Warn user if browser importing citation from journal website that already exists in library?

I have a big library, and it's obviously hard for me to mentally keep track of which papers I've put in it. I often find myself with many citations ending up in the duplicates folder because I pull them multiple times off the Journal website.

Could the browser plug-ins for Zotero warn you if you are going to do this? Or could Zotero Standalone alert you when you are adding a duplicate and give a "cancel/merge-newer/merger-older/keep-separate" option?
  • Also, relatedly: when I am cleaning out my duplicates folder, it should be possible to delete an individual item (say, because you realize it is inferior to its brother). But right now, if you right-click on it and hit "delete", then both are deleted!
  • Could the browser plug-ins for Zotero warn you if you are going to do this? Or could Zotero Standalone alert you when you are adding a duplicate and give a "cancel/merge-newer/merger-older/keep-separate" option?
    There's some technical discussion here https://groups.google.com/d/msg/zotero-dev/yJLUTttGMXk/22i1GRuyQ7UJ with a plugin for Firefox that at least used to work (not sure if it still does) Other than that, nothing of the sort is currently available. It's a frequently asked-for feature, but it's difficult to implement, so it probably won't come very soon.
    when I am cleaning out my duplicates folder, it should be possible to delete an individual item (say, because you realize it is inferior to its brother). But right now, if you right-click on it and hit "delete", then both are deleted!
    It's not terribly convenient, but you Ctrl/Cmd+click to de-select items from the selected group.
  • Thanks very much for the info. It's a shame that development stalled on the duplication detector (I use Chrome and Standalone), but I understand there's a big list feature requests out there that have priority. Cheers.
  • You can also Alt/Option click individual items in the Duplicates view to select individual items.
  • The Ctrl+Click and Alt+Click options are handy. Thanks.

    From the discussion on the page provided by aurimas, it seems the plugin works fine for the most part. But then it hasn't been updated for over 2 years. Does any one use it regularly and can commit how effective it is. Or, does it have any serious issues, so better avoid. Further, is this for Zotero with Firefox or some other configuration?

    Further, how do I get the plugin? I am looking at this page:

    I downloaded the zip from the right column, but instructions for Windows users is confusing me.
  • It's for Zotero for Firefox only. Any time you use Standalone it won't work. I used it a fair amount back when it came out and never had problems. I'm not aware of anyone using this regularly right now, but the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work properly and then you can uninstall it. I don't think there is any chance it would break something irreversable.

    I've put it up on dropbox since these instructions always confused people:
    (I'll note that you should trust people you download Firefox add-ons from. They can be used to pretty much take over and/or monitor your browser).
    If you want to do it yourself, download the zip, unzip it, go two levels down so you see the various "chrome" files&folders, create a new zip file with those three in it, change the file extension to .xpi and open it in Firefox.
  • I use it regularly. It works well (with the caveat that it doesn't work in Standalone). Also, it can't tell when an item is in the currently selected library or another one, so if you use groups a lot, you may find that it gives you a lot of false positives.
  • Thanks, adamsmith. I was able to download, install, and test the add-on. It appears to be doing what it should be doing.

    bwiernik, thanks for confirming. The Standalone and library points do not affect me. I hope the add-on does not slow down the process of acquiring items from the browser window because it is running duplicate checks. The check probably takes only a fraction of a second for a library with 2-3 thousand primary items?
  • I see no noticeable difference in speed with a much larger database.
  • Okay, great.
  • Just started using this addon and it appear to work great, thanks!
  • aurimas, I am just a simple Zotero user. I therefore cannot appreciate the depth of the problems preventing any implementation of a bullet-proof duplicate check during import. And I understand the drive to do one's job as complete as possible. However, for my simple needs (as probably for many more simple users) the addon by Chris Johnson-Robertson works in most cases, if not all. Thank God Chris did not know such an addon was a nonsense! And my thanks to adamsmith for providing the repacked file - made my simple life even simpler :-)
  • I have no idea why you're addressing aurimas here in such a hostile way--he provided a bunch of helpful information, including the link to the thread where Chris introduced his add-on and the (still correct) prognosis that a full implementation in Zotero (including standalone) is likely not going to happen any time soon.
    I don't see how you could find that answer anything but helpful.
  • Well, I am sorry. I did not mean to sound hostile. I just vented my feeling (maybe frustration) that too many useful things ("frequently asked-for features") are never created only because there is no feasible way to make them perfect. They often end up as a discussion thread about why it cannot be done. I was probably too sarcastic. It was by no means a personal attack against anybody here. Thank you all for keeping Zotero alive and great and us, simple users, informed how to do what we want to do.
  • edited February 24, 2015
    There are very good reasons for that.
    1. Half-baked solutions create double the work -- you first need to implement them in a half-baked way, then again properly.
    2. In the process you may actually make things _harder_ to get right in the future because you need to maintain some legacy solution.
    3. They are a nightmare to support. We'd constantly get questions from users who are on Standalone why the feature isn't working.

    So yes, for most things, Zotero's approach is to do them once, and do them properly. That does mean sometimes they take a (relatively) long time to materialize, and add-ons like Chris's are actually ideal for bridging that gap.
  • WRT "It's a frequently asked-for feature, but it's difficult to implement": just curious to know, why is it difficult to implement this feature WHILE the file is getting added to the system, when the same feature (of identifying duplicates) is already implemented AFTER the addition of the file (in the system)?
  • If you're interested in the technical details, the thread linked by aurimas in the 3rd post above has a longer discussion.
  • It was very useful, thanks.
  • edited June 16, 2015
    Would it be possible to update this addon to provide a third option - "Update" - when a duplicate is detected? Currently, user can cancel the operation or continue to add the item to the library (thus creating a duplicate).

    I think an update (of fields of existing item) feature will be handy when the existing item has inaccurate or incomplete meta data. This happens to me often because I add articles soon after they are announced. At that moment, the item is "as accepted" on the journal website, and without volume or serial numbers assigned. However, the DOI is assigned, so matching items is not an issue. When the final article is published, I'd like to simply update existing entry.
  • I don't think the add-on is actively maintained, so unless someone else takes it up, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
    We do have an updating feature planned in Zotero, though. Also not going to happen super soon, but that pretty much definitely will.
  • edited June 17, 2015
    Thanks, adamsmith. Good to know an update feature is planned in Zotero. When that becomes available, will it also do a duplicate check first?

    Other than the update feature, this utility works great and has been a great help. If Chris (the author) is around I'd like to thank him and request for adding the update feature :)
  • Hi: I've been using the "prevent duplicates" add-on, but with FF43 and above, users are prevented from installing unsigned add-ons and any unsigned add-ons that are already installed are disabled (with the FF upgrade). At this point it is possible to circumvent (setting xpinstall.signatures.required to false), but this is valid for all unsigned add-ons, and this approach is valid till FF46 (no override).

    Is it possible to get this add-on signed? Thx in adv.
  • I'm planning on doing that, but can't promise I'll be in time until FF46 (I'm not the creator, but have talked to them and gotten the green light).
  • Thanks, adamsmith. You may also want to share any recent news on the "updating feature planned in Zotero", that you had mentioned as a response to gurdas' comment.
  • When is FF46 expected? This page says April 19, 2016:

    Associated thread:
  • As opposed to Zotero (unless required for FF compatibility), Firefox is on a firm release schedule, so April 19th is it.
  • +1 to this - is this available yet?
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