Can I import pdf files into Zotero from a WebDav server which no longer syncs?

I have stored quite a few pdfs on a WebDav server only which, unfortunately, no longer syncs with Zotero. However, I can still access the .prop and .zip files on the server and could download them.

Is it possible to import these files in one way or the other into the local Zotero storage of my computer?

Thank you.
  • Assuming you're still using the same Zotero library you used to upload those files, you can just copy that whole directory to a WebDAV server that still works, reset file sync history from the Sync → Reset pane of the Zotero preferences, and then sync. If you have to download files at sync time, it will pull down any files you don't have locally.
  • Thank you, that is a indeed a straightforward solution.
  • I have now managed to download my library stored at the non-functional WeDav provider and uploaded it to another working WebDav storage provider.

    Following the procedure described above, MyLibrary does sync but only about 200 items out of 2000.

    Whenever I click on an attachment with an open blue circle (i.e. no local copy available), Zotero kindly downloads the file from the new cloud storage and opens it locally.

    Looking at my local storage folder, I see many folders which contain only a .zotero-ft-cache file.

    Are there any other methods to force a download of the attachments in the cloud to have them available locally?

    Thank you - Stefan
  • If you use Reset File Sync History and have it set to download files "at sync time", it will download all files that are available online. If it's set to download files "as needed", it will only download them when you try to open them.
  • Thank you, DStillman, for the quick reply - as always... = amazing support!

    I followed the initial instructions to the letter - downloads are set to occur "at sync time." Every time I reset, it just syncs less than 150 of 2200 files in the cloud. I also logged out and in again between all individual steps.

    The WebDav cloud folder has 2.2GB, the local Zotero one about 600MB. (The syncing is quite fast in the sense that it would neither up- nor download 600MB with my internet speed.)

    Not sure what I am doing wrong.

    Bye, Stefan
  • Here's the debugging ID for the problem described above:


    This is what the debugging file should reflect:

    (1) resetting the sync history I
    (2) started a sync (ca. 130 files are mentioned in the pop up window above sync arrow);
    (3) then, I opened a file with an empty blue dot next to it and the attachment opens up (after downloading, I suppose).

    Thanks, Stefan
  • You may need to make a change (any change) to an item as well after resetting file sync history to trigger file downloading.
  • Thank you for checking the debugging file.

    I tried your suggestion by making the following changes to an entry of a file which shows an attachment and a blue circle next to it:

    (1) added pages numbers;
    (2) changed name of library in which the entry resides;
    (3) removed the shown attachment file.

    In none of the cases the attachment was downloaded after each time resetting and resyncing the library.

    In any case. it would seem impractical to make individual changes to about 2000 files (if it could not be automated somehow).

    The rationale behind downloading all files is to have them locally on my computer in case I end up somewhere without internet connection.
  • edited November 23, 2020
    No, I'm not saying to make a change to each item. I'm just saying you have to make a change to your library — possibly remotely — and sync it for Zotero to try to download files. Right now, due to an optimization, it's skipping downloads on this computer because there've been no remote changes, so there's no chance that there are new files to download. (It might be a bug that Reset File Sync History doesn't override that.)

    Just make a change to an item — any item — in your web library, reset file sync history, and sync. If that doesn't trigger the downloads, provide another Debug ID for that.
  • Hello again,

    uploading an attachment to the Web Library did the trick. The next sync after a reset downloaded all available attachments.

    Thank you for your knowledgeable suggestions!

    Glad owner of a local library - Stefan
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