Exporting collections seems bugged

edited June 9, 2021
Piggybacking from here, I have a similar, though not identical issue. I have a collection that I exported once, everything was fine, but then exported another time when more items were added. However, these new items seemingly didn't make it into the export (I can't guarantee that only old items were retained and new items excluded, the total amount of exported items just didn't change, and I can't check what's new and what's old reliably). This happens repeatedly and the only way I can export the collection in its current state in its entirety is by just selecting all the items in the collection and clicking export there (so not on the collection, but just the sum of its items).

EDIT: this doesn't only happen with CSV, tried with CSL JSON as well, same result.
  • Note that the thread you link to was not a Zotero bug at all, but a problem with an old version of Excel reading in CSV data incorrectly.

    As in the other thread, narrowing this down further would be helpful. Since you are able to create complete export using select all as well as export with items missing using collection export, you can compare the files.

    I assume you've made sure to save with a different file name to make absolutely sure you're not just looking at previous export?

  • True, the linked thread wasn't the same issue, it just seemed similar to me in its symptoms, so I thought about posting a reply there before making a separate thread.

    I did some more tests, and it looks like this is down to a misunderstanding on my part, or possibly a bug after all. The reason only some items were exported when exporting the collection (and not the items on their own) is because I initially had everything in one collection before using subcollections. When I started using subcollections I, of course, sorted the items from the main collection there and only added new items to the subcollections directly. However, this meant that, while I had the "show items from Subcollections" setting on, only the items I originally added, before I started using subcollections, were actually *in* the main collection. The items exclusively added to subcollections showed up in the main collection as well, by virtue of that view setting, but when exporting, only the "genuine" main collection items were exported.

    Now I removed all "genuine" main collection items from the main collection, so they're not in the main and a subcollection at the same time, and visually, nothing's changed (as the view setting still shows the content of subcollections, which is good). However, if I now export the main collection, it just generates an empty export.

    IMO, this isn't how it should work. If I use a subcollection sorting method but turn "show items from Subcollection" on, exporting the main collection should include those items only found in subcollections (but shown in the main collection by virtue of that setting) as well, as this is considerably more intuitive. If not, then Zotero should find a way to distinguish visually the items that are *really* in the selected collection and those only in subcollection but visualized anyway.
  • I would actually have expected to be subcollections to be included in export regardless of the display setting, I didn't realize that was not the case. @dstillman is that on purpose?
  • edited June 12, 2021
    The Zotero RDF translator, which includes collections, will export subcollections and their items.

    I don't think it really makes sense for export translators that don't include collections to include items from subcollections when that preference is disabled. But now that it's visible in the View menu, I think the export should obey it, since I do think that the expected behavior would be for the export to match the visible items in the current view. Issue created.
  • I see what you mean. A minor gripe I have with that solution is that the setting is found under "view" and is called "*show* items [...]". If that setting alone should be the difference between including subcollections in exports or not, it would make more sense to me if the option was found in the preference menu and renamed to "include items [....]", as it's about more than just visuals at that point. Hiding the setting in that way isn't ideal either, so maybe somebody has a better idea. Just leaving it under "view" does leave it up to misunderstanding a bit.
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