Mass actions

There are a couple of corners of Zotero where mass actions (e.g. 'delete all selected') aren't possible. I'm converting a large library of cancer screening references from Endnote to Zotero, so I'm encountering the need for 'merge all' in Duplicate Items and the ability to select and delete multiple tags in the tag manager. There might be other areas I haven't found yet where mass actions might be useful.
  • Oh yes - the reason I needed to delete tags is because Sync is choking on tags that have imported incorrectly and are over 256 char length. For things like Sync, an option to 'remember my answer' for the rename/delete actions would be useful. Otherwise I'm sitting here all afternoon clicking the button for the single action.
  • several "mass actions" are planned. I don't think that deleting tags is on that list though.

    Could you tell us exactly how Zotero imported tags incorrectly? I'm interested in fixing that part.
  • After I posted I found another thread here where people are talking about editing the SQLite database directly to delete (or truncate) tags (eek) so I hope multiple tag selection/deletion can be added to the list.

    I need to clarify I'm not sure at what point the tags have imported incorrectly. Here's an example that appears as a single tag in Zotero:

    "80 and over Breast Neoplasms/mortality/*prevention & control Cost-Benefit Analysis Female Health Services for the Aged/economics/*utilization Humans Longitudinal Studies Mammography/economics/*utilization Middle Aged Multivariate Analysis Patient Acceptance of Health Care/*statistics & numerical data Risk United States/epidemiology Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/mortality/*prevention & control Vaginal Smears/economics/*utilization"

    That looks to me like automatic tags from a full text database. I got my citations into Zotero by exporting them as Bibtex from an Endnote database created by someone else (large NFP setting), so I don't know at what point they were joined into one massive supertag. There's probably 100-150 supertags like it, and it's easier for me to trash all my tags in SQLite than delete or separate them all one by one by hand.
  • Those appear to be MeSH terms from PubMed.
  • Yes, they are.

    I went back to the Bibtex file and this is how they appear:

    keywords = {Adolescent
    Early Detection of Cancer/*utilization
    *Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
    Middle Aged
    Papillomavirus Vaccines/*administration & dosage/immunology
    Patient Acceptance of Health Care/*statistics & numerical data
    United States
    Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/*prevention & control
    Vaginal Smears/*utilization
    Young Adult},

    I know the Zotero documentation recommends importing via RIS not Bibtex, but it choked on RIS, I'm guessing due to illegal characters or over-length in the import string.
  • edited October 31, 2012
    If they didn't come from a Zotero translator it doesn't particularly concern us, except to the extent that we might want to correct this either in import translators automatically or in more of a batch manner in the long-tag wizard. We could probably at least be smarter about guessing the delimiter—I think right now we default to the last-used delimiter, starting with a semi-colon?—but maybe we could add an "Apply to All" option for Split and Delete. I'm not sure how a batch Split would handle it if there were other tags with different delimiters, though. (Also, other tags that weren't too long to sync but that were still concatenated wouldn't be changed. A separate tool that checked for data issues could fix this globally, though.)
  • I know the Zotero documentation recommends importing via RIS not Bibtex, but it choked on RIS, I'm guessing due to illegal characters or over-length in the import string.
    would you mind spending some time helping us debug RIS import issues?

    Are you getting an error or is Zotero freezing? if you are getting an error could you submit a report and post a report ID here? Also, if possible, could you provide us with the RIS file that is causing problems? you can upload it to dropbox/Google drive, paste it on or, or email it to (hopefully Dan doesn't mind) or to me directly
  • Hi Aurimas, sure, happy to help out. I posted about it here with a report ID:

    I'll send the RIS to your e-mail. Cheers, D.
  • Thanks for your help. The problem with RIS import should be fixed in the next Zotero release (3.0.9)
  • I would like to second the request for mass actions, especially mass tagging (add/delete tags to/from all selected items).
  • you can already mass tag by selecting multiple items and dragging them to a tag in the tag selector on the left. More mass actions/batch editing is planned and should happen relatively soon.
  • Oh, I didn't know that, thanks. I don't usually use the tag selector, because it is too cluttered, but I search by tag fairly often.
  • edited May 22, 2014
    +1 for mass tagging via the same mechanism as for individual entries in the right sidebar. Dragging many selected entries to the tag list in the bottom left works OK, but it took a while to find it.
  • you can also mass-tag with colored tags by using the assigned number key with multiple items selected. I think more options are still planned, but will actually take a little while, I was a bit over-optimistic in that regard back then.
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