Zotero Online + OneDrive

I would like to sync my pdf files, which are stored in OneDrive, with Zotero. What I wish to accomplish is:

1) At the Moment my local pdf folder on my mac is synced with a folder in OneDrive.

2) My Zotero app on my mac is synced with Zotero online si that I can browse my library from other locations.

3) When I click on a Zotero library item it tries to open my local pdf, not its OneDrive version. This of course does not work when I am online from a remote device. Links should point to the pdf version that is in OneDrive not on my local computer!

4) should I manually insert a link to OneDrive in each and every Zotero library file to obtain what I wish?

5) Ore is there a way to use my OneDrive folder as the primary storage for Zotero so that Library items are automatically linked to that folder rather than to my local folder?
  • The easiest way to do this is just to use Zotero storage, which makes your files available from anywhere via zotero.org.

    If you want to use OneDrive for your files, you would need to use linked files rather than stored files. The ZotFile plugin can help with a linked-file workflow. You won't be able to access the files from your web library on zotero.org that way.
  • Thank you! This is one way I will ponder. Meanwhile I have realized that I can open each file I have in OneDrive and save it to my Zotero by using the 'Save to Zotero' Chrome plugin. It works, and the items are available in Zotero both locally and online! Is this a correct procedure in your opinion?
  • No, you shouldn't do that, and I suspect you may be mistaken about what you're actually saving. Again, if you want to keep files in OneDrive, you would need to use linked files.
  • Thanks, but I'd like to know more about your negative opinion, if you don't mind. I created a group library for my project based in Italy, Austria and Australia. We have 95 pdf, word and excel documents at the moment, all stored inOneDrive. Our librarian just opened each of them and used the chrome plugin to save them 'with snapshot' in his local Zotero app, where he added authors, modified the titles, etc. His local app is synced with our Zotero.org group library and all of us can now see and use them. All the links point to our OneDrive storage - to which we all have access anyway - and we all can open and read the files and download them if we wish. It works perfectly even from my iPhone and iPad! In the future, files would be added this same way, first uploaded to OneDrive and then saved as links-with-snapshot in Zotero.
    So, I would like to understand better why you say we shouldn't do that. What's wrong?
  • edited 11 days ago
    It depends what exactly you're doing.

    If you browse to an actual PDF, no matter the location, the Save to Zotero button should be a PDF icon, and clicking it should save the PDF as a stored-file attachment (and try to retrieve metadata to create a parent item). That file would sync using Zotero file syncing, and it would no longer be related to the file in OneDrive. That's fine, but it doesn't really have anything to do with OneDrive, and it'd be a little cleaner to just drag the file to Zotero from your filesystem to avoid an extraneous URL for the OneDrive HTTP location in the attachment metadata. It'd be better to just do a search for all PDFs in OneDrive and drag them to Zotero in batch. You also might want to delete the copies in OneDrive, which would become redundant and potentially confusing.

    If you actually add a file as a linked-file attachment, it can exist anywhere on your computer — e.g., in OneDrive — and can exist at different locations on different computers of yours if you set a Linked Attachment Base Directory. But linked files can't currently be added to groups, since there's no guarantee that people in the group will have access to the same files, so I assume this isn't what you're referring to.

    If you're saving from some sort of OneDrive webpage that includes a PDF preview, which sounds like perhaps what you're seeing if you're describing these as "snapshots", all bets are off. That'd be an HTML page rather than an actual PDF, so the content wouldn't be searchable in Zotero, you wouldn't be able to do things like drag to a folder or email, various other features wouldn't work, and it'd be dependent on whatever happens to be in that local HTML, which might not continue to work. The latest version of Zotero might even prevent this from working, since it removes JavaScript from snapshots. But I have no idea if this is what you're actually doing.
  • edited 11 days ago
    Our librarian just opened each of them and used the chrome plugin to save them 'with snapshot' in his local Zotero app, where he added authors, modified the titles, etc.
    Note that, depending on what the files are, this may also be a bad use of time. You generally want to save to Zotero from the web, which will try to save high-quality metadata and PDFs for you. Most academic PDFs that are added directly should also be automatically recognized, with metadata downloaded for you.

    If you're saving webpage previews of PDFs — which, again, you may or may not be doing — you're not downloading the actual file and Zotero wouldn't be able to retrieve metadata automatically. As a rule, if you're doing manual data entry from scratch in Zotero, there's a good chance you're doing something wrong.
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