Book section: Link to book entered once


If I want to add multiple sections from a single edited book, I have to enter the book information (editors, publisher, date) in each section.

I'd rather enter the book as its own citation, and then, when I'm entering a section, choose the book from a citation picker of some kind. This would save me lots of time, and it would also give me more confidence in the integrity of the database.

  • edited May 27, 2008
    I think something like that might be coming. In the meantime here's what I do:

    1. make citation of whole book

    2. right click the book in the middle column and duplicate entry

    3. then cut the "title" and paste it in "book title" (but i don't have to reenter all the bibliographic data.

    4. for other sections, I duplicate the the first section, then all I have to do is change the section "title" and author.

    I often add 5 to 10 or more sections, and it really doesn't take that long.

    Does that accomplish what you want?

    EDIT: Oh, by the way...welcome to the forums! :)
  • Hi, arrgem,

    That'll definitely help cut down on the repeat work. Nice solution.

    The database-integrity concern persists, though, so hopefully something like this is on the way.

  • Yes, please! It would be nice to be able to cross reference one item in the database from another (e.g. Bloggs (1998) "title" .... reprinted in X, page references are to this reprint.)

    Or even just the simple case of Bloggs (1998) "Title" in CollectionX.

    BibTeX can do this wiht a flat data structure .... why not Zotero?
  • Right. The problem is that Zotero will cite each chapter as a separate work in the Bib. Can this be fixed please?
  • Would love this feature, too. It just seems to make more sense to have one entry for a book, and multiple "sections" that I can choose to quote directly. Something like context-clicking on the book in Zotero and choosing "Add Book Section"....
  • Damn, I came to find out how to do this, but at least someone has already requested it as a feature. Any idea if the 'maybe' is actually under active development?

    PS I have been blown away by how great zotero is, I'm pushing for my uni to officially adopt it
  • Note that you can now duplicate the book and change its type to "book section". The title will automatically move to the "book title" field and so forth.
  • @arggem, I wish I had seen this workaround suggestion before I entered so many sections from a book!

    Here to echo the request for a feature where book sections can be linked to their parent book without a copy-and-paste workaround.
  • This is long-term planned, but since it requires a change/rework of the data model it's not something that will happen anytime soon.
  • Hi,
    I am just wondering if there is a way that added book sections can be moved to show up under the 'parent book'? I have already done the previous steps to create a book section but since I have so many different books in my Zotero library I though it would be more visually organized if book sections showed up under the main/'parent' book.

  • not currently - see above.
  • If you use the related tab to relate each section to the main book you can at least get a visual of all the sections for that book. Not quite what you probably want, but it works well for me. YMMV.
  • My workaround is to duplicate a 'book section' item. Then you have to change only the title, author, and page numbers.
  • Well, it seems that a lot of people want this feature, a parent book.
    I think it has not yet been resolved, or has it?
  • no, and won't be any time soon.
  • Hi all, this is my first entry. Love Zotero (and Zutilo), big respect and admiration for those who work tirelessly on it.

    Just wanted to bump this issue, it's been a while since it was last addressed.

    I'm a complete programming grandpa, so this is not meant as impatience but rather honest curiosity: can it really be that hard to enable book chapter citation items (with possible attachments added) to appear under the parent book tab? It would just be marvellous to have it visualised in this way.

    Anyhow, thank you all again for contributing to this.
  • It's very hard, yes, because the way Zotero is built, it doesn't even have the concept of one bibliographic item (i.e. a chapter) being attached to another one (a book), so this is a drastic change to the way the whole database is built. It is a perfectly reasonable request, but I'm afraid it's really nowhere close to happening.
  • Alright then, I understand.

    Very well, thank you for your answer and we will wait another couple of years; eventually, it will come. I'm sure of it.

    Have yourselves a blessed day.
  • How about having only one side of the itemRelations related by a dc:relation filled in? That would give a way to build directed graphs. If custom predicates could be introduced (e.g for cited-by/cites relations), that would be super helpful.
  • edited August 2, 2018
    Is there any way to allow nested references within the bibliography in the sense of:

    Author (YYYY). "Some chapter." In Editor (ed.), pp. PP-PP.
    (Omitting the title of the work, the publisher/place, etc.)

    I'm asking more out of curiosity than immediate need, but many publishers do prefer this abbreviated style, especially when there are many cited works within a single volume, in order to save space. (I'm curious about it for my dissertation too, when in some cases I'm citing up to a dozen chapters from each of a few volumes.)

    Technically it doesn't seem that difficult to do it for a single entry: simply cite the "Book chapter" as one entry, and then the information there about the "Book" itself as a different one. But then I'm not sure how different items would be recognized as from the same volume, without some real solution to the question above.

    No problem if not, just trying to understand the limits here. I tried searching for relevant keywords, but this is the closest discussion I could find, since I'm not sure what this sort of "nesting" is typically called.
  • No, there's no solution to this & I don't see this happending without having some sort of hierarchical relationship between items in place -- which I still think would be cool and objectively the right thing to do, but as I say above, the required changes are quite significant and I've not seen any sign that someone is actually working on them, so I'd be surprised if this were to happen any time soon.
  • OK, makes sense. Thanks.

    A relatively simple workaround would be to extract the book information from the citation, and display that as a separate citation. Then for any items with IDENTICAL secondary citations (we'd need to manually correct for this), those separate citations could be collapsed. There are obviously limitations, and the hierarchical method would be better and more powerful in general.
  • What you describe would be really quite involved technically under the hood and, frankly, probably not any easier to implement than hierarchal items.
  • edited August 2, 2018
    It would require changing the underlying code. But it's not hard. Adding hierarchical terms would be great but is hard, because it would require changing how the data is stored. My (hypothetical*) solution would only require changing how bibliographies are generated, not data storage.

    (*)But I fully understand this probably won't be added, just thinking out loud. It's technically feasible to solve the "chapter from" issue without adding true hierarchical structure to the database.

    On the other hand, an easy partial hierarchial fix would simply be to add a "parent" item to each entry (of relevant types?), and then go from there. No true hierarchy needed, no UI changes, etc. That wouldn't address the other concerns people have raised, but it would solve this (and not be as awkward as having to manually be sure two book chapters have the same volume information to be collapsed).
  • Just following up with a final thought on this, in case anyone else is thinking about the same thing.

    I have thought of a way to do this, with some manual editing of citations, that would work, and would only require modifying styles. However, I don't plan to implement this at this time, so the notes below are just an outline of how to approach this:

    1. Make a new copy of the style of your choice. Edit the book section output to NOT display the book title, publisher or place (or otherwise omit/include information as you wish). The output will be something like:
    Author YYYY. "Chapter title". In Editor (ed.), pp.1-50.

    2. Make another new copy of that style, and in that case, ignore authors, chapter titles, and page numbers. The output will simply be the volume information, roughly:
    Editor (ed.) YYYY. Book Title. Publisher: Place.

    3. Generate the bibliography for your project two times, once with each style. Keep all of the entries from version (1) above. Go through Version (2) and remove all duplicates, then also include those items in your bibliography.

    To do this most efficiently, you might also want to manually include only the book chapters and books in this way when there is more than one chapter per book that you are citing (otherwise you're not saving space). In that case, you'd need a third version of the bibliography, generated the standard way. Of course the easiest approach here might just be to generate a special document where you are only citing those few items where this is relevant, rather than manually searching through and editing the whole bibliography. Up to you, whatever is most efficient for your project. Note that when editing you'll need to remove (if enabled) or add-in (if disabled) disambiguation for Editor/YYYY combinations.

    Another limitation is that some special items that could also be cited in this way would not be. For example, you might have multiple articles in a journal volume, and also want to cite the whole journal volume.

    Finally, if you are committed to (always) citing things this way, you could actually modify the entries in Zotero to simply remove the book title, publisher, place, etc., and then also add the volumes separately. Then just be sure to add in the volume manually when making a bibliography! That's simplest but would be a pain to undo if you want to cite in another format.
  • Hi everyone!

    Great work on zotero, I really love working with it! I just wanted to add myself to the list of people having trouble without the above feature.
    I am writing a dissertation in law and here the problem is especially evident since most books I use are divided into book sections. My bibliography has gotten out of control after only citing 4 books (but of course many chapters) and so I had to give up using zotero and did it manually. I am looking forward to using zotero for shorter essays though!

  • @FrederickB I'm not sure exactly what feature or requirement you are referring to. There are several things discussed in this thread? Could you be more specific and I can potentially suggest a good workflow?
  • Hi bwiernik,

    thanks for your quick answer! I am referring to the original post:

    >>I'd rather enter the book as its own citation, and then, when I'm entering a section, choose the book from a citation picker of some kind. This would save me lots of time, and it would also give me more confidence in the integrity of the database.

    Also this would be the way I would expect:
    >> I am just wondering if there is a way that added book sections can be moved to show up under the 'parent book'? I have already done the previous steps to create a book section but since I have so many different books in my Zotero library I though it would be more visually organized if book sections showed up under the main/'parent' book.

    So to sum it up: When adding book chapters it would be nice to have them as sub-objects of the book (in the same way as you can have a child note). As the others have said this would help to keep the library visually more organised and would also be better for integrity of the database: the book chapters would all share the same book information.

    Update: I think I might have found a workaround for my situation by don't using book sections anymore but instead just adding the chapter author as a prefix when citing the book and suppressing the editors in the citation. Not exactly sure if this will work for me, but so far it looks promising.
  • I too would like to add support for being able to expand objects and edit individual chapter/sections/tracks and be able to select them with a citation picker as noted above.
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