Attachment - Add link to any URL (NOT current page)


I have the problem that many books I have in my Zotero library are in the NetLibrary ( The problem is that I would like to be able to link to the electronic full versions of the book via an attached link. However, the Zotero dialog in the "Attachments" pane will allow me only to add a link to the "Current" page. Now, the problem is that NetLibrary does somehow do some weird redirecting (their page layout uses frames), so that the current url of the page is always, no matter which book I'm reading.

There ARE however direct links to individual volumes (e.g., but I can't attach them to my bibliographic database entry.

Would it be possible to include an option in the Attachments pane to add "Link to URL" with a dialog popping up where I can paste in any URL I want? Right now, with the restriction to the URL of the current page, I'm limited to what my browser location bar displays (which isn't always enough).

BTW, I tried pasting a URL into the location bar and then adding a link to the current URL, but his doesn't work...
  • Unless you are using the field for something else you could edit the URL field of the book itself (in the "Info" tab in the right hand pane). A double click on the book in the middle pane should then open that URL (unless you have added any snapshots, these would open instead due to the precedence rules, in this case you would have to double click on the word "URL" in the right hand pane instead).

    N.B. That does limit you to one of these types of link per book, but for your use case I would imagine that would be all that you need?
  • edited August 6, 2009
    Hey, thanks so much for the superfast reply!
    Yes, I considered using the URL field on the Info tab, and that would indeed solve my problem but then the URL shows up in my bibliography, which I want to avoid - regular books which I just read online for convenience should not indicate where they are available online (since this information is useless to others whose institution doesn't buy the same electronic access package). It clutters the bibliography with long urls and is unusual style...

    Right now, my "solution" is to save the invalid link and then enter the working link in the text box right underneath the link details (never could quite figure out what I need that URL-textbox for anyways...)
  • If you wanted to you could edit the .csl file of the citation style you use to create a new style without URLs for books, if you need a hand post back here and I'm sure someone who knows csl (unlike me) will help you out.
  • oh, that sounds like a good solution for me - I still think it would be a nice feature to be able to attach ANY (not just the current) URL to an entry, but I will read up on editing styles... thanks so much for your help!!!
  • Bionatsci's workaround is a good idea, but it's not really a good solution. The URL field in the parent item really refers to the canonical URL for the item—for example, the web location of a New York Times article or any page that a DOI resolves to. It's less appropriate for a third-party site that just provides a (subscription-based) copy of the content.
    Would it be possible to include an option in the Attachments pane to add "Link to URL" with a dialog popping up where I can paste in any URL I want?
    This is a possibility, but an alternative would be to add an option when you right-click on a link on a web page to add the link as a child link attachment of the selected item in Zotero. Right now Zotero offers a "Save Link as Zotero Item" option in the context menu, but this could be changed into a submenu with options to add a Zotero item, child snapshot, or child link (with the latter two available only if a top-level item is selected in the Zotero pane). The child attachment options would be analogous to the existing ability to add selected text to a note if one is already selected in Zotero.

    We generally try to avoid adding features that can be accomplished by integrating with existing browser functionality.
  • Dan,

    I agree, the URL of a subscription-based content provider is not really appropriate for the canonical URL...

    Your suggestion of adding the right-click submenu sounds fantastic and would solve the problem at its root... I then would however advocate having the same functionality within Zotero as well (ie. in the dropdown list of the Add-Button on the Attachments pane). It would be confusing to have different feature sets depending on whether you are in the Zotero interface or in the Firefox interface (and even more confusing to have MORE functionality in FF as compared to Zotero).

    I hope we'll see this implemented... Cheers!
  • What do you mean by "same functionality", though? Do you just mean the ability to add a link to an arbitrary URL, as you said above? You couldn't really have the same functionality in the Zotero interface, because it wouldn't be specific to a particular link the way the context menu is. I don't think having the option to link to an arbitrary URL would be a terrible thing, but I'm not sure if it would actually get used (except by people who didn't know you could right-click on links on the page).
  • by 'same functionality', I mean: I as a user have a problem: I want to add an arbitrary link as a child to a bibliographic entry. Now there are two ways I can go about trying to do this:
    a) I go to the attachment tab and see if I can get this done there
    b) I am in Firefox, right-click on the link and see if I find a menu item that does this

    With option a), I obviously have to specify the link in an extra step, but I think it would be confusing to the user to be able to have the "add an arbitrary child link" only within Firefox, but not within the Zotero interface.

    For example: in Firefox, I can right-click on a link and open it in a new tab. OR I can use the Firefox menu to open a new tab and enter the url manually. It would be weird if Firefox allowed me to open URLs in new tabs only with a right click - at least I would think so. Because a users who don't know a software by heart tend to first look around for menus/buttons in the interface before rather than going through all available right-click options.
  • I need the manual URL ability. I want to add links to Zotero entries that point to specific OneNote pages that I use to take notes. These URLs are in the form of "onenote://" and cannot be linked by any other means except manually.
  • edited September 12, 2009
    After a few months use: Zotero is great.
    Would love to see such a manual URL ability as well for similar reasons as andylin. I'm using Devonthink and would like a way to export links from individual DT-files to my Zotero entry. These links look "x-devonthink-item://..." Currently I can paste one of them into the URL slot on the info pane (with the disadvantages mentioned in this thread) or I can paste several into the note pane and turn them into URLs with the link button.
    Ideally though, they would go to the attachment pane and could be added there with a manual option.

    By the way: any chances that Zotero (on importing links) could support the "CorePasteboardFlavorType" or "WebURLsWithTitlesPboardType" pasteboard types? If so my links from DT wouldn't appear "raw" in Zotero anymore but keep the actual title of the file they point to in DT. Thanks for some giving thought to this.
  • I also need this functionality, see the excellent description in

    What is so difficult about making the link in the property pane of an attached link an editable field???
    The title in the property of the pane of a link can be changed as well!

    Please think about it again, Dan, I think this is an essential feature for many.
  • This would be an excellent feature to add, and could be integrated seamlessly with the Add Item by Identifier wizard. The only change to the UI would be to say "Enter the ISBN, DOI, PMID, or URI to look up in the box below." Then the field would check to see if somebody had entered a URI, and add that.

    As an example use case, I did a Google Scholar search for an example article and the first result linked to a script that returned a PDF with the result. This downloaded as a file rather than opening in the browser, so I could not add it via Create New Item from Current Page. When I tried adding via the right-click menu, it only added a PDF called "download" to my library, which is not all that useful in terms of helping with organization and citation management.

    I propose adding URI as a means of adding an item, along with ISBN, DOI, and PMID.

    Thanks for some great software!
  • Any news about this? As of Zotero 2.1b6 I'm still missing the possibility to attach a manual URL to a Zotero entry – say something like a fifth option in the paperclip-menu ("Attach manual URL"). It's a small point but it would help along interop and make people's workflow smoother with whatever other tools they may have in use (OneNote, DevonThink, etc.). Thanks, kithairon
  • I am thinking of this add a link option as a solution to OneNote / Zotero integration as well.
    Another workaround would be to add multiple URLs with the primary one reserved for the true web URL and the other for secondary apps, but atm you can only add one URL.
    For now, my process will be to create a note item in the Zotero entry, add text "OneNote" and link to OneNote page there. I need to generate a report from the page in order to get to click it though due to the limitations with the TinyMCE notes interface.
  • Both links to and snapshots of arbitrary URLs are reasonable and fairly important additions, now that Zotero can live in a tab (and Standalone), where these options are not always available.
  • It's been suggested that this thread is an appropriate place for my request for a way to go from Zotero to the new "Note Link" in Evernote.

    Here's the Evernote thread:

    Thanks very much!

    PS If there is another work-around for Evernote, please let me know...
  • I've posted a patch for this to the ticket:

    I don't see why this couldn't be fixed in the next major release (Zotero 3.0), if not earlier. But these things move in mysterious ways, and I can't promise a thing.
  • I've committed ajlyon's patch on the trunk.
  • Thank you.... However, I'm very much an end-user, not a developer. In layman's terms, does this mean that Zotero will be modified for this issue in the near future?

    (Any suggestions about how to proceed in the meantime?)
  • Excellent! Thanks ajlyon for your good work on the papercut front, and Dan for the speedy commit. This is greatly appreciated here.
  • hgray: This means that this feature will definitely be in Zotero 3.0, and it could conceivably be in a future version of Zotero 2.1 (like 2.1.9 or something).
  • Great, since I gather that this is public info, I've posted this link on the Evernote user forum. Hope you don't mind, perhaps it will facilitate further collaboration.

    Here's the link:

    Of course, if I've misunderstood what's going on with Zotero's plans, I apologize.
  • To make this work, we're going to need to create a whitelist of protocols that Zotero will allow links to. I've started a list at , please post additional suggestions here. In particular, what other productivity/research software provides useful links of this sort?
  • Tried using the new "Attach Link to URI" option on the latest trunk with a link to Devonthink (x-devonthink-item://....) No visible results in Z. (Report ID is 1112111812; Debug ID is D951235498). Presume the whitelist is not yet in action.
  • edited June 21, 2011
    Dan? Can you loosen the regex to include the mentioned protocols?

    (I've attached a patch to the ticket that adds support for the protocols.)
  • Please, add support for links:
    PersonalBrain (brain://4F836BB7-F56E-CC56-3B5A-571FFA2E9B03/AAA3C936-00E8-9CE5-28F5-66508A2DAC55)
    MyLife Organized (mlo://C:\DataBase\{0E855AA8-5404-486A-A186-18E4204D2612})
  • I've added those to the ticket. I'm hoping Dan can comment on this and say whether he'd rather go with a whitelist or simply allowing all protocols. There are conceivably security implications that justified limiting the protocols in the first place.
  • I see the URI option is there in 3.0beta now, which is great. Just needs to have an approved whitelist in place to accept onenote, evernote, etc.
  • Discussion of a whitelist is ongoing, and will probably be in the next beta.
  • Just a big +1 for the whitelist implementation, and please be lax
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