Working with Zotero and Master/subdocuments

It seems Zotero have difficulties with handling the bibliography and the references when using a master documents with references inside the subdocuments (probably with Libreoffice/Openoffice/Office Word). It seems that Zotero's developers do not plan to support it¹.

Some people have reported that it could work. Well, it does not for me even though I can have a working bibliography at the end of each chapter of the PhD dissertation works.

The workarounds I can think of are either to manually export the citations within a bibliography.odt file which will be part of the subdocuments, or to create a bibliography at the end of each chapter and then copy/past/sort them at the end.

Any other ideas else?

¹: I would have though that having a master document with subdocuments is a requirement for any large document, specially those with bibliography, but it seems that's not so usual.
  • You just want a combined bibliography for the whole document, not one for every chapter? The generally recommended approach is to write each of your chapters in a separate Word document, then cut-and-paste the chapter texts into one document at the end. Then click the Add/Edit Bibliography in the combined document to insert the bibliogrpahy for the whole book. In my experience, Master documents are extremely rarely used (by any authors, even people who don't use Zotero or other reference management software).

    Master documents have never worked particularly well in Word (can't comment on LibreOffice), and Microsoft doesn't really support them much anymore. Some people on these forums have reported success using Zotero with Master/sub documents, but in general they seem like more hassle than they are worth.
  • The use of master documents is quite common with Libreoffice/OpenOffice and recommended for writing complex documents like books, thesis and reports.

    «but in general they seem like more hassle than they are worth.»

    Maybe it's because I started writing complex documents with LaTeX, where this function is obvious, before having to come to the WYSIWYG world (Libre/OpenOffice/Word/etc), but not being able to split a documents into multiple subdocuments seems like an hassle to me :)
  • Just to add an additional comment regarding the problems you have reported in your issue.

    Inserting bibliography triggers a full doc refresh, even if automatic updates are disabled. This is by design. Presumably the LO API presents the master/sub document collection as a single combined document to Zotero, which is why you are seeing the update across all of them. This might not impact your ability to write with Zotero. You will not be able to have sub-bibliographies for your sub-documents if this is what you are looking for and will have to resort to using separate documents and combining at the end.

    As for citations being modified, even after you ask Zotero not to -- it's a bug, one to be fixed.
  • @lejocelyn The bugfix for citations being modified when you select not to is now available in Zotero Beta.
  • "..., but not being able to split a documents into multiple subdocuments seems like an hassle to me :) " Totally agree @lejocelynb ! Thank you for bringing this up.

    Subdocuments are really useful, if you combine a new count of footnote citations in every chapter + a reference to first-reference-note-numbers within your csl-style.
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