one-click update metadata for a zotero object

I use zotero to manage a library of journal articles. These articles are often first published electronically, and don't get page numbers, etc., until they are published in print. I often find myself making one zotero item when the article is published online, then when the print info is available, making another zotero item, attaching a link to the pdf, putting in new html tags to italicize things correctly, adding a journal abbreviation if it is not already there, mergeing duplicates, etc. I don't think that there is a way to have zotero update the metadata for an item automatically. It seems like it would be pretty easy to implement a one-click way that you could ask zotero to retrieve any changes to the metadata associated with a certain article, similar to the functionality that lets you create a new object by doi or pmid. It would be great if it could do this in such a way that it would not replace all fields, just empty ones, so things like html tags for italics in titles and user-added info like journal abbreviations wouldn't need to be entered manually again.
  • This is planned in general, but no one is currently working on it. I agree that the procedure would be fairly straight-forward - someone just needs to do it.

    Regarding journal abbreviations, this is already somewhat automated (using a list of journal abbreviations from MEDLINE), so you do not need to worry about entering it as much.
  • +1 on this! Would also be very interested in this feature!
  • +1 from me as well! It would be great to have that feature! Please consider using PMID for lookup. Pubmed metadata is by far superior to Google Scholar!
  • we'll probably try to avoid google scholar as much as possible for item complete.
    GS without alternative for retrieving metadata from PDFs because it's the only comprehensive full-text archive, but once we have a DOI, PMID, or even a title, we can work with those.
  • Sounds perfect! Thx for the fast reply, I appreciate it!
  • Could we maybe get a quick statement from the devs regarding the proposed "metadata update' feature? I could not find a ticket in github regarding this matter so I am not sure if this is actually planned. Please have a look into this when there is time. Currently, this is the only thing that keeps me from switching.

    THX a lot.
  • Not going to happen very soon unless someone provides a patch. Definitely still planned in general & listed here: Several major features don't have an issue - the issue tracker is for dev use, so most tickets are reminders for smaller things.
  • It is important to mention that the digital versions of some papers are no exatly the same that the printed ones. We can find on the internet, pre-prints, post-prints, first versions, second versions... ( and they are all diferent from the printed one.

    So we have to be carefull not to mix all those up.
  • I feel as though this feature essentially already exists, but can't be used for this purpose just because nobody's made it so.

    The "retrieve PDF metadata" command would be enough to get this done, since it searches for the DOI anyway. The DOI never changes, even when an article goes from an ASAP to a published paper; thus if the same process were used for a parent item it should work.
  • The problem has never been fetching the data -- as you said, the code for that has existed for a long time. The problem is implementing this smoothly so that it works in an intuitive way for users on a GUI level and does good job merging the fetched data with existing data.
    Ideally, it'd also have a mechanism to work where a DOI is absent, though i'd say that's a lesser consideration.

    I'm pretty sure zotero's lead dev would accept patches if someone wants to have a go, though I'd recommend discussing the general approach on zotero-dev before diving into it.
  • I suppose what I find confusing is that while there's a right-click context menu that performs this exact function for a PDF, the same function does not exist for a parent item.

    The GUI is there, the code is there, the feature is already known by its exact name.

    I know pretty much nothing about programming or coding but I would definitely be willing to learn in this case. It just screams to be done!
  • it's the merging of old and new item that's the new code. That would likely look something like the duplicate merge dialog, so it's not like we have nothing similar in place, but still -- the details in the end always take up a lot of time.
  • Yes,Re-fetch metadata for an item would be very helpful!
  • +1 It's been years I've been hoping this functionality would be implemented...
  • +1 waiting for years
  • Mendeley has an option to mark an item as "Needs Review" and then you can click on Search in Details to re-scan the metadata from the web. Most of the time it fills empty fields correctly. In fact, that was the reason I chose to use Mendeley over Zotero long time ago.
  • waiting for years
  • +1 this feature would save us a lot of time !
  • +1 Waiting for this features. Some times the retrived metadata are wrong and don't extract some metadata.
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