Custom citation issues

edited January 5, 2017
There are a couple of UX issues around the way custom citations work in the Classic and the Quick Entry modes that sometimes catch out students in our faculty. I suspect that they would be tough to fix, but I'll put them up here as desiderata.

Here is the current state of play:
  1. In Classic mode, citations can be edited inside the dialog box. After a citation has been edited in this way, no warning is issued (in either mode) when the citation is later opened for updating.
  2. For Quick Entry mode, citations can be edited directly in the word processor. After a citation text has been modified, Zotero will issue a warning when the citation is later opened for editing (in either mode).
Here are the issues:
  • If a custom citation of type (1) is opened and closed in Quick Entry mode (changing a page reference, etc), the update completes without error, but the citation remains unchanged.
  • If a custom citation of type (2) modifies only formatting (adding boldface, for example), no warning is issued, but a change to the citation in either mode (changing a page reference, etc) will discard the user's formatting without notice.
The first issue affects users who customize citations in Classic mode, and later update them in Quick Entry mode, which can happen over the life of a project. The second issue affects users working in Quick Entry mode.

Ideally, it would be nice if:
  • The warning message were issued for both type (1) and type (2) custom citations (and issued even when only the formatting has been changed), but only when Quick Entry mode is set as the default; and
  • A citation modified in the word processor could be made to appear in the Classic citation editor.
From what I know about how citation editing works under the hood, I suspect that either of these "fixes" would be hard to implement. I think that both would require that Zotero acquire text content from the word processor, and I don't know if that is even possible. The technical obstacle is not obvious to most users, and if it could be overcome, the UX would be smoother for some.
  • Issue 2 should definitely be fixed if possible, but I wonder if issue 1 (and related issues) might be best fixed by fully deprecating Classic mode and incorporating its only benefit (browsing) in some other way (e.g., a Browse Library button in Quick Entry, a button to insert the currently selected reference(s), or both).
  • fully deprecating Classic mode and incorporating its only benefit (browsing) in some other way
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