How does Zotero Labs works?

I am browsing for several days to try to understand how Zotero Labs works. I still do not understand it completely.

a) Current way of working
I have the tendency to annotate the pdf-articles that I am reading using Adobe Acrobat. I can attach the annotated pdf to the reference stored in Zotero. If understood well, the pdf is part of the local and cloud Zotero library plus a version in some library on my computer (where I am using a complex folder system to try to find them back). The folder structure is sometimes changed to 'improve' the structure or pdfs are shifted to another folder. I also tend to use the title of the reference as filename. So the filename can become quite long. To share publications, I email them or let people copy folders.

b) Possible Zotero solution
We are thinking to introduce Zotero Labs in our institute. Is it correct that our institute can create 15 groups with unlimited storage. Each group has one creator and he can added members to his group to create a common digital library? The groups are working independently, meaning, that you cannot jump from one group to another (without invitation)? Is that correct?

I am wondering how I can manage comments in pdfs though Zotero? In EndNotes the comments I put in the pdf using the EndNotes software were actually not inside the pdf but inside the database of EndNotes. I lost the comments when my database crashed while the pdfs were recuperated to restore the database.

  • Yes, b) is correct. You could achieve similar results by a single unlimited account owning all the groups, adding the 15 group "managers" as administrators who then invite any number of members into any group. The main downsides of that option would be that the managers wouldn't themselves have the ability to create groups with unlimited storage or use storage for their own libraries.

    Zotero just passes PDFs on to the PDF reader of your choice, which you can then use to annotate and save the PDF. Since PDF annotations are standardized, they work across most PDF readers (I think Mac's Skim is the only widely used exception)
  • Thank you for your answer Adam.

    - We are looking for several digital libraries parallel to each other: The idea is that the research groups work independently from each without access to each other groups (unless the group managers grant the access to their group). I suppose that Zotero Labs is just doing that. No?

    - So Zotero stores the articles in its own database and you can open and add comments as much as you want and store the file in that database? Is that correct?

  • 1) You could have one account with unlimited storage own all of the groups. The only purpose of this account would be to provide storage to the groups. Each group manager can be made an admin of their own group and work independently. Make sure at least two people know the group owner account password.

    2) Yes, if edits such as annotations are made and saved to files that are stored in Zotero storage, these will be synced to Zotero storage and other computers in the group.
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