Extracting Metadata from ODF (OpenOffice.org) files

Open Office (OOo) can store author and description metadata according to DublinCore standards but when OO documents are viewed in Firefox 2 (using the ODF reader plugin) no metadata is extracted when the 'Create New Item from this page' in Zotero.

I would like to use Zotero as a tool for organising libraries of ODT files that can be either locally stored or on a server. In the latter case it is in principle possible to refine the metadata offered by presenting the links through a web interface, but when using firefox to browse to a locally stored odt file it does not seem possible extract the ODT stored metadata in a simple way.

Am I doing something wrong or should zotero be able to extract data from file:///...testfile.odt url's. Can it do this for file:///...testfile2.pdf references - I would prefer to use the OOo format as a the definitive references as it is always editable.


  • No, Zotero can not currently import useful data from ODF. A related request is:
  • Worth noting, too, that ODF 1.2 and OOo 3 are getting robust, RDF-based, extensible metadata support.
  • I have just downloaded OOo 3.0 onto my intel mac and will be trying it out quite shortly - is there a quick intro to using RDF in this situation for the less initiated.


  • edited November 7, 2008
    If you're an end user & are using the 3.0 release, I don't think you can do much with it yet.

    In the context of this thread, OO.o still uses meta.xml for the metadata that is used in your document.

    I believe Bruce's note was a mere reminder to developers to leverage this feature, that he helped to develop.
  • Yes, noksagt's interpretation is correct. Also, this feature isn't yet implemented in OOo. I believe it should be coming in 3.1, but am not sure.
  • I am very much thinking of developing applications that would use ODF files as a core file format for archived information. I would like to get as much metadata linkage into zotero as I can because I very much like Z (assuming I can ever get ODF files to render in the firefox window on my mac - GRRR !!) There are a couple of use cases for this:

    1) point firefox at a local ODF archive - press 'create new item for current page' and let zotero create a new citation record, which you would hope pulls out the relevant metadata and also stores a local copy of the file in the zotero archive

    2) serve the archived ODF files off a server with a web interface that can do a bit of processing behind the scenes to put the metadata/citation data into whatever fancy COINs or other format that zotero can pick up.

    In the second case it should be possible for our web server code to pick out the meta.xml file and present the citation data to zotero in a format that it likes, but in the first case we must rely on internal mechanisms within zotero - the question is then how might it work ? Can anyone point to any useful references on this ?
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