help! zotero has destroyed my entire Dissertation

Zotero has destroyed my dissertation by crashing, switching or deleting footnotes and glitching. I defend in a month and am having a very difficult time trying to refind all the citations. I do not know what to do at this point. Anytime I try and add page numbers to a footnote the whole thing glitches crashes and randomly replaces the footnote with another one. I only downloaded it because a committee member recommended it and now I am screwed.
  • OK, let's take this piece by piece.

    First, what exactly do you mean "crashing"?

    What citation style?

    If you're having a problem in a specific document, see Debugging Broken Documents for various things you'll need to try, including breaking the document up into smaller pieces and seeing if the problems occur there. As long as Zotero works properly in a new, empty document, this is definitely fixable.
  • Sorry to hear that. Obviously that's not a common experience and so it's hard to help on a general level. If you have a particular example with exact steps of what you did, what occurred any error messages displayed, that'd be helpful. Also, exact Word and Zotero versions would help.

    Finally might be helpful.
  • If I could post a photo I could show you. I am using chicago style citations in footnotes. Right now the footnotes nonsensically jump from footnote 26 to footnote 29. nothing I do can change this. Othertimes I will be making a citation and the program will freeze and a message will pop up on the screen saying Zotero has crashed. and then when I reopen the document all of the footnotes are lines and lines and lines of nonsensical code
  • You can upload screenshots to Dropbox, imgur, or similar and post a link here.
  • Are you using tracked changes? Footnote numbering is controlled by Word, not Zotero. Usually if the numbers aren’t lined up right, it’s because there are deleted footnotes whose deletion is tracked. Accept those deletions and the numbering will update.
  • Yes, was going to say the same thing as bwiernik re: footnote numbering. E.g. here are several posts by people with this exact problem, entirely unrelated to Zotero (some suggestions for troubleshooting there, too):
    As for
    when I reopen the document all of the footnotes are lines and lines and lines of nonsensical code
    That sounds like it may just be
  • Thank you that fixed the first problem but now I have some articles that are not in Zotero's system and every time I try to add them to my bibliography Zotero erases them. I feel like Zotero is trying to undo my work. What do I do?
  • What do you mean by that? Do you mean that you're manually editing the bibliography to add things that aren't in Zotero? (Because that wouldn't be the correct thing to do.) Or do you mean something else?
  • How do I add things to the bibliography “correctly” if there is no citation available because they are articles not books
  • (No zotero citation)
  • How do I add things to the bibliography “correctly” if there is no citation available because they are articles not books
    You can certainly add articles to Zotero and cite them, so I'm a little confused here.

    To add a work that isn't cited in the text, you'd use the edit bibliography function, but you'd still need a Zotero item for said work.
  • Nope. I tried that. If I click edit bibliography and try and add a new article then it still erases it. These are items that if I try and cite them through the web browser zotero does not recognize them.
  • If I try to add a citation a box pops up saying "zotero experienced an error trying to update the document". I just want to know how I can add to the bibliography without zotero erasing my work, or without zotero crashing.
  • You can disconnect your document completely from Zotero using "unlink citations" -- but this is irreversible, so keep a copy with Zotero linked just in case.

    If you do want to keep using Zotero, see and fix citation insertion and we can take it from there.

    For adding items for which adding by browser fails see

    As a general rule, Zotero works best if you don't try to manually edit its outputs in the Word document until unless absolultely necessary and then only after unlinking citations.
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