PDF filename Unicode Encoding Conflict when author name has special characters

I have come across a reproducible issue when importing references where the author name has accented characters. I import, for example, this reference to Díaz et al:


I download the PDF separately (it requires a subscription) and rename the PDF with an innocuous name: "Diaz.pdf"

When I drag and drop it into the Zotero reference, the file is renamed: "Díaz et al. - 2018 - Assessing nature's contributions to people.pdf"

When I now double-click to open the PDF, I get a dialogue saying "File not found". Selecting LOCATE takes me to the correct Zotero folder, but the filename is now "Díaz et al. - 2018 - Assessing nature's contributions to people (Unicode Encoding Conflict).pdf"

Would it be possible to either (i) check for unicode encoding conflicts when renaming files, and not do it if it creates them, or (ii) convert special characters in PDF filenames as suggested here: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/294113#Comment_294113 or (iii) not alter filenames to alert users to a unicode encoding conflict, but provide a pop-up message or something instead?

Zotero 5.0.43 on macOS High Sierra 10.13.4

  • Do you have your data directory in Dropbox? That encoding conflict (and the problem more generally) is Dropbox. Mac and Zotero can handle unicode characters in filenames without problems.
  • Yes - thank you for the information. I guess I'll have to complain to Dropbox
  • You shouldn't have your Zotero data directory in Dropbox in general, though. You'll run into all sorts of problems, including possible database corruption (I thought you would have received a warning when doing so).
  • Thanks for following up adamsmith. I did get a warning, but I only have my storage folder on Dropbox. The rest of the data directory is on my local drive and backed up with Zotero Storage, but my PDF collection is too big for that to be affordable. It's attached using a symbolic link as suggested here: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/66342/data-directory-location-dropbox.

    I use one computer, and use Dropbox as a file backup. I haven't found an alternative way to back up that is as simple and affordable. I have 16 GB of PDFs, so paying just for Zotero storage each year would cost more than Dropbox, which I can use to back up all of my files, not just my Zotero files.

    I have found an alternative solution, which is to switch off "Automatically rename attachment files using parent metadata". This seems to fix the initial issue I reported.
  • edited April 5, 2018
    I provided more details on this in another thread. As far as we can tell it's a problem in Dropbox, not Zotero.
  • Thanks dstillman. I searched the forums before posting, but missed that thread. I'll add my suggested fix there too.
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