How to sort items in Collections as I choose?

My habit when writing is to sort sources by order of usefulness/importance.
In Firefox's Bookmarks I simply preface all bookmarks in a folder with a "1,2,3...5", which allows easy sorting.

I haven't yet found an equivalent sorting practice for my Zotero collections. Tagging articles doesn't yield sorting, except by specifying an advanced search for specific tags - a clunky procedure.

Most people seem to use Zotero primarily as a footnoter. But to me its primary attraction is as a flexible article filing system, which enables me e.g. to classify articles by institutional affiliation of the author, as well as by subject. But I'd like to be able to sort the articles within collections as I choose.
  • You could use the Extra field or Rights field or a similar rarely-used field for this purpose.

    But note that items can belong to multiple collections, so keeping items in a specific arrangement across multiple collections might be difficult.
  • Nice idea. But how does one populate the "Extra" field?

    No need to have same arrangement across collections. The sorting only needs to be within a collection.
  • Just select the Extra field in the right pane of the Zotero window and type.

    My comment about multiple collections concerns this scenario: You have the item "Jones et al. (2015)" in Collection A. You want it to appear first in the collection list, so you type "1" in Extra. Then you add that same item to Collection B. There, you want it to appear second. But you have already entered "1" in Extra. The same exact item can belong to multiple collections (think of collections like music playlists).
  • In my Zotero, the Extra field does not appear in the right pane of the Zotero window. It appears in the centre pane, and cannot be typed in. At least that's my experience.

    I see the point about collections.
    However, for my very rough purposes, there are good articles and there are boring articles. Good are labelled 1, boring 5 - but they remain good or boring whichever collection they are in.

  • That's some sort of confusion. Extra is a field for all regular item types — it's the last field in the list. It doesn't appear for attachments or notes.
  • OK this is what I have:

    In my Collection "Planning structure" I now have only 2 pdfs with these titles:

    A new vision for planning - there must be a better way!
    Planning and culture unfolded - the case of Flanders and the Netherlands

    These titles are both displayed in the Centre pane

    At the top of the Centre pane, above the titles, there are now column headings:

    The Creator column, obviously, has the names of the authors.
    The Extra column has nothing in it. And I cannot write anything in it.

    On the right pane of the page I have 4 tabs:
    Info | Notes | Tags | Related

    Extra is only there
  • edited April 3, 2020
    Again, Extra is a field at the bottom of the right-hand pane. It appears after the whole list of fields — Item Type, Title, Author, Abstract, Date, etc. You can see it in the screenshot of Zotero on our homepage.

    All the middle pane is doing is showing the values that are entered in the fields in the right-hand pane.
  • Ah, at last I see it. It wasn't at the bottom of my right-hand pane, because I don't display Info. I display Notes.
  • Thank you! This is now incorporated into my standard procedures.
  • I'd just like to +1 the feature request of being able to manually order items in a collection.

    (Using the extra field doesn't work because that is a global ordering.)

    E.g. I'd like to keep a collection of items to read, and be able to sort it in the order I want to read them, but without affecting any other collections.

    A kind of UI model that could be followed here is like Spotify -- every playlist has a manual order, but you can always override that at any time to order by Artist, Track, Most Recently Added -- but then also always go back to Custom.

    I do realize that this would require Zotero to add a new (invisible) order data parameter to the collection-item association.
  • I'd like to +1 mjbaldwin's feature request.

    An additional request would be to add a new parameter that indicate its status, e.g. "to read" or "revise notes".

    These two features may save quite some time.
    It would take away the need to look up order and status elsewhere.

    Currently, to achieve the desired order of my readings, I attach a code to every document to see what to read when and how important it is to read. The status of a reading is tagged in Notion at the moment.

    For example, today's 1st required reading (AR1) of my afternoon course( 2020P44B) translates into 2020P44B-14AR1 tagged "to read".

    PS I can write in the 'Extra' field, but it is sometimes automatically populated with the publisher (e.g. Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press).

  • FWIW, you can tag in Zotero as well, and especially colored tags work very well as status indicators (and you can easily filter by them).

    For all sorts of reasons, some technical some conceptual, I wouldn't expect arbitrary user defined sorting to make it into Zotero any time soon, if ever.
  • J. Hijmans -- I just use tags for that (with a color assigned) and it works very well. As far as I can tell, that's really what tags were invented for.
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