How to make a separate bibliography for different chapters of the thesis in one document?

How to make a separate bibliography for different chapters of the thesis in one document via Zotero? It may be too messy to write different chapters in different documents and then combine them. Is it possible I can contact with professional developers of Zotero if no methods can be provided in this forum? Thank you so much!
  • (This forum is the place to talk with the developers and active knowledgeable community members. They read every post.)

    There currently is no way to have separate bibliographies by chapter. The easiest approach is to keep the chapters as separate documents. What concerns do you have about doing it that way?
  • Thanks a lot for the response. Of course it will cause much more trouble to have each chapter as separate document and combine them each time before submission to have respective reference list. This is the big concern. In the near future, dose Zetero will become more powerful to have this function? It may not be a big technical barrier for your professional and smart program developers. Thank you so much!
  • edited October 19, 2016
    I don't think this is in the short term agenda, no.
    I also really don't understand why this would cause "much more trouble." You'll have an easier time with smaller Word documents in other ways, too, and I'd recommend authoring chapters separately anyway.
    Stripping field codes and pasting files into a single document takes 5mins if you work slowly. You can probably do it in 1min.
  • edited October 21, 2016
    It is possible (and I don't know without further testing) that the Scrivener editor instead of Word could be configured to achieve this required separation of Chapters and bibliographies.

    Scrivener .. .. is designed to break up Chapters into separate files and they are only brought together at composition time (publishing).

    As I emphasise above .. this is just an untested idea. I have Scrivener running on Ubuntu but it runs on other platforms.
  • At least the second option wouldn't work, unfortunately, since that relies on Zotero in LibreOffice to do the actual creation of the bibliography. Not sure if using BBT, markdown, and pandoc will let you produce chapter bibliographies, but at that point we're also looking at a pretty significant setup.
  • This is an issue. We need to be able to have separate bibliographies for the chapters, but they need to be in the same document for creating the table of contents, table of tables, etc. I have created mine as separate documents with separate bibliographies and am in the process of combining the documents. I am worried that a last-minute edit with a new citation is going to cause chaos in all of the bibliographies. I will see if I can look up instructions on stripping the field codes...
    Sadly this is probably the only time anyone ever needs to make a separate bibliography for each chapter.
  • Found instructions for stripping the field codes in Word -
    1) Ctrl + A to select all text
    2) Ctrl + 6 to delete the codes.
    Note- it needs to be done last because your bibliography won't update without the codes.

    So, to get separate bibliographies for individual chapters in a document:
    1) create each chapter as a separate document (easy in my case since I am doing a 3 article dissertation)
    2) Copy and paste all documents into your final document in the order you want them in.
    3) Strip the codes
    4) Create your table of contents, etc. Stripping the codes does not remove the style information denoting headings etc. I am not sure how the table caption numbering will work out, but it was messed up anyway because it was trying to number sequentially for all chapters and I now need it to include the chapter in front of the table number.... Ah the joys of graduate education :)
  • That's not quite ideal as a workflow. In particular
    1) Use unlink citations in the Zotero Word add-on rather than removing all field codes, which will possibly break other Word functionality, depending on what you used.
    2) Do so in copies(!) of the chapters before pasting them into a single document to make absolutely sure they don't start updating the whole document.
  • I did not see instructions for unlinking the citations within the Word add on in any of the discussions on multiple bibliographies that I read through. Everything mentioned "stripping field codes" and those pointed me to Word rather than the Word plug-in from Zotero. Can you explain the process?

    I completely agree with removing the field codes in copies before combining them :) I was a bit further along in my process when I made the discovery that I needed to remove the codes.
  • edited September 29, 2018
    There's a button in the Zotero word processor add-on:
    It used to be called "Remove field codes" (hence the references) and is now "unlink citations". Does the same thing, though.
  • Excellent! Thanks :)
  • Hi there - I've tried this but it doesn't seem to work. Unlink citations in separate chapters, copy and paste into Word for Mac master document, but Chapter 2 starts with footnote number 55 (not at 1 as in original chapter doc).
    I tried 'unlink citations' on master doc as well but that doesn't help
  • Foontote numbering isn't handled by Zotero but by Word. You can google your Word version with something like "restart footnote numbering in section" for instructions. The rest will work as above.
  • Okay thanks - that works. Word allows footnote numbering with each new section.
  • By the way - is there any way to "relink citations" after you have "unlinked them?"
  • No. Unlinking converts them to plain text with no way to recover the hidden information from Zotero in the field. Instead, you must save a backup of the original, and then go back to that file if you need to make additional changes.
  • I appreciate that this is an old discussion, but would add my support for somehow allowing several separate bibliographies in one document. I work on documents with >25 sections, each which require a separate bibliography as well as a global bibliography for the whole document.
  • Just to keep this thread alive and see if there are any updates... I am facing the same issue but as Carla Allen points out this may be of limited utility. If you are working on a dissertation and finish the chapters separately and combine them, then do all the required formatting and send the document out you are going to get back required edits. How can I make edits that involve adding a citation without messing up the whole biblio? In this case it seems i have to go back to the chapters, make the edits, reassemble them, then fight the formatting issues all over again. Maybe Zotero could have some functionality that allows it to recognize different biblios by section breaks? Even if I am not adding a citations, but am editing one, just putting the edit through really seems to foul up the entire document. Any tips or suggestions really appreciated!
  • Nothing new and I don't think this is likely to change any time soon -- working with things like section breaks in Word via add-ons is going to be complex and fragile and while I understand this is inconvenient to do, it's a pretty rare scenario overall (even in the context of a dissertation you're unlikely to do this more than twice).
    Even if I am not adding a citations, but am editing one, just putting the edit through really seems to foul up the entire document.
    That's shouldn't be the case, though -- make sure you have citations unlinked in your final doc.
  • great tip, I still had them linked so that should help with one of the steps. Thanks for the feedback.
  • Hi All,

    first a big Thanks for Zotero - I don't know how I would have managed my thesis witout it!

    Now to the issue: my final thesis was compiled from 11 sections with 11 biliographies. Then my superviser wanted (and kindly implemented himself) ammendmends several times. Each time I had to reconstruct the changes in the individual documents and re-compile. Then the same after the viva! Adding or removing just one reference means that I have to rebuild everything AND also re-do all the post-formatting (such as restart numbering of word tables, figure, footnotes, section numbers, etc.; MS Word is rather imperfect here!).

    Now I am in the process of writing a book. Same issue: Springer wants a bibliography per chapter. If the reviewer suggest a new reference or wants one removed or even if I only want to add or remove a page number in the citation ... you get the picture...

    So, sorry for the long post, just wanted to give a personal account why I believe that multiple bibliograpihes will make Zotero even greater!

    Best wishes,
  • I'm with Richard! Writing a book and really need references at the end of each chapter rather than one long reference at the end.
  • Hi all,

    First, the "lack of utility" statements are a little besides the point, and also runs counter my experience (and apparently that of others). And maintining separate documents isn't really a fix but a workaround (and one that is far too error prone in any kind of substantial writing effort, as poitned out above).

    More to the point: why would implementation rely on e.g. "section breaks in Word"? Wouldn't it be pretty straightforward to include an option to label each citation with one or more labels, and then when inserting reference lists using _all_ citations as default (same functionality as now) and only those matching a list of labes provided when inserting the ref list, if such a list is provided?

    citation C1 (label:)
    citation C2 (label:)
    citation C3 (label:L1)
    citation C4 (label:L1, L2)
    citation C5 (label:L2)

    reflist - no labels, inserts C1-C4 as deafult
    reflist (label L1) - inserts C3, C4
    reflist (label L2) - inserts C4, C5
    reflist (label L1, L2) - inserts C3, C4, C5

    I find it hard to believe that this is going to mess too much with any codebase? So _why not_ implement? (Although I do appreciate that there may not be someone around with the skills and the time to spare.)


  • Hi Folks - adding to this discussion. As noted by others Zotero is awesome, BUT...

    Similarly, I am writing a book that requires separate references for each chapter. This is a common academic requirement. I don't want to have to navigate 8-11 separate documents. And I don't want to have to recompile the whole mess as I go through comments, revisions, edits, etc. with publishers and reviewers.

    I understand that this replicates the comments from Richard (orig. poster), quinnmccolly, BMI.Expert, patreids, and jensedlund. But (and I say this with respect) the point is that clearly there is a substantial need, and the response from devs seems to be that the workaround is easy (it's not, and it's not five minutes either) and that the problem is not an important one (particularly as noted by BMI.Expert, and jensedlund).

    So, if it's the case that it's a massive programming issue that will break Zotero, then tell us that. But I do know that Endnote does exactly what is being discussed here (but I am loathe to go back - it is expensive, and many of its other functions don't work as well as Zotero).

    Hoping for a response - and thank you for the ongoing work to continue to make this a fantastic tool.

    Thanks, Stephen.
  • edited May 24, 2021
    This isn’t something that is supported by CSL and isn’t likely to be for years if ever. It would be a massive programming for Zotero to implement something like this on top of CSL. For a book length project, any of the word processor plugins will likely slow down enough to create a very unpleasant writing experience. Working with separate documents for each chapter will be much faster and smoother experience because of that. So, there isn’t much upside to spending all of the development time needed to support a workflow with significant downsides.

    I have written numerous books with Zotero including revisions from publishers. I’ve never had an objection to keeping the chapters in separate documents until the final text is complete and accepted. Personally, I find navigating large documents in Word to be very difficult and slow (even without Zotero) and find keeping the chapters separate in my book folder much easier to navigate.
  • OK - thanks for this - it sounds as thought the programming issues in Zotero's CSL are too big. Appreciate the explanation.
  • I think this would be very useful as well.
  • Hi All

    I see that this issue is still rumbling on. I am still grappling with the need to have both a global bibliography and section-specific bibliography in some reports that I write. I have been lobbying for a format change in the reports, but to no avail.

    Looking at the comment from bwiernik above it looks like this is a non-trivial request. If this is the case it looks like I will need to bite the bullet and switch to EndNote. I would do this with a heavy heart, I really like Zotero and far prefer its ethos.

    In the meantime I will hang on in hope that someone will find a solution to this issue.....

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