Multiple entries in DB

I've got an issue that has arisen because of the existence within our LAN of a master Zotero DB, and a backup Zotero DB. Occasionally in the last year, if the drive w/ the master DB was inaccessible, when starting up Zotero it would find the backup DB elsewhere and use it (w/o telling me this was happening). The result is that because of synching (we have an unlimited-sized account @ Zotero), new items (as a randomly-named directory) would be saved to that back-up DB, even if there was already a copy of the document in another randomly-named directory in the 'storage' dir. (Likely caused when the Master DB was synched/backed-up with the secondary copy??)

Now I have up to four copies of the same document in differently named directories scattered throughout the master DB... Zotero 'copy' or 'merge' functions don't seem to see these multiples as actual items... Any way of easily identifying and purging the DB of these extraneous copies? I have had to laboriously open folders from the Master DB and see which of the several directories that the 'Master' item is in , and then delete the others...

Kind of a convoluted problem that may point to the need to change my back-up concept.
  • I'm not really following. Items in Zotero have a unique key that's synced to all copies, so there's no way for syncing to produce different 'storage' directories with different names — if that's happening, those are different entries in the database, which you would've had to have added manually.

    Note that, if you copy items between libraries in Zotero, those are separate copies, and you'll end up with duplicate 'storage' folders for the associated files. Perhaps that's what you're seeing?
  • I think that's what has happened: the 'master' library is on a LAN server, and for safety I keep a copy of the library on my local machine. If there is something wrong with the LAN connection, and I start Z up, it will find the local library sometimes without alerting me that the library directory has changed. I may then do some work adding items which will sync with our online account. The next time I start Z up, and the LAN connection is ok, then those files are synched down from the library (apparently), but with new/different random directory names for attached files... SO I end up with duplicated files in directories that are randomly named. It's my fault for having a secondary Library that the program can point to, and for not making absolutely sure that the program is only looking at the primary Library *all* the time...
  • edited September 14, 2017
    No, by copying between libraries, I'm referring to group libraries within Zotero, not your different data directories. Copying between libraries is the only way to get duplicate files in the data directory (other than actually making/saving duplicate copies), and that's by design and not a problem.

    If you're just using Zotero with different data directories, you're not ending up with duplicate files within the same data directory. Each item in Zotero has a unique key, but if you sync, and then download an attachment to another data directory, you'll get a storage directory with the same key.
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