Sort columns

edited August 9, 2020

Is there any way to add 'short title' as a sort column? and URL? is there a way to add that as a sort column?
  • Neither of those make much sense to me as column options.

    Short Title frequently wouldn't be populated, and if it were it would basically just sort the same as Title. So at least in terms of sorting, it'd just be a version of Title with lots of empty rows.

    And URL isn't particularly for human consumption. It'd just be "https://" over and over, and in a column of limited width, you'd often just see the domain.

    If your goal is just to find items without values entered in a given field, you can do that via search (e.g., "Short Title" "does not contain" "").
  • I personally find it strange that I am not able to select certain fields for display and sorting. It seems like an unnecessarily imposed restriction. Why do I have to justify myself for wanting to display DOIs or URLs or [insert whatever else]? Hiding it in a submenu under "items not meant for human consumption" would be ok for me, but leaving no option at all to show these fields seems not ok to me. Surely there is a way that is not as straightforward as clicking through a menu. Does it involve recompiling Zotero with a self-coded hack? Or is there an easier way?
  • Why do I have to justify myself for wanting to display DOIs or URLs or [insert whatever else]?
    Zotero is open-source, and you can do whatever you want to your own version. If you want to propose a change that will affect everyone, the onus is on you to justify it.

    Options don't come free:
    • It takes time to implement, test, and maintain things.
    • The items list has demanding performance characteristics that make things more complicated than they seem.
    • As you can see from the drop-down in the Advanced Search window, showing every field is extremely unwieldy and makes it harder to find what you're actually looking for.
    • Some fields (e.g., Abstract) have special formatting requirements that would require special handling.
    • As a general rule we don't like to provide options that we don't feel make for a good experience.
  • @dstillman thank you for your detailed response, I agree that it is up to the proposer of a change to justify their need. In general I also think it is a good design option to not offer options that are not useful.

    One use case I can see for sorting by DOI is to find out if the Journal names are formatted consequently in the same way, since the first part of the DOI is journal specific, the journal name should be identical for items with the same DOI journal identifier.
  • since the first part of the DOI is journal specific
    DOIs are designed to specifically _not_ be for human consumption. Using human-readable components in DOIs is actively discouraged, even though many publishers still do it, but it's completely unreliable. And while DOIs have an identifier for the publisher (the prefix), there is no journal component of the DOI string. And even the prefix (i.e. the 4-5 digits right after the 10.) may change if a journal changes publishers:
    E.g. and are from the same journal.
  • ok, learned something, thanks :)
  • Hi all

    Is it possible to add the ISBN field to the available columns that show on the main view at all?

    I've looked down the list of fields and it doesn't show as selectable.

    Cheers in advance
  • Hi

    Read the above. Doesn't really make sense to me. Just trying to find out if you can add the ISBN field to the main screen so it can show as a column.

  • No.
    The above explains why not & possible workarounds for some use cases, but the answer to your question is no, you cannot.
  • I would also like to be able to show urls so that I can clean up my data. If a book has a url I don't need the place but at the moment I can't easily see which ones have urls or not. So its not so much a matter of sorting as just being able to see all the content in my fields. If there are fields I don't see why they can't be visible.

    In general it is always helpful to be able to see the content in a database particularly for data cleaning. the data that comes in from other sites including libraries and publishers is often very messy.
  • I'd think a saved search would be much more useful than an extra column for cleanup.
  • Redirected here from similar suggestion:

    We use Zotero in a fairly industrial way, e.g. to run several large group libraries, and also use kerko in several places, e.g.,

    I've often wanted to display fields like the DOI / URL in the middle column. Yes, you can find specific issues using saved searches, but sometimes we have to visually inspect things, to find issues and improve the quality of the data. So such changes would have my vote.

    Sure, usability is to do with offering the right options. However, usability is also to do with consistency. On the face of it, I would argue that it doesn't make immediate sense to a user why some fields occur as part of an advanced search (or indeed in the item details) but then I cannot display them in the middle column?

    So more options for the middle column would make sense to me :) Just my 2c.

  • One of the items that I am definitely missing in the middle column is 'number'. That would be extremely useful. Often we do series of reports that have the same 'Series', but of course different titles - if would be so helpful to be able to order these by report number.
  • It's not hard to add an existing column with a plugin.
  • There was discussion about adding Short Title as a middle column option back in 2019.

    The conclusion then was that it would be added, a ticket was created for this request.

    I am hopeful that this will soon be added as a capability. It would be of great benefit to me, and it seems a few others as well.
  • Hi @emilianoheyns,

    Do you mean that it would be easy to add items to the column selector, so they can be turned on/off? Or do you mean it's easy to write a plugin that displays certain columns on demand, but not through the plugin selector? Or both?

    A plugin would work for me, especially if it used the existing UI.
  • I mean it's easy to add new columns for existing item fields, and they'd show up automatically in the column selector. It's a more work to add non-existing columns (such as BBts citekey column), but not a whole lot.

    The one tricky bit is scrubbing the column from the persisted column state when the plugin is uninstalled/disabled. If you don't do that, zotero will enable all columns, and it's a chore to unselected them one by one.
  • @emilianoeheyns Ah that's interesting. Could say something about the basic idea about how to do this? I'll then ask one of our volunteers (who you've met) to look at.

    It might be an idea to also add an option below 'restore column order', for 'restore default columns', which would then just go back to title/author/year (if that's the default - can't remember).
  • Thank you, that's helpful!!
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