Wish list

edited May 4, 2018
Following on from the discussion on Zotfile features (https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/70061/annotation-round-trip-with-file-formats-other-than-pdf-zotfile) - is there a Zotero "wish list" somewhere? We could have some community discussion around new features, and then see what's on the roadmap, and what needs more funding?

Zotero core features:
- duplicate saved searches
- folders for saved searches
- forward/back navigation (Edit 2018-05-04: this is coming.)
- move between collections (rather than copy + then delete) adamsmith March 13, 2018: You can move items between collection holding a key during drag -- Cmd on OS X, Shift on Windows/Linux

Documentation:
- documentation for javascript API (Edit 2018-05-04: available here https://www.zotero.org/support/dev/client_coding/javascript_api); however, the server api turns out to be a better fit for what I need: https://github.com/urschrei/pyzotero


Zotero/Zutilo(?) features:
- copy/paste of more metadata

Zotfile feature:
- annotation extraction for other formats
- extracting PDF annotations with features (e.g. text + text of inline comment)

Other:
- Integration with google docs (Edit 2018-05-04: this is now available https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/71599/available-for-beta-testing-google-docs-integration)


Attaching PDFs (Edit 2018-05-04: copied items from thread below to here.):
- Ability to drag links from a web page onto a zotero item, to create attachments. E.g. here, https://creativecommons.org/2017/01/20/state-department-publishes-open-licensing-playbook-federal-agencies/, the connector gives me the blog post, but I then want to attach the two docs listed on the page.
- Additionally: "Save to Zotero" right click menu doesn't do anything (Chrome, OS X). So it would be great to have that too - I guess to create a new item, or ideally with an option: "Attach to selected item in Zotero" vs. "Save to Zotero as new item". (c.f. https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/70058/saving-a-link-on-a-page-to-zotero#latest)
- Attach file to existing item (via URL attached to item)
https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/70809/attach-file-from-url-to-existing-item#latest
- Connector to handle more than one attachment (Edit 2018-05-04: added here)(https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/70932/can-the-zotero-connector-import-more-than-one-pdf)

Better change tracking:
- https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/71735/change-tracking (Edit 2018-05-04: planned for future version of Zotero)

Clearly this list could get out of hand in this thread :) If there's a place for this already, let's talk there. Or else start a Google Doc?
  • edited March 8, 2018
    See this failed attempt at implementing / proposing something like it. The discussion in that thread is informative.

    Generally the Zotero devs have pushed back at anything that looks like a user-driven voting or priority system because Zotero development is not primarily driven by user demands, although it is certainly informed by it.

    Unlike back then, though, it's fairly easy now to keep up with Zotero development via github.
  • edited March 8, 2018
    Hi Mark,

    thanks! I'm not suggesting that the list would inform priorities for the existing devs. It would be more of a case to say: This is on the road map (soon), but this is further away, or not on the roadmap at all - in which case we can try to organise implementation of the features independently, and make a pull request.

    Regarding github: My understanding is that direct posting of feature requests to github is discouraged?

    PS also did look at that thread, which was informative. Although also 8 years ago :)
  • What mark means is that you can use github to get a sense of what developers are working on right now, i.e. a short-term 1-3months roadmap. It's indeed not the place for feature requests.

    Of these, the javascript API _is_ documented pretty well: https://www.zotero.org/support/dev/client_coding/javascript_api it's just that there's no way to properly access it in Zotero 5 outside of writing add-ons.

    There's this as an overview. It's a bit old and a couple of items need updating, but mostly it's still accurate: https://www.zotero.org/support/requested_features
  • Ah, I see that's helpful!

    Regarding js - sorry I meant in Zotero 5, which you have answered, thanks! Would it be possible to build a plugin with the sole purpose to expose the JavaScript API for testing?

    Any thoughts on duplicating saved searches?
  • It would absolutely be possible to build such a plugin by e.g. trying to port Execute.js; I doubt this is going to come from the Zotero developers, since the javascript API always has been of limited use beyond the add-ons: you can't actually script for it properly, since you need to address it within the mozilla/Zotero framework. My understanding is that the Zotero hopes to expose a local API to the commandline that would allow proper scripting. I have no idea where that is on the roadmap, though.

    Duplicating saved searches should be trivially easy from a code point of view. I don't think it's been requested a lot and it does pose GUI issues, which is why I think it hasn't been implemented.
  • A command line API would be even better. The only reason I was interested in the js api is that it allows the creation of multiple items, and I occasionally need to create sets of items programatically.

    Why would a "duplicate" on the saved search be a GUI issue? I was imagining that the right-click menu simple has a "duplicate" in it (same as the right click on an item), that would duplicate the saved search. Or have I misunderstood?
  • Note that you already can use the server API for creating items. pyzotero is a great & easy to use python library for that, for example.

    GUI issues -- more questions than issues: there's always a concern with right-click menu overload (also because I'm not sure how the context menus do in terms of accessibility; I think they're hard to get to on a Mac with keyboard, e.g.) but also uniformity: we don't offer a duplicate option for collections -- should that exist or not? Should the duplicate option also exist in the form of a "save as" from the Saved Search edit? Or should it only exist there?

  • Amazing - thank you for that tip - I had not realised that the API was read/write, but it makes total sense (at least with hindsight!) - had a quick look at pyzotero, and it will solve - thank you!

    Points about UI appreciated too - doesn't look like pyzotero can create saved searches... :)
  • To add:
    - move between collections (rather than copy + then delete)
    - extract of date from PDF metadata (see other post)
  • You can move items between collection holding a key during drag -- Cmd on OS X, Shift on Windows/Linux
  • @adamsmith - thank you so much, very helpful to know!
  • edited March 14, 2018
    Another one:
    - Ability to drag links from a web page onto a zotero item, to create attachments. E.g. here, https://creativecommons.org/2017/01/20/state-department-publishes-open-licensing-playbook-federal-agencies/, the connector gives me the blog post, but I then want to attach the two docs listed on the page.

    Additionally: "Save to Zotero" right click menu doesn't do anything (Chrome, OS X). So it would be great to have that too - I guess to create a new item, or ideally with an option: "Attach to selected item in Zotero" vs. "Save to Zotero as new item".

    (c.f. https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/70058/saving-a-link-on-a-page-to-zotero#latest)
  • edited August 17, 2018
    Highest priority for me:

    A fundamental feature for those of us who need it:
    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/314401/#Comment_314401
    A minimal solution is adding name-only cites. A full solution would also have options for "Author (YYYY)" format, etc. I personally would strongly advocate prioritizing name-only because that's quite easy to do, and can work consistently across all formats (even if CSL files need to be updated). Then "Author (YYYY)" can be built from that, whereas "Author (YYYY)" would be weird transitioning to footnotes, etc. But name-only is useful and not harmful. (As linked at the end of that discussion I've even added my own hacked workaround with a Word macro, but I'd be more than happy to see that fade into irrelevance!)

    You can see many people requesting that feature for years. There is no viable workaround for this (manual editing of citations is discouraged), so this is a fundamental weakness of Zotero! (The "best" option currently, aside from my awkward macro, is to just NOT fix the format until proofreading and removing fields.)

    ----

    Secondary:

    Another major topic, that has been discussed for years too, regarding "forthcoming", "in press", etc.:
    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/882/other-options-for-date-in-press-etc
    However, the workarounds given in that thread, in short just using "status" in the 'extra' field, is workable for now, if not ideal.
    One of the biggest problems here is the lack of ability to search for (or export, etc.) literal text dates, if you happen to have entered them 'incorrectly' as I did, rather than using the "status" workaround.

    ----

    Additional:

    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/31697/link-to-directory-for-reference
    A now old request from me, which a few others have supported. This isn't particularly urgent. I now just ignore Zotero's file features entirely-- it's useless to me to have some PDFs in Zotero and other files saved elsewhere, so I just have a separate directory of references saved in folders with AuthorYYYY format.
    But if this is something easy, I'd love to be able to navigate to an item's file(s) by clicking on it in Zotero.
    It is simply not the case that we should only have one file per item. I often have very full folders for single items-- many images from a scan I haven't compiled into a PDF; multiple copies of the same article (an author's draft as a searchable PDF, plus a non-searchable scan of the published version, etc.); metadata such as the publisher's websites; my notes in various text formats; rough translations of the article or summary notes (I work with sources in many languages); saved notes/emails discussing the reference with the author; details beyond what I want to add into Zotero about the citation such as why I am citing something as a manuscript rather than a published version, or that there is also an earlier manuscript, etc.; and so forth.
    In the end, I will simply not use any of Zotero's file organization features until/unless it allows me to point to a folder rather than a file. And that's OK! It doesn't hinder my productivity. But it would be much more useful if it did allow this. On the other hand, because I'm concerned it might somehow still be limited, I might not use it anyway if there were other limits associated with it (e.g, the files had to be stored in the Zotero folder, rather than a location of my choice). So, in short, this is an ideal feature, but I have no objection to it not being prioritized at this point.

    ---

    That concludes the items that I personally think should be given priority, and which I have seen others supporting, for multiple years.

    The most important is the first feature because there is no workaround. Any feature for which there currently is a workaround should not be considered as urgent, in my opinion.
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