Zotero 5.0 Beta

edited January 11, 2017
Today we're announcing the first beta of Zotero 5.0, the next major version of Zotero. We'd like to invite people comfortable running beta software to try it out and help get it into shape for a wider release.

Zotero 5.0 represents the biggest overhaul of the codebase in Zotero's history. While there are some new features, most changes in 5.0 are under the hood, improving Zotero's reliability and stability and laying the groundwork for major new features and other big changes coming soon.

For the initial betas, we're asking testers to pay particular attention to syncing. 5.0 includes a completely new sync architecture, designed to improve sync times, better handle very large libraries, and avoid conflicts and other interruptions. (There's also support for a slew of new sync-related capabilities, such as selective syncing of libraries and syncing of an expanded data model, that we'll be rolling out in the coming months.)

In addition to architectural changes, 5.0 includes two major new features, My Publications and Feeds:
  • My Publications allows you to easily build a list of works — articles, papers, books, etc. — that you've created and share them on your profile page on zotero.org. If you attach files — say, PDFs of papers you've authored — those files will be made publicly available to download under a license you specify. We'll also be offering ways to easily add the publications list to your own website.

  • Feeds support allows you to subscribe to RSS or Atom feeds — such as those made available by academic journals — from within Zotero. Feeds show up as libraries in Zotero's left pane, and feed entries are displayed like other items in the center pane. From there, you can browse new entries and add them to your Zotero libraries with a single click, with metadata and files automatically collected from the associated webpages.
The beta is currently available for Firefox only. Update: A Standalone beta is now available.

While we're not aware of any major issues, we don't recommend trying the beta if you're in the middle of a project or would have trouble restoring your database from a backup if you ran into problems. We also recommend avoiding syncing early betas with an account that's a member of any important shared groups.

Since 5.0 makes permanent changes to the Zotero database, you won't be able to downgrade the same database to 4.0, so you should make sure you have a complete backup of your 4.0 data directory before proceeding.

You can install the beta into Firefox by clicking here:

No longer available — see this post

Zotero Standalone 5.0 Beta builds: To report a problem, create a new forum thread and include "[5.0 Beta]" at the beginning of the thread title. You can check planned 5.0 changes to see issues we're already aware of.

Thanks for helping to improve Zotero!
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  • A couple of questions if I may:
    1. Will the My Publication feature be integrated on zotero.org or is it just intended as a tool for external websites using the API?

    2. I know this is hard to say, but could you post here when you're a bit more comfortable about this part:
    We also recommend avoiding syncing early betas with an account that's a member of any important shared groups.
    I'd like to run beta on my regular account and as you know I'm happy to have the occasional thing break for me personally, but I'm synced to several work libraries that I can't have breaking. Would welcome any thoughts on that.
  • Dear Dan,
    I started to try zotero 5 beta. Three remarks:

    • I can't synchronize. The bug report is number 1459467185

    • The RSS feature is great BUT we should be able to sort them. Having an non-hierarchized list of RSS feeds is not usable for heavy RSS feeds user such as I am

    • The My Publication feature is great and, to answer @adamsmith, yes it is already integrated to zotero.org (see my profile). BUT: it should be sorted differently on zotero.org: first book, then book chapters, then articles, then blog posts.
    Thanks for your work, it's amazing to have a new and very fluid zotero.
    Best,
    Frédéric
  • Frédéric: Thanks for trying this out. Could you start a new thread for that sync error and provide a Debug ID for a sync attempt that produces the error?
  • While I am - as always - very grateful for all the good work that goes into making Zotero the powerful tool that it undoubtedly is, I wonder why this:
    My Publications allows you to easily build a list of works — articles, papers, books, etc. — that you've created and share them on your profile page on zotero.org.
    is being done, when it largely replicates what ORCID are doing (the latter having integration with many major publishers).

    Has any thought been given to closer integration with ORCID, as discussed on these forums over the last couple of years (and recently)?
  • My Publications allows you to share the full text of your own works, which ORCID doesn't (and shouldn't). One of its intended uses is easy integration with institutional repositories (initially, I believe, only Sufia/Hydra, but it's API-driven, so could work with all of them). For ORCID more generally, I'd take that back to the original thread rather than divert this one.
  • This is not a diversion; my question is specifically about the duplication of "build a list of works — articles, papers, books, etc. — that you've created", and whether that can be devolved to (or done automatically from) the existing service provided by ORCID.
  • Right, and that's the part that I answered (full text sharing; might not be the only reason, but it's in itself sufficient). But then you also ask
    Has any thought been given to closer integration with ORCID, as discussed on these forums over the last couple of years (and recently)?
    and a pinnned announcement thread at the top of the forum isn't the place to discuss that.
  • It seems to me that full text sharing is optional ("*If* you attach files..."), and that there is an expectation that some people will list their works (many of which will be hosted elsewhere, or not avialable for sharing) without doing so.

    I asked about integration with ORCID, to determine, as I said, "whether [the compilation of a list of one's works] can be devolved to (or done automatically from) the existing service provided by ORCID".

    Is there another thread, about the 5.0beta, that I've missed?
  • ORCID integration is planned. Beyond that, discussion should go in the existing thread:

    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/57892/vote-for-import-publication-from-zotero-to-orcid/
  • But yes, as adamsmith says, My Publications is designed to allow public file sharing (which we don't otherwise allow), as well as for integration with other services such as institutional repositories (and, eventually, ORCID) right from the Zotero client.
  • Hello, I've been testing the 5.0 beta for a few weeks now, I'm afraid that it turned out quite unstable for me. The UI often freezes Firefox in its entirety, and selecting an item from the list will not update the detail view in the right pane (leaving it in its previous state). I can provide further detail if needed via separate bug reports.
  • @steko:
    To report a problem, create a new forum thread and include "[5.0 Beta]" at the beginning of the thread title.
    In this case, Dan will want debug output covering the observed freezes or lack of updating
    https://www.zotero.org/support/debug_output
  • steko: I'm hoping the UI freezing you were seeing is now fixed in the latest build, r18. If not, start a new thread and include a Report ID.
  • @dan: deactivating all plugins such as LibreOffice integration and Better Bibtex improved a lot the situation with r17, now I upgraded to r19 and will report any issues accordingly. Perhaps this thread could be updated with notices of new beta releases? (I don't know if there is an automatic upgrade mechanism in place for beta).
  • Congratulations. Works fine for me (apart from Zotfile renaming, which isn't your fault). Feeds is especially fantastic and much welcomed. Unbelievably easy to now get articles into the right place in my library.

    Thanks for your hard work.
  • I'd like to run beta on my regular account and as you know I'm happy to have the occasional thing break for me personally, but I'm synced to several work libraries that I can't have breaking. Would welcome any thoughts on that.
    We've implemented selective syncing in the beta, which gives you the option of choosing which libraries to sync. That would let you run 5.0 in a separate profile without syncing those libraries and only work with those libraries in the 4.0 profile. (For setting up the new profile, either copying over the zotero.sqlite or syncing down should work. For a separate profile, download-on-demand mode is probably preferable.)
  • I would love to try out the beta, but am currently doing nearly all of my major work in two group libraries. I'm excited to hear when you think the beta will be stable enough to work with group libraries.
  • Thanks Dan -- I had actually missed that & that's perfect for me. Will try to get to running the beta properly soon.
  • edited August 11, 2016
    I'd like to try the Beta but do not wish to risk any corruption or issues with my existing Zotero database. I could test the 5.0 beta on a spare computer or I could create a new Firefox profile on my main computer. In either case, I will create a new Zotero profile so my main Zotero profile remains untouched. I could start the new Zotero profile with a blank library and add items, or copy my existing Zotero library over. Any thoughts/suggestions?

    Also, how about we create a group and ask select Zotero users to subscribe to it so we can test group features in 5.0 beta?
  • I'd copy the existing library over -- better to test with a larger library. I'm already running multiple non-critical groups without problems and you could do the same with a self-created test group.
  • The beta version is coming along nicely. Thanks for all your hard work!

    I've noticed one issue with feeds, but it may not be related to Zotero at all. A few of my subscriptions show up as unread each day, despite nothing being updated in them. All entries will show as unread and show a time stamp of 12:00AM of whatever the current day is.
  • jsethlee: Could you share an example feed URL this is happening for?
  • Dan: Of course, I should have thought of that earlier.

    There are three in total:
    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/milton_studies/latest_articles.xml
    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/studies_in_english_literature/latest_articles.xml
    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/studies_in_the_age_of_chaucer/latest_articles.xml

    I just noticed that they're all from ProjectMUSE, so it could be an issue on their end.
  • (@Dan -- just in case it might be related -- though I believe it shouldn't -- note that our ProjectMuse translator is currently broken, but articles should import via EM)
  • In addition to the ScienceDirect RSS problem where they have set the auto-recognize to a different journal's feed; the same problem of read items being converted to unread occurs each day. I have reported both problems. After several email exchanges (with me pointing out that both problems exist with the RSS utilities in Chrome and Firefox in addition to Zotero) the ScienceDirect helpdesk representative said: 1) the auto-recognize sometimes works and that the series of subscribe screens always works; and 2) the conversion of read to unread is really their means of making sure that the most up-to-date item is always available for preprint items. The rep said that when Mendeley features RSS feeds the software will properly handle the feeds. I found myself beginning to become annoyed at that point so I stopped writing to Elsevier.

    I have had a similar read items becoming marked as unread with Project Muse journal feeds. My correspondence with them was a little bit more productive. They acknowledged that the problem exists but said that they don't know why it exists. I didn't get the impression that this was a priority. In fact, the help representative seemed pleasantly surprised that anyone was using their RSS feeds. I offered the idea that more folks might use the feeds if they worked as intended and pointed out that other publishers' feeds did not have this problem.
  • Thanks for the followup. I've found the new feed feature in 5.0 to be one of its biggest draws. The hardest problem is trying to find a feed URL from the journals.
  • Yeah, that's definitely a feed problem — you can search the feed source for "00:00:00" to see that everything is set to the last midnight. Not sure there's much we can do other than hard-code some rules to ignore updated timestamps on certain feeds, but we'll investigate. Thanks.
  • No worries. For me it's a very minor inconvenience at best.
  • At least with Muse journal feeds, the newest items are at the top. With the SD feeds, newer items can anywhere in the list. If Zotero can devise a way to identify new items notwithstanding the publishers' time stamps, that would be wonderful. No, it would be amazing. Thanks.
  • edited August 25, 2016
    DWL: Are you sure about that? As far as I know we currently sort only by the order that items were added to the database (i.e., by item id), so it shouldn't be possible for new items to appear elsewhere in the list unless they're actually getting new ids in the feed (which would result in duplicates).

    After some discussion, I don't think we'd do anything to address the reverting to unread from the updated timestamps — that's really a problem for publishers to fix, and adding workarounds removes their incentives to do so. So if anyone is seeing that, I'd suggest following DWL's example and contacting the the publisher responsible.
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