Delete online "My Library"

I want to use the sync feature only for group libraries, and not my personal library. I logged in, clicked set up, and immediately unlicked "automatic sync". I then clicked on "Choose Libraries..." and de-selcted "My Library".

Unfortunately, it appears that either (a) all the default options worked faster than I could read, process, and click them to stop, or (b) a PEBCAK error crept in and something synced.

In any case, I now have My Library synced online. I'd like to remove that synced data while retaining the syncing of groups. How do I accomplish that? I don't mind reseting things, or restoring, or any of it, but would love a small guide to the steps involved.
  • Maybe a more specific question is: I see I can delete individual items and collections from "my library" (online), click "sync" from my standalone Zotero, and the same items / collections stay on my standalone Zotero installation. I expect this works since I have the setting for not syncing My Library. All well and good, and can get rid of things that way.

    Before I go hog-wild and delete everything online that way -- what are the side-effects of doing it this way? Should I be wary of syncing to a second computer at some point? (Specifically with the same circumstance -- syncing just the group libraries?)
  • Could we step back:
    Why do you want to delete "My Library" online? Is this privacy related or is it just about storage costs?

    Because if the latter, then metadata syncing is free and you can just disable file sync for "My Library" and use "Purge Storage" to remove files that are already online, so there's no need to delete anything.

    (I'd definitely not delete things in the online library. While yes, that won't sync while you have syncing for "My Library" disabled, it'll cause havoc, e.g., if you ever want to re-enable that or accidentally do so).


  • > Could we step back:
    > Why do you want to delete "My Library" online? Is this privacy related or is it just about storage costs?

    It's the former (privacy + company proprietary), not the latter.

    > (I'd definitely not delete things in the online library. While yes, that won't sync while you have syncing for "My Library" disabled, it'll cause havoc, e.g., if you ever want to re-enable that or accidentally do so).

    That's what I figured -- what is a 'better' way of doing the equivalent? What about creating a new group called "My Private Library", disabling sync, and then moving all the collections and entries there?
  • @dstillman any quick ideas? This should have worked correctly on set-up, shouldn't it?
  • FWIW, it probably should have and I can't discount a user error on the first setup. I don't recall when the first sync kicks in, and when I found the "Choose Libraries..." button.
  • edited 4 days ago
    There's not really a user-facing way to do this at this point that doesn't jeopardize the local data, since, as adamsmith says, if you deleted the items and synced later, accidentally or otherwise, those deletions would be pulled down and applied to your local library.

    But we can clear the online My Library for you if you confirm that that's what you want to do. If you later want to enable syncing for that library, you'd need to use Replace Online Library in the Sync → Reset pane of the preferences to upload items that had previously been uploaded and hadn't been modified since (since they'll all be marked as already synced).
  • @dstillman Yes, please clear the library. I'll remember to use "replace online library" when / if I want that functionality again. Do you need any other confirmation (or sending an email to support@zotero.org)?

    I'm planning on syncing a second computer of mine with the same setup : sync only the group libraries and not my personal one. Any suggestions on making sure that doesn't inadvertently sync my other computers "My Library"?

    I'm afraid I can't discount the possibility that I was negligent how I set it up the first time, so forgive me if the following suggestion is the way it is supposed to work! If possible, could you review the expected workflow for setting up sync so that the signing in doesn't immediately start a sync? Or maybe it pops up a settings page which guides you through the options one time before syncing once? Or maybe there's an advanced way to set the settings for which things to sync without signing in?

    Thanks!
  • OK, I've cleared the contents of your personal library.

    I can't really tell you what happened — even with auto-sync enabled, it shouldn't sync anytime soon after setting it up unless you actually make a change to the library data. You should certainly have time to disable syncing for My Library.
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