be a godsend.
  • We will be providing a way to synchronize collections between computers and to share collections in a group in 2007. We're also working on an easy way to synch parts of Zotero collections (i.e., links) with and other web services.
  • I have a workaround for this problem that I use right now (though this should not mean that future versions shouldn't address this). I use Foldershare to sync the Zotero folder on the two computers I regularly use - my desktop and laptop. As long as the database stays in synch - via Foldershare, the references available on the two computers are identical. I've used this workaround since I first started using Zotero about 4 months ago (when it was announced on Slashdot) and it has worked fine for me. Of course, this is a Windows only workaround.
  • @rcragun:
    While the Foldershare-solution (I use pathsync btw) may be Windows only there are lots of similar sync tools available for *nix systems too. I wonder if it would be possible to use Zotero in combination with a CVS -- as this would also allow group collaboration, as requested by dmittleman. Unfortunately I'm not geeky enough to assess the effort such a solution would require and therefore wait patiently for the Zotero-way to synching and sharing :-)
  • I agree that group functionality is an extremely key feature - for me that's the highest priority of {group, sync, interaction with other products}.

  • dmittleman, as a temporary workaround for synching your data, you can transfer your Zotero library from one machine to another on a USB drive. Please see the Zotero FAQ:

    How can I access my library from multiple computers? Can I store my Zotero library and associated files on an external drive?
  • And why not synch Zotero with connotea and/or CiteULike ?
  • Synching Zotero with Connotea will be possible with a utility we are working on in the Zotero labs. CiteULike can import from BibTeX (which Zotero can export to), but unlike Connotea, CiteULike doesn't have an API (unless I'm mistaken; please let me know if I'm wrong about that) so building a synch utility is impossible (though you can still use the manual method via BibTeX).
  • I am just getting started with FolderShare approach but for me I can't see how it can work. If I have firefox open on both computers, adding a reference to Zetoro lib on one of them generates the message box "FolderShare was unable to open ..... Please close the file if you have it open..." on the other. This seems to happen even if the browser on the second machine is freshly opened and no bibliographic stuff has happened.
    It seems as if Zotero opens the library when the browser opens and keeps it open until the browser closes. Is this the case?
    If Zotero opened the database when it needed to make an update and then released it when the update was complete the FolderShare approach would work fine, with just the odd "Retry" needed if FolderShare and Zotero tried to write at the same time. If there was a way to get Zotero to close the db without closing the browser that would also help a lot.
    An comments or hints would be appreciated, thanks!
  • If there was a way to get Zotero to close the db without closing the browser that would also help a lot.
    There's not. mozStorage doesn't have a DB close method, and even if it did, I doubt we'd use it between operations. Among other things, Zotero caches info from the database at first access to improve performance, and if the underlying storage changed, all sorts of problems could arise.

    Even on platforms that don't lock the DB, like OS X, this would be a pretty good way of corrupting the database.

    Close Firefox first.
  • Thanks Dan,

    The other Dan said :
    >>>We will be providing a way to synchronize collections between computers and to share collections in a group in 2007

    So I'll try closing/opening the browser until this comes out, any idea
    when that might be?
  • Is there some way to get zotero to export the database to a text format from the command line.

    Ideally I'd like to wrap my `svn commit` command in a shell script that dumps the zotero database to a file inside my svn tree, then I can wrap my svn update with a script that imports the file from the svn tree to zotero. This should work in mac and *nix, and could be achieved using .bat files for windows.

    If there's no way to get firefox to pass on things to the plugins while its running (or to get a new firefox instance in the command line to run silent and not spawn a window), I guess we could rig up something using sqlite3 to dump out the database to RIS or some other suitable format.

  • Hi all,

    Figured out how to do it off the SQLite3 page

    for the save script try
    echo "usage 'my message in single quotes'"

    cd /absolute/path/to/zotero
    sqlite3 zotero.sqlite .dump > /absolute/path/versioned/directory/zotero.dump.sql
    cd /absolute/path/versioned/directory
    echo $1
    svn commit -m $1

    cd /absolute/path/versioned/directory
    svn update
    cd /absolute/path/to/zotero
    cat /absolute/path/versioned/directory/zotero.dump.sql >sqlite3 zotero.sql
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