Zotero for Android

I read a lot on my Nexus 7. It would be nice to have an app to sync the collection with my tablet for easy reading. I rely on the web version these days but would be nice to have an app to access my stored collection with the PDF to read and share.
  • You can use http://zotfile.com/ to send PDFs to a Dropbox folder, which you could then access on your phone. You can then use ZotFile again to update the PDFs in Zotero if you make annotations or something on the phone.
  • alternatively, you can use: https://secure.zoteroreader.com/ in your browser - should work quite nicely & is optimized for mobile.
    The developer has said he was planning to port this into an app, but I haven't heard any progress reports.

    Finally, there is the Zandy app:
    which has recently gotten some updates and bugfixes. Avram, who built this, isn't as active as he used to, but there has been an update in January and he says he's working on some further updates. No guarantees, though, of course.
  • edited December 8, 2014
    I think web-based Zotero Reader (https://secure.zoteroreader.com/) looks really good. Unfortunately, the IndieGoGo funding campaign to fund development of an Android Zotero Reader app was unsuccessful. I don't see evidence that development of the Android app is going forward. This is a shame. I do use Zotfile all the time and it is great ON THE DESKTOP for, among other things, pushing and pulling PDFs to and from the tablet, respectively, where they can be read and annotated. This is certainly one workflow that I am interested in, but often I also just want to be able to browse and search my whole library from my Android devices. I believe Zotero Reader would be a good way to do this. Using the web app is OK but the native Android app would be better.

    I have never been very successful with Zandy.

    EDIT: I decided to work with Zandy a bit more since I "own" it, it has been updated and in principle it is what I am looking for (an Android interface for Zotero). OK, OK. It seems to be working. I will give it more of a chance. To be honest, part of my previous problem or concern is how long it takes to sync the first time and having confidence that it really sees all my >6700 entries in numerous collections and sub-collections. Again, I will continue to work with it.
  • edited December 22, 2014
    I purchased Zandy for my Android tablet in order to access and read my Zotero attachments in storage on WebDAV and I was immediately frustrated - its attachment download feature isn't working with cloudme WebDAV service, which I use. I was also unhappy with Zandy's interface on a tablet. The Zotero.org web site with Chrome mobile browser is imho much better for browsing.

    So, I decided I would instead just browse my Zotero library online via zotero.org, and write a bookmarklet to enable me to download the pdf attachments that Zotero stores as zip files on my WebDAV provider's server. All I do, using my Chrome browser on the tablet, is go to the item in my library at zotero.org, click on the 'Attachment Details' link for the attachment I want, then in the browser's address bar I start typing the name of the bookmarklet - similar to the way I'd use the official Zotero bookmarklet for adding references to my library.

    Here are the instructions if you want to install the bookmarklet:

    1) Bookmark this page (can do it on the desktop if you have your bookmarks syncing to the mobile device).

    2) Edit the bookmark you just created.

    3) Change the title to something appropriate such as "Zotero WebDAV attachment downloader".

    4) Copy the code below and paste it as the URL for the bookmark (make sure you select it all, including the "javascript:" at the beginning and the "();" at the end.

    javascript:(function(){var WebDAV = 'https://your.WebDAV.provider.com/{subfolders}/zotero/' ; var ItemKey=window.location.toString().match(/^https?:\/\/www\.zotero\.org.*\/itemKey\/(\w*).*/i);if(WebDAV==='https://your.WebDAV.provider.com/{subfolders}/zotero/'){alert('The URL of this bookmarklet must be edited to include the URL of your WebDAV folder for Zotero attachments. You can get it from your Zotero preferences in the sync pane, but make sure to retain a leading: \'http:// or \'https:// and a trailing: /zotero/\' when you edit me');}else{if(ItemKey){window.location=WebDAV+ItemKey[1]+'.zip';}else{alert('No Zotero item found on page. Run this bookmarklet while viewing an "Attachment Details" page in your library at www.zotero.org');}}})();
    5) Edit your bookmarklet's URL to include the correct URL for your own WebDAV storage where it says near the beginning: 'https://your.WebDAV.provider.com/{subfolders}/zotero/'
    (You can just copy the URL for your WebDAV storage from your Zotero preferences, under File Syncing, but makes sure you keep 'http:// or 'https:// at the beginning and /zotero/' at the end.)

    6) You might also need to install a file manager on your device to open up the zip file, and a pdf reader. ES File Explorer and Adobe reader (free from Google Play Store) work fine for my purposes.

    NB: Post and bookmarklet code edited Dec 22, 2014 to fix a bug and improve it.
  • edited December 22, 2014
    Zotero Reader is good, but sometimes I need to look up papers offline.

    I make do with Zotfile, Dropbox, an exported BibTex file, and this Android app 'Eratosthenes':

    It's still one way sync of metadata, just nicer looking and easier to use.

    The Eratosthenes app is pretty nice. It can import BibTeX files. And it has pretty good integration with Dropbox (& Google Drive), so it can automatically download/sync BibTeX files saved there. You can also access the attachments through the app directly from Dropbox/Google Drive (by just manually searching for the papers or if the file locations match your BibTeX file, just clicking on the items in the app). It also allows you to sync the attachments if you've modified them while reading on your tablet. And it has some additional sharing and other features that I haven't explored yet.

    I hacked the Zotero BibTex translator a little bit to add collection id's and to automatically edit the attachment file paths in the .bib file to match my Dropbox folder path on my tablet. I periodically export a BibTex file of the Tablet Files saved search Zotfile creates to my Dropbox. I mostly use regular Dropbox sync not through the Eratosthenes app, as you can also access your attachments through the app if you've synced them locally with whatever service you use.

    Then whenever I'm back at my computer, I use Zotfile to retrieve my attachments and notes.

    (wow! this all seemed simpler in my head. But, it really is really easy once you try the app).
  • Hi there,

    At the current moment, it seems there is no good app for Android.
    My data is kept in the "Zotero File Storage" server (easy and a way to support the good work) ; and also I manage many group libraries (various projects = various people = various groups).

    So far, so good. After some time looking at this subject, my current is finaly:

    * export one by one the libraries as a BIBTEX.
    * copy it to the Android.
    * install in the Android an app which read BIBTEX, such as RefMaster.

    That's it... no sync though, just reading ... but it should do untill our marvellous Zotero team propose the app (this obviously will appear at some moment).

  • edited March 3, 2015
    Hi all,

    I've been working on an app for Android. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but you can read/edit/delete items, and download attachments (no attachment uploads at the moment). I haven't implemented group libraries yet, though. http://www.favand.net/zed for the beta download.

    Also, there's Zed Lite in the app store now that provides read-only access for personal libraries. Group library support should be forthcoming.

    I hadn't considered implementing automatic attachment downloads in Zed because of how much space and bandwidth that would consume. But I might consider making it an option - is that something that would be helpful to you?
  • Hi Dpfavand,

    thanks sooooo much for your app, it just absolutely needs access to attachments in order to be capable to read the pdf file on the mobile or tablet. I would suggest attachment download only if a button is pressed for a specific item (if that is possible of course). For instance I have around 3000 items on my library, that would collapse my mobile or tablet or, if I work for week without updating my mobile collection, it could take too much time and bandwidth to download the update.

    thanks again for you app. we absolutely need a good Android app for Zotero, particularly for tablets.
  • Hi Xbarandiaran,

    I'm quite happy to say that the current versions do allow downloading attachments on demand; you can then open the pdf in the default viewer. Attachments are not synced, so you won't overload your device storage. However, the current versions of Zed and Zed Lite only work with the Zotero file service, not WebDAV or other platforms. There are also some kinks to work out with how attachments are handled, but the basics are there.

    You are very welcome; I'm glad to have gotten a lot of positive and useful feedback, so I will definitely continue work on this.
  • hi dpfavand,

    For some reason I can't manage to download the pdf or open it, I am using Android on a Nexus 5, I click the button that is suppose to download the pdf but nothing happens. But maybe I should report this problem through other channels. Thanks a lot again and congrats for your app. It is fantastic! Please keep working on it, make it free/open source and add some means to support your work economically!
  • Hi Xbarandiaran,

    Yes, if you could get in touch directly (http://www.favand.net/zed), I'd like to try to understand why you're having trouble with pdf downloads. I'm definitely going to keep working on the app, you can sign up for an occasional email when new features are out, especially for Zed, which doesn't have an update mechanism. The form is on the same web page.
  • edited March 21, 2015
    Dear dpfavand:

    <3 <3 <3 <3

    Zed Lite is lovely! The full-version beta seems to work very nicely, too.
  • I'm having the same problem as xbarandiaran (Mar 12th 2015). Was there a fix that someone can post to this thread?
  • Is there an official app coming to Android, now that there is an iPhone app?
  • Is there a rough time frame for the Android app? I understand it's hard to say, but are you talking of a few months or several years here?

    This would help to know if I have to settle for some other solution, scripts or something for copying the files to the tablet. Thanks
  • Not several years.
  • @dstillman Thanks. Well, I was hoping for a somewhat less vague estimated time frame, but I understand you don't want to commit yourself yet.

    I'm just looking forward very much to it, as the lack of an Android app is the big (and only) issue with Zotero, as I work a lot on a tablet.
  • Umm..... I have to decide whether to buy a Samsung 14.6" tablet for 600 quid or an 12.9" iPad for 1200 quid, purely to do my PDF reading (scientist...). I have 13,000 documents locally stored in my computer's Zotero directory and plan to sync them on a microSD card with the tablet, as I currently do with my tiny-screened laptop via a USB flash-drive. I don't like to use cloud storage.

    Should I proceed on the assumption that an Android Zotero app will soon be available to run on the Samsung??
  • I have no private insight on the status of the Android app, but there's a reason Zotero doesn't commit to ETA for major features, so if by "soon" you mean in the next 3 months or so, I'd be wary. If you mean by the end of 2023, I think chances are very good given dstillman's post above.
  • @bellinterlab , you can use MementoDB.

    Export to CSV and do the sync (copy of the storage folder). The file-attachment path in the CSV needs to be manually changed to the Android location. Thereafter, import the adjusted CSV into MementoDB (fieldtypes matter). Works with 15000 entries.
  • @TomSim, That's not really a viable solution for most people.

    Having to modify files very time you make a change to your library? You sound like you know the app you are using. Most of us don't and three lines don't really help much. Might as well say copy it into MS Access.

    I would really welcome an Android Zotero app. It would make life so much easier.
  • Any news on the Android App? It would be so useful...
  • Reiterating the comment from @smatthie above - any news on the Android App? Perhaps I can contribute, but I could not find the repository on GitHub (there's one for the iOS app, but could not find it for an Android app)
  • I would absolutely also love an Android app!! I also work witn an Android tablet and the third party solutions just don't cut it. Please port to Android soon <3<3<3
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