[solved] How do you use tags and collections?

Hello there,

I used to use collections and sub-collections exclusively to sort my items but now discovered several drawbacks with that method:

- the risk of duplicates in the collection names. Often I do not remember the exact name of a collectio, thus cannot find it and create a new collection with almost the same name to categorise an item.

- collection names cannot easily be searched from Zotero search.

These two issues do not apply for tags. They can be searched and whilst adding a tag to an item I get suggestions of existing tags based on my input.

Thus my question, which advantages do collections still have and how do you use them?


  • This is a matter of preference. Collections can have duplicate names, and this is not even confusing as long as they do not share a parent collection. One advantage is also that collections have a hierarchical structure where as tags do not. I personally use collections as a more permanent filing system and then use tags for more ad-hoc organising within a collection.
  • For me the main draw of collections is visual - I like the ability to see my main organizing structure. I use few tags, mainly of the type "to read" "to buy". (but as I emphasize when teaching Zotero, the whole point of having both if to give users options and allow them to use Zotero in a way that suits there needs. There is no right or wrong).
  • Thanks. I like the approach of viewing collections as a more permanent filing structure.

    It is much more clear now.
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