Group Library syncing with My Library

Dear all,
I would appreciate any help with this question: Can I create a 'Group Library', then copy all my references from 'My Library' to my new Group Library; and then somehow find an easy way to keep the two synchronized?
So if I add a new reference in My Library, I would like it to be added to a selected Group Library.
If I modify the citation data of one reference which I shared from My Library to a Group Library, then the change I made in My Library should be reflected in the Group Library.
Is this possible? If there are Zotero people looking at these discussion, can you tell me if this is something Zotero is planning to develop?
Thanks a lot,
Bruno (
  • Not currently possible, and it's a tough problem to solve, because┬ánot all changes you would make to an item in one library (notes, tags, etc.) would necessarily be appropriate to copy between libraries. But we're planning to at least offer better ways to keep items in sync manually (e.g., so that dragging items again will update the items in the target library instead of skipping them).
  • Thanks a lot for this rapid answer. It is encouraging! Any idea for when Zotero might have implemented the sync item update that you mention? I would satisfy fully my needs, as I agree that notes and tags might just be more personal stuff.
    One more question, pending development of the above: Currently, I created a Group Library which is intended to be a mirror of My entire Library. I thought that once in a while, I would just drag and drop again my hole library to that Group Library and it would simply add the new stuff. From your reply, I understand that it should work, but in fact it does not. I can select up to a certain number of items and drag them to the Group Library; but I cannot drag all items at once. Is there a limit in terms of number of items we can drag to a Group Library at once? I have 11000 items in my Library; pdf are only linked on my computer so I do not need to sync those.
    Thanks a lot in advance for further advice
  • There's no limit, but you'd very likely run into trouble trying to drag 11,000 items. For libraries that large, we generally recommend just maintaining a single version as a group library rather than trying to keep multiple libraries in sync.

    But you can also just drag in batches. Since Zotero won't duplicate items in the group, there's no harm even if you accidentally drag something more than once.

    I'd be curious to see a Debug ID for an attempt to drag 11,000 items that didn't work, though. In principle it should work, and it's possible it's either just taking a long time with no progress indicator or something is timing out in the background. (One change we could make here would be to show a progress meter when dragging many items.)
  • Thanks a lot for your help. My library is big because built over 15 years. I started with EndNote for 10 years (5000 ref); and as I was not managing my pdf files, I had in parallel about 10000 files in a folder. I decided to shift to Zotero; I imported my EndNote Library first; Then I dragged and dropped my hole pdf folder (as linked files) so that Zotero could recover most citations for these; and finally I cleaned most duplicates.
    I thought of using only a Group Library (to share it), but in that case Zotero does not allow to manage pdf as linked files and the free storage is very small. So I have no choice but to use my local Zotero library, and copy the references only to a Group Library.
    I think also that I understood why the batch copy of many references to the Group Library did not work. It seems that this was because of series of references items interrupted by some linked files without defined parent item.
    Thus, I moved the 11000 elements of my local library in batches as you suggested, being careful not to include linked files without parent item. It worked.
    Thanks again.
  • edited 28 days ago
    Dan, I'm spending a lot of time keeping My Library and some of my Shared Libraries in sync, I'm never quite sure if the two are actually synchronized. It affects the quality of the work we can do, in that we can easily miss key references if we don't sync well. I realize from the text above that solving this is non-trivial. Here is a relatively simple solution that wouldn't make synchronizing completely automatic but would save time and improve the work we can do with Zotero. The solution would be to add a folder called "Library Comparisons" at the bottom of the My Library folder structure, and inside that folder you would have subfolders for each My Library to Non-My Library comparison. Each of these would be empty, so that it takes no bandwidth unless the user wants to do the comparison. If the User chooses one of the comparison folders, and right clicks and selects "Do Comparison" it would run the comparison, and create three results: In Both: X number, In My Library but not B library: here it would list the actual references, In B library but not My Library: also list the references. The User would then be able to manually choose which items to sync and where by right clicking an item and choosing which folder or root directory it should go to, in the comparison library. Let me know if this is doable, I would be happy to test it if you try it.
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