RTF/ODF Scan for Zotero

  • it's certainly doable - we didn't spend a huge amount of time on getting the "citations" right since, as you say, they don't actually affect how the real citation looks. One of use might take the time (though likely not as a priority) or we'd take a patch - ideally that would be a more general test along the lines of: if there are any authors as creators, just list those.
  • Unless I'm missing something, there doesn't appear to be a clean way to implement this in the current translation architecture; it looks like it would require fragile coding that would raise maintenance issues.

    Each item type designates a particular creator as its "primary creator." It is often "author", but it can be other things ("artist," "director" ...). To cast a cite slug that prefers the author, we would want to look for primary creators, falling back to other types if necessary.

    The function that returns the primary creator type ID is not available to the translator. We could work around that by putting a map of the primary names into the translator, but if changes occur in the Zotero database schema, the mapping would need to be rewritten, and extended to be sensitive to the Zotero version against which the plugin is running.

    On balance, we should probably leave things as they are, unless a pathway to acquire the primary creator name opens up inside the translator environment at some point.
  • Thank you very much for both your answers. I see that this would include a lot of work, and apart from being nice from the author's point of view, I do see that it might not be worth the effort. Thanks again, though! :)
  • Hi guy,
    I've just started working with Scrivener and spent sometime going through the discussions here on the Zotero-Scrivener integration.

    If I understood correctly, the point is to work on Scrivener and implant the codes of the references. Then convert it to ODF, scan it with the RTF/ODF scanner plugin, and then open it with Libre Office, which will convert the codes into the final product.

    My question is this: In principle I still like to finalize my document with Microsoft Word and I would like the document to be linked to the Zotero database. If I understood correctly this is impossible. Once I convert the ODF document to a doc file (by the LibreOffice) the document will not maintain the link to the Zotero database. Can you confirm this?

  • this actually is possible. In a rush, but see the comments on my blog starting here: http://zoteromusings.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/announcing-rtfodf-scan-for-zotero/comment-page-1/#comment-99 for details
  • adamsmith, thanks for your quick response.

    Perhaps I miss something, but in the link you posted the final stage is an ODF document edited in LibreOffice with "live" links to Zotero.

    I am interested in having a doc file edited in Microsoft Word with "live" links to Zotero.

    When i try to save a LibreOffice document as a doc file, the document loses its link to the Zotero database.

    Perhpas I missed something in the blog...
  • I linked to the comments where we specifically discuss Word solutions -- in other words, don't look at the blog post, look at the comments from where I link to downwards.
  • Hello, thanks to the developers for this very useful plugin!

    I used the scan to convert a document from Scrivener (markers) to LibreOffice with no problem. However, since I did some editing, I want to then import the document back into Scrivener with all the markers in place. However, every time I try to convert the document back to markers, the plug in merely says "There was an error processing this file."

    I have tried refreshing all the Zotero links on the document and rebooting both Zotero (stand-alone) and Libreoffice several times. There don't seem to be any errors with the Zotero links in the document itself. Since the error message provides no information, I'm not sure what could be going wrong. Any insight into what I can do to fix the document so it can be scanned and converted again? Thanks for your help, in advance.
  • Two things
    1) after triggering that error, could you click on report error and copy the content of that error report here? It's probably rather obvious which error is the relevant one, feel free to delete everything else.

    2) Can you replicate this with a minimal working example? I.e. just one or two citations going back and forth?
  • Hi

    First, I'd like to express my gratitude for the development of this plugin. It's a tremendous help. I do have an issue with it at the moment. I'm working with Scrivener and Zotero. I can create an odt file which generates a new version with properly formatted citations. However, no bibliography is being produced. I've spent quite a bit of time looking for a setting or something to resolve this, but I keep coming up blank. A resolution would be much appreciated.


  • The "insert bibliography" button in the word processor doesn't work?
  • That's right. All I get is {Bibliography}. There are no entries from the citations in the document. I'm using Libre Office.
  • Which citation style? Can you reproduce this with a minimal working example, e.g. a file with just one citations?
  • I normally use a customised version of Harvard that suits the requirements of my own University, but I'm having the same problem using Elsevier Harvard which is a standard Zotero style. I have reproduced the problem with an odt file containing just one reference.
  • could you send both the unscanned and the scanned version of the minimal file to my (Sebastian) e-mail, listed at the bottom of
  • Jim -- the document you sent me didn't have a citation style selected. Could you see if you have the same problem if you first set a citation style using "Set Document Preferences" in the LibreOffice add-on.
  • Sebastian,

    I set the citation style to Elsevier Harvard (using Bookmarks rather tha ReferenceMarks) in the unscanned file. I inserted a Bibliography. I then produced the scanned file, and again set the citation style to Elsevier Harvard. Still no entry in the bibliography I'm afraid.

  • Try not converting to Bookmarks. There's no citation style set in that file, else the citation would be in parentheses.
    You can always convert to bookmarks later, but keep the number of variables small.
  • It worked using ReferenceMarks. It's now 22:15 here, so I'll try doing the same with a larger file tomorrow. Many thanks!
  • I'm delighted to report that creating the bibliography worked with a much larger file (~13,000 words). Many thanks for your help, Sebastian.
  • Hi all, thank you for making this functionality. I'm working with a large team and am not sure that we can implement this workflow. I have a question about an alternate workflow, and have read through much of the above see if it's Artie been answered but I did not see it. Apologies if I missed it.
    If we use the shift drag and drop feature of Zotero into Google docs to create our citations say using APA format. Can we then convert the citations in that document from APA format to the citation marker format? From there it seems like the rest of the workflow would work fine and therefore create a bibliography based on all the citations in our entire document. I think this workflow would be a lot easier for them to handle, as only one person would need to do all the converting at the end of the writing process.
  • no, there's no way to convert anything else into markers, sorry. That's why we use the markers in the first place. If there was a way to convert APA into markers, we could automate that step and just skip them altogether.
  • Hello again,

    I have a newbie question, although I've been using RTF/ODF scan for a considerable time now. I initially used it as it allowed me to update my citation information if I needed to. Now I'm in a later stage of my PhD I'm finding having to go through the conversion process every time I want to show my supervisor something a real drag, if I make a small change, I need to go through it again, so I considered just dragging the references in as text, making sure they were complete and correct. No problem.

    The only issue then is ibid.'s This new method won't automatically turn a repeated reference into a ibid. will it? Which then becomes another powerful reason for using the rtf/odf scan.

    I am correct in my reasoning here? Any additional thoughts on how people have simplified the workflow?

  • you'll not just use ibids and shortened subsequent references, you'll also lose the ability to automatically create a bibliography should you need to. You'll need to decide for yourself if that's worth it or not -- I couldn't have imagined writing a PhD thesis without those abilities, but it's up to you.
  • Thanks. You're right. I can't imagine it either really, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed any obvious way to somehow avoid the reasonably long workflow every time for small edits. I guess the answer is to not always give my supervisor the references for every draft. Don't get me wrong. I love that I can use scrivener and zotero! Thanks as always.
  • well, you can make small edits right in LibreOffice and convert the file back to markers when you want to make larger edits. Depending on the set-up that may work better. (The Scan works both directions, in case you weren't aware)
  • Hi, thanks for the great work, the plugin is invaluable for sharing a file between different office programmes to be completely safe about no loss of citations. The only issue I'm experiencing is with conversion of citations of multiple papers into markers. A citation like this: (Bonnet-Garnier et al., 2012; Zuccotti et al., 2005) becomes a marker like this: { | (Bonnet-Garnier et al., 2012; Zuccotti et al., 2005) | | |zu:701025:IQIW4E4N}{ | (Bonnet-Garnier et al., 2012; Zuccotti et al., 2005) | | |zu:701025:R4ZU4C88}
    So, the author list is doubled, and after converting it back into citations I get a doubled citation. Though if I change the citation style it gets back to normal, I guess because the actual IDs are written only once, so in the end it works fine.
  • edited May 15, 2015
    yeah, we're aware of that -- as you say, it doesn't impact actual functionality, so we're not particularly concerned with fixing it, which, IIRC, turned out to be surprisingly hard (though fbennett would know this better).

    edit: and you don't just _change_ a citation style. You apply a citation style at all when you set it. in LibreOffice.
  • I've used zotero for quite some time, and I'm trying to get it to work with scrivener. So I succeed in making the scanner recognize the author and date, but not what I write before and after:

    { Cited in | Prenter, 1947 |p. 4 | |zu:537613:8WT9ABQE}

    simply becomes

    Prenter, 1947.

    I export from scrivener to .odt, read it with the scanner (RTF/ODT) that I downloaded and open it with libre office.

    Do you have any suggestions?
  • that seems right. Final step is to then set a citation style in LibreOffice via "Set Document Preferences". Are you saying that doesn't work?
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