Zotero in FF — Capture sequence of keystrokes, not one by one

One of the best ways of quickly locating an item in your library is by typing the first few characters of the author name. With items sorted by creator, Zotero then goes to the nearest hit.

This works well for the first character: A goes to Aarsleff, B to Baayen, etc. Where it often goes wrong, however, is with multiple characters. Say I type the sequence CHO to go to Chomsky. Often, what happens is that Zotero first goes to C, then to H, then to O, treating the keystrokes as separate requests. In my 10,000 item library that is a pretty slow operation so Zotero freezes for a bit, looks like it's randomly scrolling around, and ends up in the wrong section of the library.

It's not that I'm a slow typer. This doesn't always happen. It seems more common towards the start of a session. Right now, having done a few of those operations before, it does work: a quickly typed C-H-O brings me where I want to go. If I close Firefox and restart Zotero, it doesn't work.

What's the reason? And might it be fixable?

(BTW I haven't started a thread in ages for a very simple reason: Zotero has been working absolutely flawlessly and serves all my referencing and citation needs.)
  • I don't believe this should be any different from in, say, the Firefox bookmarks manager. Can you try there? Unfortunately, if it's the same there, I'm not sure how much we can do to fix this (at least without reimplementing Firefox's tree keyboard navigation functionality).
    (BTW I haven't started a thread in ages for a very simple reason: Zotero has been working absolutely flawlessly and serves all my referencing and citation needs.)
    (I was wondering about that. That's great to hear.)
  • I don't have very many bookmarks, so maybe the comparison isn't perfect, but FWIW, I don't get the problem in the bookmark manager.

    E.g. typing MPI quickly brings me to the bookmark MPI, while typing M, P, I more slowly brings me to bookmarks starting with M, P, and I successively. That is exactly what I would expect.

    In Zotero it feels like a caching issue. As if the engine isn't warm yet when I start a session. Also if I've run Zotero in the background for a long time and I go back to it. The sluggishness you get then comes together with those weird fits and starts in locating items. Not that that helps...
  • Sounds like a library-size issue (which would explain why mark isn't seeing this in the bookmarks manager). For my 3k (top level) library this works exactly as expected, but that also doesn't freeze at all when I use this.

    So I think the issue is something along the lines of Zotero freezing at the first keystroke and then registering the 2nd one a lot later.

    mark--if you do this within a mid-sized collection, I assume it's working fine?
  • @adamsmith, yep, doing this in collections or in a saved search with up to 1000 items the problem does not occur. So it is a size issue then.

    I mentioned caching because it doesn't always happen. Firefox likely does some caching of the relevant items such that if it has done a search operation like this before it does it faster next time. But that cache appears to be emptied after some interval of time because the issue almost always occurs when I do this kind of search after not having used Z for a few hours.
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