Does Zotero keep track usage of entries in bibliographies?

edited September 14, 2018
Is there any record of which items I have ever used in a bibliography (e.g., generated in Word), or even how many times I have cited the item?

This can be helpful when figuring out what to do with old entries, such as a 'forthcoming' article or draft from a few years ago, if I want to update/merge it or maintain a separate copy for consistency with how it was originally used in case I want to modify that file again. And it would just be useful to know which items I've cited the most, for example. Or for that matter which items I have never cited so I can look through them again and see what I've been missing.
  • no.
    There's a longstanding plan for "document collection" i.e. the idea to generate a collection/saved search containing all items used in a specific document. I still hope that'll happen but haven't seen any activity recently.

    While I can see the appeal of what you're suggesting, I'm actually not sure a reasonably good implementation is technically feasible. All Zotero can do is to store every time an item is called up from the word plugin. But deleting and re-inserting, copy and paste, working in different documents for multiple drafts of a paper, would all make this count basically useless, so that one is probably in won't happen territory.
  • Thanks. I was just wondering, although I understand why this would be difficult. It would be convenient to use if it was implemented, but I wouldn't think it needs to be a priority to add.

    That's true about tracking usage. Still, tracking insertions ('ever', or per document, or per insertion, or all of those) could give a reasonable estimate.

    I suppose there is arguably some reason to not 'track' users without opting in, so another technical way to implement this would be some sort of actual bibliography parsing-- that is, when a paper is published, feed it into Zotero, have it line up the citations, and then remember for you what was cited where. That is probably more hassle than it's worth to configure, but could solve the problem a different way, especially since you could choose which items "really" count as opposed to just any time you write a random draft, etc.
  • edited September 14, 2018

    Can extract the Zotero citations from a document and count the number of times each item is used in that document.
  • That's useful, thank you. (It would be really interesting to see this as as something that could also feed into Zotero so you could track cite totals, but this is fine for now.)
  • I was wondering if there was an update on this?

    I followed the link for the reference extractor, but I'm after something that works within Zotero. The ability to generate a citation history report from an item or a citation history tab etc would be quite useful (I'm not sure about others, but a date and file name would be enough for me).

    Basically, I need to know if I've used a source and where :-)
  • There's essentially no chance we'll add citation history, for all the reasons adamsmith mentions. It just doesn't make sense.

    Someone could in theory build a plugin that could let you select a folder on disk, have it scan all word processor documents within that folder, parse out Zotero citations, and create a collection with all cited or uncited items. But that's not something we're likely to build ourselves.

    Document Collections are still planned.
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