Adding ebook resource

This discussion was created from comments split from: Just getting started and adding items first time to library.
  • I have an ebook resource that I would like to add. But when I look at the title page I find several different ISBN numbers (one for the paperback, epub, mobi, etc.). How do I know which corresponds to the actual ebook that I have?

    I'm not sure if it matters, except that those different versions may have different pagination?
  • Most modern ebooks refer the the same page numbers as the print edition, so it really won’t matter which ISBN you pick.
  • Thanks. I chose one of the ISBN numbers listed on the title page and it imported the information. In the ISBN field it listed all the ISBNs instead of just the one I chose.
  • That is how the data are recorded in Library of Congress, where Zotero gets its ISBN data. You should leave all there—they all point to the same item.
  • (I think multiple ISBNs are typically from Worldcat, not LoC?)
  • @bwiernik I would encourage Zotero users to use the correct ISBN, at least if they are using page-level citations. One large exception to your statement that most modern ebooks use the same pagination as the print edition is popular fiction. Most of the Epub novels that I've seen don't even have through-pagination, just pagination per chapter. (I think Kindle may be better?) This is an issue for popular culture scholars as well as instructors and students in K-12 and undergraduate education. Some ebook formats allow the user to set font size, which in turn changes pagination. (Not much Zotero can do about that!) I've used more than one academic e-book that was not paginated the same as its print edition--very frustrating in a class where different students are using different formats. In the library world, if there are multiple ISBNs for different formats, the ISBNs are qualified to show which ISBN goes with which format; the same is true for ISBNs for a whole set vs. ISBNs for specific volumes.
  • Very few citation styles include ISBN information, so including just one in Zotero isn’t going to help with the issue of ensuring page numbers align. The ebook issue has largely been solved by most modern ebooks including page numbers that align with the printed edition (in addition to “locations” that change with screen size, etc.—which should not be cited).
  • Correct, this wouldn't affect most publisher citation formats. However, there have been instructors who have posted here that they require students to include very specific version information in citation in submitted papers.
  • I am writing historical fiction which requires extensive research. I am not as concerned with citation formats as others in the Forum; more important is to know where to look for a particular item in my library or computer.

    I use the Edition field for: ePub, Kindle, pdf, Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Scribd, etc., for this purpose.

    If a quote is relevant, it goes in Notes with the page number. I also put a jpg of the cover in Notes, so the item is easily recognizable -- particularly nice when the book was originally published in the 18th century (thank you Wikipedia).

    The only thing missing is a field for the date of first publication. My work-around is to delete the contemporary Date from that field, add it after a comma to the Place field and insert the original pub date instead. I have to do this so frequently, I wish there was an Original Pub Date field!

    This is important because there is often more than one original date if the author revised/corrected the book, or it was perhaps suppressed and then published again elsewhere, so which one the current edition is based on can be of importance. It's also important to know which edition the translator used. Since I'm using the Edition field for another purpose, and an "edition" might not even be indicated in an older book, I need to use the date for this purpose.
  • Add original date to Extra like this:
    Original date: 1984

    That will get migrated in the near future to a proper field when Zotero is updated.
  • I'm delighted to know an Original Pub Date field will be available soon.

    The Extra field does not work as well because some imported metadata puts the name of a library, or an OCLC or DOI in there.

    I am puzzled by the Year column, an option in the center pane. First, it does not appear in the Info pane, so I don't know how information is entered into it? Second, it contains the same information I have entered into the Date field, with two exceptions:

    Sometimes I want to indicate the years during which the work was written (it may have first appeared as a series, later published as a book). If I enter a range, say 1786-88, the Year column will automatically show the first date. If I enter something like 1820s into the Date field, then the Year column will show 0000, I assume because it doesn't know what to do about that "s".

    Why are these two fields linked? And why doesn't Year appear in the Info pane?
  • You can put multiple pieces of information to the Extra field as long as they are on new lines sod
    DOI: 10.1234/5678
    OCLC: 1234567
    ISBN: 9781234567890

    The year is extracted from the full date in the info panel for the middle column; some people (me included) find it more convenient/easier to view, but obviously you don't want to places to enter the same date in Info.

    Once you enter anything but a standard date into the date field, the extraction fails. Zotero will then either get the first year or write 0000 for soemthing it doesn't recognize as a year at all.
  • Thanks for the info adamsmith.

    However, if I put multiple lines in the Extra field, they will all show up in the column in the center pane, if shown. I'm on a laptop, so definitely not enough real estate available for that. (I can barely fit in Creator, Title, Date, Edition, Item Type - and I use abbreviations for things in Edition to I can keep the column narrow).

    Still not clear how anything can be entered into the Year field if it does not show up in the Info panel. Not sure what it is good for if it simply duplicates what is put into the Date field, which is available in the Info panel. What am I missing here?
  • The year _column_ is good for people who want a column that only displays the year for all dates. For the literature I work with, the exact date of publication is typically irrelevant, so the ability to just have the year -- and thus a narrower, cleaner column -- is convenient. If it's not useful for you (e.g. because you enter most dates manually and/or almost all of them are only years to start with) you should just ignore it.

    Understood on the extra field, but the draw here is that its contents will migrate once proper fields for those elements appear in Zotero, so you wouldn't need to transfer information that you've already input once manually again.
  • Thanks again for your input; now the Year column makes sense (just tested it).

    But as long as we are talking about columns and Info fields, what about Medium/Format? It would make sense to use that for eBooks, etc., but here again, there is no input Field in the Info pane.

    I have hundreds of items in my Zotero file, and not once has anything appeared automatically in that column option.
  • Book doesn’t have a Medium/Format field. Currently, only Audio Recording, Video Recording, and Film do.
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