Duplicate Citations in Word - how to remove?


would be nice if it was possible to remove duplicate citations that were inserted into a single Word document by two different authors from two different libraries.

Here is what happens ... I merge two texts prepared by two people, each inserted the same citation but from different libraries ... there might even be a small difference between the citations, such as some fields missing. Those two citations would be clearly picked as duplicates in standalone Zotero and you could merge them ... but when these are inserted into a text they would show up as (Jones et al, 2006a and Jones et al, 2006b). It is always quite a lot of pain to get rid of this. Any solutions, ideas??

  • Currently the only solution would be to replace all of the instances of one version of the citation with the other. Zotero has no way of knowing these are the same reference.
  • edited January 10, 2017
    For future reference, there are two ways to prevent this from happening, not mutually exclusive:

    1. Use Fields and make sure to check the "Save references in document" box. That way, when citing, a box will come up with papers already cited. If you select from there Z will use that one, corresponding to the item added by whoever added it first.

    2. Use a Group library to share references and cite only from that group library.
  • Thanks for the suggestions ... this is what I feared that there is no way to do this automatically. Seems like for merging two documents ... the group library is the only way ... but the problem with this is that when you inserting a citation you get group libraries down the list and your own library at the top ... so you immediately insert from citations from your own. It is also a bit of a pain to keep multiple shared libraries when you as a PI work on multiple documents with different people.

    Would be nice if the same "Find duplicates" that Standalone Zotero has was implemented in the Word plug-in.
  • Note the first recommendation from @mark. In the Quick Search window (the default for the Word plugin), at the top of the results list are items that are already cited in the document. Choose from this list to avoid inserting duplicate references.
  • I know about this ... this is indeed helpful when you editing a document where some citations are already inserted ... the problem is only when you want to combine two documents prepared separately by two people. Then the only option then is a group library but as I say this is down on the list (understandably so) and thus you simply insert from personal library... It's not a big deal when one knows about it and everybody is doing it correctly but ... that is not always the case and then it's pain.
  • It may be possible to hack this by using search&replace in the Word fields -- I'd have to look at exactly which element Zotero uses for updating items (I think it's URI), but should be possible.
    I could absolutely see an option to "merge" two items in a document. That would also help with orphaned references (instead of replacing them all, you could insert a new one once and then merge that with the orphan).
    None of this seems super complex programmatically, but the GUI/UX issues are non-trivial and I wouldn't expect this to be super high priority. But certainly nice to have.
  • Well .. I think that it would be completely sufficient if the "Refresh Zotero" button in Word did just that ... searched for duplicates and merged/removed them. Or when one uses the "Edit Bibliography" button/window ... this could have an option to merge ... For example in my case ... I can even see there the two identical citations in the text ... but there is simply no way of merging them.
  • well no, it's never that simple. You'd have to have a selection dialog to avoid merging false positives and you'd have to be able to select which of two items the "master" item would be that provides enough information to the user.
    Again -- none of this is somehow prohibitively hard, but it needs some actual attention, not just a 20min flip-the-switch
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