Zotero Sync

I just have a few quick questions about Zotero sync since it's different to my previous reference manager (Papers3), which used Dropbox for syncing. Does Zotero sync retain an exact copy of my library on the Zotero servers, serving as sort of an online off-site backup of its contents? If I use Zotero to synchronise across multiple devices, will each device store the exact same copy of the Zotero directory locally, or is there a master copy retained on only one of the devices? How does Zotero handle sync errors if they occur?
  • Ah, I see that I should have read this sooner (https://www.zotero.org/support/sync), since it answers most of my questions. The only concern I have at the moment is whether the data stored on Zotero's servers could serve as a backup of the library as is—such that someone could restore their library on any device just by syncing.
  • Yes, you can install Zotero on a new computer and just sync to pull down your libraries. Note, though, that it's not technically a replacement for a proper automated backup of your Zotero data directory (or just your whole computer, ideally), since you could make a change locally that would immediately sync to the online version, there could be a problem with syncing that you didn't notice for a while, etc. (Zotero keeps a couple automatic backups of the local database for a couple days, but that's really just for emergencies.)
  • The main thing I want to avoid, which seemed to occur every so often with Papers3, is a situation in which there are unaccountable sync errors (e.g., a reference whose details would inexplicably change). It sounds like that Zotero should be able to pick up on conflicts, so hopefully that isn't likely to be an issue.
  • Yes, Zotero will point out any sync conflicts, but it’s sync system is also more robust in my experience than Papers’, so you should encounter fewer issues of any sort.
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