Using Google Drive for backup

This discussion was created from comments split from: I need zotero for ipad..
  • @adamsmith - I have used Google Drive for backup. All my PDFs are there and when I check the Drive Stream feed it says 'zotero.sqlite-journal' moved to trash. Is there a way to safely use Drive as a backup or not at all?
  • edited July 17, 2019
    (Please don't tag people unnecessarily — yours is a general question that can be answered by multiple people. It was also unrelated to the thread you posted to, which was about a Zotero iPad app.)

    I'm not really clear what you're asking here. You should never run Zotero from a Zotero data directory in a cloud storage folder. You can back up the data directory manually or (ideally) automatically to wherever you like.
  • It is related to the iPad because I was trying to work out if I open files from Drive on my iPad, and edit them with Adobe, will it then sync with the Zotero app.

    The reason I tagged is because this was the person who said absolutely don't sync to Google Drive, even though there are multiple Youtube videos showing how to do this. I don't understand the technical terms and when it is or isn't OK to Drive.

    I don't know what you mean by 'you should never run Zotero from a Zotero data directory' - surely you can't run an app from online storage ever? Doesn't it always have to be installed on a device? Your replies make me think I could have done something by accident but not be aware of it. It's all very confusing for a non-techie though I appreciate everyone's advice and help.
  • edited July 17, 2019
    surely you can't run an app from online storage ever
    Cloud storage folders are local folders on your computer that then sync to the cloud. You can't store an active database in those folders.

    Creating a "backup" of your Zotero data directory — which includes your database — is very different from accessing PDFs from your iPad, so you'll need to be clearer about which you're actually trying to do. To do the latter, you can use the ZotFile plugin:
  • edited July 17, 2019
    "Cloud storage folders are local folders on your computer that then sync to the cloud. You can't store an active database in those folders."

    I've installed Google Drive Stream on my laptop and placed the Zotero folder in there, which then syncs to Drive. I should change that, right?

    If so, what should I do instead? I did read the documentation and thought I'd followed the instructions, but I guess I've done something that'll corrupt my database (whatever that is) somehow?

    Maybe there's a video you recommend showing how to do this clearly on a Mac? I did follow a Youtube video but maybe not a recommended one...
  • edited July 17, 2019
    What exactly are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish with Google Drive? I can give you some guidance if you explain in more detail what you want to do.

    What YouTube video are you referring to?
  • Thank you!

    I am trying to use Google Drive so I don't need to pay for Zotero storage.

    The Youtube video I watched was this one:

    I've already had a couple of error messages in Google Docs but I don't know how serious they were, because I was able to continue by clicking away from the (coded) messages without any obvious problems.
  • That video suggests a setup that is extremely dangerous. You should never store the Zotero data directory in a cloud storage folder like Google Drive or Dropbox. This will lead to serious database corruption issues and potentially irreversible data loss.

    You should immediately move your database back out to a local storage folder. Then, in the Zotero preferences Advanced pane, click the Check Database Integrity button to see if your database has been corrupted at all. Follow the instructions there to fix it if necessary.

    To sync your Zotero item data (item titles, authors, collections, etc., as well as tags and notes), use Zotero sync: Syncing item data is always free and unlimited.

    To sync your attachment files using Google Drive or another cloud folder, see these instructions

    I recommend not using Google Drive and instead using either Zotero’s own file storage or using a cloud provider that supports WebDAV. This will let you use Zotero’s native sync functions and avoid having to manually set up or manage file links. See here for a list of WebDAV providers that provide free storage:
  • I already read through that documentation and thought I had it right.
    Thanks for the warning on the video. If Zotero has a Youtube channel, it would be really helpful for non-techies like me to see how to use free storage options.
    I have bought the Zotero storage. I was trying to avoid paying out, but I figure it's worth it to know my files will be safe and uncorrupted as well as supporting open source.
    Thanks for your help.
  • If you do want to use Google Drive, the instructions are here

    If something about that is unclear for you, can you say exactly what? Though, yes, I personally recommend (and myself use) Zotero storage for the convenience.
  • Thank you. I'll stick with Zotero. I think it's better all round. Many thanks for your help.
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