Books and Book Sections: Avoiding Input of Duplicate Info

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  • This is the #1 problem with Zotero. I have to manually alter every bib, so usually end up just storing bibliographic info as text and doing everything by hand anyway. Please fix it.
  • qualia - I don't understand - why does this lead you to have to manually alter every bib?
    Are you sure you're talking about the same issue?
  • Has this been dealt with over the summer by any chance? I'm now putting in a variety of citations for different book chapters from the same book, and I'm trying to find a way to get around continually adding in the same information multiple times.
  • oxband - if you look a littlebit up - you can see what has been applied: when you change from a book to a book section, the title goes into "book title" - this means you can create chapters with relative ease by using "Duplicate item" and then switch to Book section.

    A fuller and more complex solution is planned but still ways off.
  • Thanks for keeping this afloat. I am using the method of duplicating the item and changing the type from Book to Book Section; thanks Dan for the patch to make moving the title easier.
    I also support the idea of hierarchical items at least to a certain limited degree - e. g. it's clear that "Books" should be allowed to have child "Book Section" elements.

    Thanks again for a great tool!
  • ugh - can't be true!
    Just got into Zotero and loved it for its simplicity and usability!
    I mean it even saves you the job to check for availability on your libraries web page yourself.
    So when I came to the point that I couldn't figure how to add a book chapter in a convenient way I didn't even think that this was not possible by just pointing to the main title and establish a relation.
    I was sure it was me not beeing familiar with zotero and just not finding the option!
    This is a super important feature that I'd say every other bibliographic tool has. Please go ahead and make the next step, this is such a promising project that can't be missing this essential feature!
  • that I'd say every other bibliographic tool has
    that's complete nonsense - I'm sure there is some software that does this (Citavi?), but neither Endnote, nor Refworks, nor Mendeley - i.e. none of Zotero's main competitors - do.
    In Endnote and Refworks you even have to manually copy the book title so the whole process is more involved than in Zotero.

    I agree hierarchical items would be nice, but I don't really see how they're a deal breaker - even with that feature, you'd still have to manually insert chapter titles, authors, and page ranges just the way you do now.
  • Any news on this topic?
  • this isn't going to happen anytime soon, no.
  • The "Book Section" item type makes a great deal of sense for edited books with multiple contributors, and the "pages" field works great (I'm running Z-SA 3.0.14 on Win 8-64 bit). I use a custom citation style that is an unholy chimera of MLA and the journal Nature. The thoroughness and variety of sources MLA can accommodate, from ancient manuscripts to web videos of lectures from the Royal Society (and how awesome is that!) is the best I have found. The sources MLA allows for also makes it easy for writers to cite even the most obscure sources (paging Dame Jane Goodall...) and is essential at a time when checking for plagiarism is as easy as Googling a phrase from a paper. The in-text format of MLA also makes it easy English profs to spot the places where someone other than the author of the current paper is being cited.

    Now out of college and an aspiring science writer, I want to be readable and the in-text MLA citations are speed bumps for the brain. I like the simple numerical superscript used by Nature because they are not visually jarring. What I want to do now is capture the “Page” field in the add citation dialog box when citing a specific page in a book by a single author. That is already in my Zotero Library...without having to create an awkward and redundant “book section” entry. If there is a code snippet that can do that I would be grateful.
  • could you give an example? I don't think I follow.
  • My apologies if I was unclear earlier. My custom citation style is based on that of the journal Nature and MLA. It consists of an in-text numerical superscript and a bibliography (the part cribbed from the MLA style) that can deal with far more sources than what the unmodified Nature style can.

    Since my original post, I figured it out.

    What I ended up doing was keeping the nice, unobtrusive superscript in-text citation from Nature and with some tinkering, I figured out how to include a superscript page number along with the citation number like so 1 (p.221). So now, if I want to cite multiple pages (at 647 pages, The Scientists is not a small book) I do not have to create a separate “book section” entry in Zotero each time I want to cite a single page or range of pages from the same book. I simply enter the page number from the book I am citing in the Add/Edit Citation dialog box and I get the nice superscript citation depicted above.


    1.Gribbin, J. The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of it’s Greatest Inventors. (Random House: New York, NY, 2007).

    Programming purists may consider my solution kludgey and inelegant, but it works.
  • no, not at all - that's exactly the types of issues that CSL is designed to solve, glad you figured it out.

    Citation style purists will likely say that Chicago Manual of Style with Footnotes is more typically used for scenarios like yours, but that's a matter of taste and entirely up to you.
    So if I understand correctly you don't need any additional assistance, correct?
  • edited April 2, 2013
    Yes, I seem to have answered my own question. Thanks for being good sports and taking the time to reply.
  • new to zotero. am in the midst of re-entering book data for multiple essays between the covers. I see others have tried to save this duplication of effort. also see the thread has gone cold...
    so, i'm making sure i'm not missing anything? no way to link essays/chapters to the collection title? or speed-copy for accuracy?
  • edited May 19, 2014
    Just to be perfectly clear - it has been possible for years to right-click --> Duplicate items for a long time and that copies over all duplicate information (editors, publisher, place, book title, ISBN). In terms of data entry, a full implementation of book--> chapter relations would hardly save time, though it would have advantages in terms of organization and in some rare cases citations.
  • yup. just after i finally found the guts to enter the query, i found a similar workaround by 'magic wanding the isbn' to get the book info then changing the type to section and adding the section details. I have several lengthy collections in my research and am using several essays from each collection, so the time savings on entry and error correction is significant for me... thanks for your quick response.
  • There's a Firefox extension called Zotilo that has a one click option for this :-)
  • edited February 24, 2017
    Any news on the ability to store chapters under the book as the parent item in Zotero Standalone?
  • no. not going to happen any time soon.
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