Importing Bibliographies into Zotero

I am a humanist who has decided to experiment with a citation manager now that I have 1,200 or 1,300 works to manage. Previously I have used a handful of ODT files with the bibliographic information + my notes on the work in question (anything from NON LEGI to 1,000 words of page by page notes). So they are in a standard format, but not surrounded with tags etc., and there is important metadata for the human reader.

One of these pieces of metadata on some but not all entries is a catalogue number from a standard bibliography in my field. I would like to include those.

The data includes texts in multiple scripts including expanded Latin, Greek polytonic, and Cyrillic (and dates in both the Gregorian and Islamic calendars).

Most of the work in my field is from before DOIs or ISBNs (and sadly, humanists are not as smart about open access as mathematicians), and its likely that nobody else has cited these in a bibliographic manager, so the data does not already exist and certainly has not been carefully proofread.

What is the best way to get those imported? My main OS is Ubuntu, my main text editor LibreOffice, my main browser Firefox.

https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/importing_formatted_bibliographies links to a few tools at the bottom, but some no longer exist (Brown University freecite, anystyle.io) or are only for people with an account at the right university (University of Toronto text2bib). I am exploring them now.
  • You can install and run Anystyle locally on your computer. That is what I would recommend.

    text2bib doesn’t require a specific university account, just to register for the service at the linked page (my understanding is that this is needed to reduce spam).

    In your case, you might run into some issues with the different date systems not getting parsed well, so you may need to do a fair bit of cleanup after import.
  • Ahahah! So you install it from github? https://github.com/inukshuk/anystyle

    It just seems like this is the typical use case ("ok, my file of mumbly mumbly references is not a good solution any more, I should try one of those citation management tools like the natural scientists use").
  • We're working with the AnyStyle developer (who is affiliated with Zotero but developed AnyStyle independently) to try to bring back the website.
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