File “abbreviations.json” Does Not Work


I would like the Zotero FireFox plugin to set Journal Abbreviations based on pairs specified in a file “abbreviations.json”. It does not seem to work.

Find a condensed version of the file contents below. Is the initial information specified correctly?

"info": {
"name":"Economics & Management Journal Title Abbreviations"
"default": {
"container-title": {
"abacus-a journal of accounting finance and business studies": "AJAFB",
"academia-revista latinoamericana de administracion": "ARLA",
"zeitschrift fur wirtschaftsgeographie": "ZFW",
"container-title-word": {
"economics": "E",

I have copied the “abbreviations.json” to the directory where “zotero.sqlite” is located. Is that the right location?

Is there any other reason why the file does not work?

Thank you for your help,

  • Did you test the complete file with a JSON validator such as
  • Rintze,

    thank you for your response. I have now verified the file at There were minor errors that I have now corrected. Unfortunately, the "Journal Abbreviations" are still not set to what is specified in the file. For example, if I import a paper from "The Journal of Finance", both the Jounal Title and the Journal Abbreviation Fields in Zotero show "The Journal of Finance". I would like the Journal Abbreviation to show: "JF".

    Thank you for your help. Gejir
  • You are misunderstanding what the "abbreviations.json" file is used for. It is used by the Zotero Word/LibreOffice plugins to automatically abbreviate titles in documents, in lieu of using the Journal Abbreviation field. When importing items into Zotero using a web translator, Zotero simply imports whatever metadata is supplied by the journal web page, including for the Journal Abbreviation field.
  • Thank you, that indeed explains it. Strangely, even that does not seem to work for me. When I insert citations in MS Word document using Zotero Word Plugin based on Zotero Standalone, the Journal Abbreviation in the list of references is based on the contents of the Journal Abbreviation field in my database rather than on what it should be transformed to using the "abbreviations.json" file.

    Anyway, is there a way to override the Journal Abbreviation field when importing metadata supplied by the journal web page? Thank you.
  • In the Word document, click the Document Preferences option in the Zotero tab and make sure the “Automatically abbreviate journal titles” option is checked. That will tell Zotero to use the Abbreviations.json list.

    Import is entirely driven by the web page data. There is not currently a way to automatically change what gets stored in the Journal Abbr field.
  • Thank you, bwiernik. I cannot find the "Automatically abbreviate journal titles" option. In MS Word I go to Zotero Tab in the upper menu, then "Document Preferences" icon? If that is correct, I can only chose the citation style, between fields and bookmarks and whether to store the references in the document. Is that the window that you have in the mind?
  • The option only appears for styles that require abbreviated journal titles (e.g., Cell but not APA). What style are you using?
  • Bwiernik, you are right. I see the option "Automatically abbreviate journal titles" appearing and disappearing when I change the choice of the citation style. A bit funny. I would expect the check box to be visible but perhaps in grey when I choose a citation style when the option is not applicable (because it does not allow for abbreviating journal titles). Anyway, now all works well and the journal titles get abbreviated as defined in the “abbreviations.json” when the "Automatically abbreviate journal titles" option is selected. Thank you for your help, it was very useful. Gejir.
  • I'm using a style that I am presently coding. How would I code it in the style to make it Automatically abbreviate journal titles?
  • Add form=“short” when you call container-title for journal articles.
  • bwiernik, maybe what I'm trying to do can't be done. The author of the style guide asked me that if an author name is very long, like in the case of some statutes or such, that the author name in the intext citation be in the long form in the first instance and then abbreviated in subsequent instances. I thought I could do it by using the abbreviation application, but now I'm not sure it can be done. Can you tell me if I'm trying to achieve the impossible?
  • The Abbreviations Filter plugin should be able to do that, but I haven’t used it extensively. If you don’t have a lot of them, what I usually do is just to enter the author’s name as the short form and put the long form as a prefix to the first citation.
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