Explain Items List

When first starting the standalone version, one goes to File > New Item and sees the list of all the available items (item types?). However, where does one find an explanation of what they each are?
  • That doesn't exist, sorry. We once started a bit of this, but it's a lot of work and they're also flexible categories to some extent. If you have specific questions we can answer them here
  • I see.

    My first use of the program takes me to File, then New Item, which seems to be the correct way to start doing something. But as i mentioned, without an explanation for these items, how does one choose which to select?
  • You generally want to import items using the browser button, not manually:
    https://www.zotero.org/support/getting_stuff_into_your_library

    Otherwise, like @adamsmith says, the categories are flexible. Use Journal Article for academic journals, Magazine Article for non-academic magazines, Book Sections for chapters, Report for documents issued by companies or agencies, etc. We can be a lot more helpful if you tell us what sort of item you are having trouble classifying and we can recommend an appropriate type for it.
  • It might be good to read and understand my initial post. In it one would clearly see that I am attempting to use the program for the first time. The common usage of programs thru the last thirty years has been to start by opening a new page, file, document or whatever.

    If one takes that standard approach, then one is faced with the confusing list as I mentioned.
  • Which is why we do everything to direct people away from manually creating new items: first-run guidance bubbles, a welcome to Zotero introduction, quick start info on the homepage...
    And for the most part that's working -- we get a lot of questions here, but your confusion about File --> New Item is very, very rare.
    I'm sorry this was confusing to you and if you have specific questions left I'm happy to help, but I'm not interested in a general discussion about this.
  • What the heck is a first-run guidance bubble?
  • It's a pop-up (bubble) which appears the first time (first-run) you perform an action in Zotero and which give you some explanation about it (guidance).

    Examples:
    Author Menu: "Zotero lets you specify editors and translators, too. You can turn an author into an editor or translator by selecting from this menu."

    Quick Format Citation Dialog: "Type a title or author to search for a reference. After you've made your selection, click the bubble or press Ctrl-↓ to add page numbers, prefixes, or suffixes. You can also include a page number along with your search terms to add it directly. You can edit citations directly in the word processor document.

    Save Button: "Click this button to save any web page to your Zotero library. On some pages, Zotero will be able to save full details, including author and date."
  • Ah, a Speech Balloon. Thanks, Gracile. I sometimes call it a dialogue balloon, but I have never seen that pop-up yet. When exactly should I have seen it?

    The most useful and most common method for that sort of thing in today's computer programming is a mouse cursor hover-over pop-up.

    Also, I noticed that the center pane displays "Zotero Quick Start Guide", but when one expands it down it only says "Welcome to Zotero". There is no guide. Do you happen to know anything about that?

    I even noticed that the Firefox add-on that was promised with the stand-alone install, never happened. Obviously, the whole instructions thing leaves a lot to be desired.
  • As far as I remember, the "Zotero Quick Start Guide" note you can see in the center pane has a link, but I might be wrong.
    Anyway https://www.zotero.org/start shows up when you first install Zotero.
    I even noticed that the Firefox add-on that was promised with the stand-alone install, never happened.
    What was promised? Are you referring to Zotero 5.0 which is in beta at the moment and will provide (as you can read in the changelog):
    A Unified Zotero Experience

    The two full versions of Zotero, Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone have been replaced by a single standalone application for users of all browsers. A new Zotero Connector for Firefox, similar to the extensions available for Chrome and Safari, allows you to save to the Zotero desktop application or zotero.org in a single click.
    If you're a current Zotero for Firefox user, you'll be automatically upgraded to the Zotero Connector for Firefox, and you should install the Zotero application if you don't have it already.
    Blog post forthcoming with additional details

    See also this post.
  • You're correct. I missed this “Make sure to also add the appropriate Zotero Connector for your browser”. I thought it would prompt me when I installed the stand alone. My mistake.

    By the way, how does a connector differ from an addon or plugin?

    Why didn't the standalone simply say to install both? In fact, if one's browser is not supported, it would be better to know that first by being directed to install the addon first. Doesn't that make sense?
  • edited 2 days ago
    I thought it would prompt me when I installed the stand alone.
    It does. In addition to the text on the download page ("Next, add one of the following browser extensions:"), Standalone opens a start page on first run that says to install the connector.
  • Thanks for that; I was sure hoping I was not seeing things. But sadly it did not happpen.
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