Feature request: click to change date parsing

edited January 29, 2020
The problem of date fields defaulting to the US standard is well-known. If I type in 3/1/15, it's considered March 1, 2015 in the US, and January 3, 2015 in the UK.

If we could simply click on the "m d y" characters to the right of the Date field and switch it to "d m y", as well as vice versa, (and, of course, set the underlying date code accordingly) it would be a big help.
  • Just to clarify, Zotero doesn't "default to the US standard". It will parse the date according to your locale. If Zotero is using the en-GB locale (which it should on an en-GB system), it will parse 3/1/15 as January 1.

    This should only be an issue if you're in a group with people using other locales, in which case it's better to use an unambiguous format ("January 3, 2015" or "2015-01-03"). Your clicking idea wouldn't change the value visible in the field, so there would still be confusion if the date was entered ambiguously.
  • The problem also occurs if we have Zotero installed in more than one system, with different system locales, and sometimes when using the connector. I'm going to go ahead and put forward that I would find the ability to one-click change how that field is parsed on a record-per-record basis would be useful.
  • In the sense that it would be remembered per field, and synced across systems?

    Why not just change the date to something that can be parsed unambiguously?
  • That's what I do now, but it a single click is more efficient than edited a text field.
  • Oh, I presume that the underlying date object will be synced across systems in any case - that is, if I entered it as 1/3/09 in a GB system, it will be saved as something that would be parsed as 3 January 2009 even if I open it on a US system. If not, I have a massive problem with several-thousands of citations.
  • This is exactly why I would suggest to move to unambiguous date formats. The dates you see are saved as-is; if you hover over a date Zotero will show you what that specific system it would parse to, but that info is not synced. That 1/3/09 when it turns up on a US system will 1st of March.

    I could see a right-click option to change the date to an unambiguous format being really useful. It's also possible to bulk-change the dates through scripting, but that runs the risk that you lose information.
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