DOI for digital books/book chapters

Hey team. I have two questions.

1. APA prefers DOIs for digital material over publishing information or URLs. I have been generating references for digital books and book chapters like this by putting the DOI in the "place" field and making sure the "publisher" field is blank. This usually generates the reference mostly okay, but I do need to go in and edit them. It's not a big deal, but I wonder if there is an easier way. Can a DOI field be added to books/book chapters? Or would it need to be a whole new item type? Or is there already a field that exists that would do this, and I'm just not getting it? I keep coming up against this because I'm using a lot of handbooks right now that are online.

2. Some of my sources include the DOI even when it is not entered into the DOI field (or any other field). And it always generates the DOI with the URL. I know this is the way crossref is doing it now but APA gives me a choice, and I prefer the older (simpler, better) way. Is there a way to adjust this? (Also not a big deal because I can just edit it, but I'm just checking.)
  • edited June 29, 2018
    1. Will be added in the future but you can make it work now by putting
    DOI: 10.12345/6789
    into the "Extra" field.

    2. I'd strongly disagree that the old way was better and really hope you reconsider. In teaching, I frequently ask (young, technologically savvy) audiences of researchers who is familiar with DOIs and that is usually between 1/4 to 1/3 -- never more than 1/2 -- of the room. This means that doi: 10.1234/56789 means nothing and is effectively useless to more than half of your readers. It was introduced based on the assumption that doi: would turn into a web protocol like http:// which turned out to be incorrect. There's a reason why every agency responsible for DOIs (CrossRef, DOI foundation, DataCite), recommend the URL form for displaying DOIs.

    But if I absolutely can't change your mind, we do have APA style with the old prefix available:
  • Thanks for your reply!

    1. Thanks, that's great! I'll keep making it work until this gets added.

    2. I appreciate your impassioned response and can see your point. But in my dealings with students and teaching them to use APA correctly, I see a lot of confusion in formatting when using DOIs with URLs. For example, I see a lot of students site journal articles as web pages, ending with "Retrieved from" The problem essentially is that they don't understand what DOIs are, but providing them with the link to click on doesn't really solve that problem. I can see your point that using the URL in the reference means that they can use the link to access the source... it just still means that they don't know what DOIs are! (Or how to cite them)

    And although I've noted your objection, I am going to use this old prefix (maybe especially because I'm halfway through my dissertation and am not going back through all these sources to change things now.) Thanks for providing it. :)
  • edited June 29, 2018
    Correct APA style is to use He old prefix has not been official APA style since the APA Guide to Electronic References was released in 2012. If anything, “Retrieved from“ is a better error than the frankly useless doi: prefix because people will actually still recognize it as the place where the article can be found. And moreover, Zotero can format this all correctly automatically. I’d say your time teaching is much better spent teaching students to check that their metadata in Zotero is complete and accurate than on teaching them to manually follow APA’s inconsistent rules.

    If you are using Zotero to write your dissertation, why not just let it automatically update the DOI format to the current correct one? What do you mean by “go back through and reformat”? Did you manually copy references into Word? If so, a single find-and-replace of “doi: “ to ““ will fix that.
  • edited June 29, 2018
    bwiernik, APA has been pretty clear that they are still accepting the old format!

    None of APA's guidelines are inconsistent and I will die on that hill. Also, since I work in a writing center, my entire job is to teach the students APA's inconsistent rules. ;) Nor do all of them use Zotero, so I'm generally not about the business of teaching them how it works.

    I do use the Zotero standalone to create my references and then I paste them into Word (I don't really love the Word plugin). I also know how find and replace works, but would never dream of doing that and then not thoroughly checking it, anyway, because this is *my dissertation.*
  • edited January 8, 2021
    This is a kind reminder to tell you that DOI field is truly needed for "book chapter". Please consider adding it soon.
  • You can add DOI to Extra (like "DOI: 10.123/abc…") for any item, and it will get migrated when a proper field is made.
    This is in the works.
  • edited November 29, 2023
    It is really the feature of need. For example, when I convert wrongly assigned document type from journal article to book section, I will usually loss doi. The other functionality that Zotero lacks but is very natural is to retrieve paper metadata by doi (in case pdf was parsed wrongly it would be very useful).
  • Hi all, I'm adding my voice to the chorus of people saying that a DOI field is needed for book chapters. AI software like Scite integrates with my Zotero library but it only catches publications that have DOIs. Book chapters have them, but they get excluded because there is no DOI field. Please add a DOI field!
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