Feature Request Zotero Beta (Windows) + iOS Beta (iPad): ePUB reading

  • edited December 5, 2022
    Thanks @adamsmith and @DWL-SDCA .

    From my perspective I think it's nowhere clear how the team respond to feature requests at all. While it is encouraged to post them here, and well, a forum is about communication, a response of any kind would be worth. You can't just expect people to put feature requests into the void here and wait for years. Also, quite apparently here, it's not clear that +1 don't help as such. Yes, you can search for certain posts to understand that, but that's not what people do - it might be better to inform about the process elsewhere at signup or when creating a request. Or as an announcement as this platform is rather oldboned.

    If you're a aware of certain feature requests, but have much to do, a quick post suffices. There were also ideas for implementation here, which also received no answer - if more than "+1" is wanted, a response helps. For what I read, many similar feature requests also got no answer. For years.

    There is - at least in this forum - no other form of response than an written answer.

    I understand that there is more work for the team than time, but it doesn't work to expect feature requests without handling those.
  • If dev could comment on the future aspects of the possiblity of including epub format on Zotero I belive many users will appriciate this. Epub is a very important format and becomes more important as the time goes by.
  • edited December 7, 2022
    Don't wanna spam the thread, but I'd like to +1
  • It is however perfectly possible to save epubs in Zotero and send it with Zotfile to tablet and read in prefered ereader, same situation that worked for pdf for many years. But of course, Zotfile will not be able to extract the annotations from it afterwards.
  • This would be an incredibly useful addition. +10
  • +1 (the same article I was just reading in PDF was >1mb, but in epub only 38kb. I am loving https://www.epubread.com for reading the files as foxit chokes on epub but how about native in zotero?
  • The ability to attach or link an epub file in Zotero and then to extract the table of contents and annotations would be tremendously useful. I would pay for it! Btw, how much it would cost to add this feature? Thanks
  • +1 for this - it's really hard getting organizations, people, and the community to fully adopt without epub support. This is becoming a prevalent format in academia and overall research.

    It seems the devs don't replay on here, but I hope they are reading this!
  • Quoting the forum guidelines:
    Zotero developers read all threads, and community volunteers choose the questions they want to spend time on. Multiple people are able to answer most questions.
  • edited March 6, 2023
    We understand that development priorities are not determined by forum advocacies, but I think it may be useful to emphasise just to what extent EPUBs are getting integrated into the digital academic publishing ecosystem in some disciplines: Sage Journals now regularly facilitate downloading an attached EPUB in addition to a PDF. (See DOI 10.1177/0163443717692741 for example.)

    EPUBs are friendlier to e-readers (Kindles, Kobo readers, etc) and have better accessibility tools than PDFs.
  • edited March 11, 2023
    @whuber while it’s useful to emphasize its importance, I doubt that writing stuff here leads to anything.

    The usefulness of EPUBs is great cause
    - sometimes EPUBs are just better (accessibility, they are smaller both electronically than PDFs and physically than books)
    - sometimes a EPUB is only option (high shipping cost, not available as book or just not as expensive)

    Also there is no real solution to actually read and annotate across platforms without lock-in. The file format is more widely adopted by scientific publishers than before and probably this will continue.

    Despite this usefulness we are approaching 2 years and not even concrete ideas for implementation were discussed. Probably we have to accept that this is something the devs are aware of, but don’t consider it for implementation anytime soon.
  • edited April 29, 2023
    I wrote an article about this very topic here: https://ryanwwest.com/pkm-annotation/.

    It seems unlikely that Zotero will support EPUB (or HTML, which I think is at least as important) viewing nor annotations any time soon, so I'm looking for other options that might do it for me. Though it would still be nice to use Zotero for the file/reference management of all these file types, and maybe even for syncing non-PDF annotations.
  • in addition to axre I want to mention that reading and annotating epub files just is closer to 'digitalization' compared to pdf files since epub is not tied to a specific page format. And since Zotero is also more towards digitalization than using built-in functions of Word or Libreoffice, I would say, this should go together and work together more closely in the future. This for the 'meta level'.

    On the other hand, being able to read my epub book and annotate it everywhere (in class, together in group work or at home, or on the train) using different devices is so useful that even Apple promotes doing so (and users like it very much). Being able to do this using open source Zotero and maybe other apps would possibly be close to a game changer - if implemented so that people could use it without tedious technical setup.
    But right now I am looking for such a setup (without Zotero), and even that is not easy in the open source world. So one of the questions would be which apps to interface with, on mobile devices? And how to do synchronization of reading progress, annotations, bookmarks?

    As everything is taking years and decades in the open source world, especially if it is about interfaces, I would'n bet such an easy to use and devices-spanning workflow would be possible in the coming years....
  • Ryanwest, mmoole, I've found that Omnivore seems to work quite well for annotating HTML. Its much worse for PDFs than Zotero, though.

    By the way, Ryanwest, your post was useful, thank you. I have managed to do with a limited number of "professional" PDFs until now, but as I start generating PDFs from webpages or from scanned documents, I've noticed the trouble of text being out of order. I can perfectly see that turning into a bad headache for anything that needs archival.

    Maybe turning to a Zotero-for-PDF and Omnivore-for-HTML workflow would make some sense...
  • The latest Zotero 7 beta features an EPUB reader.
  • Great news! Great job!
  • Wow, ePUB and HTML, this is a dream come true! And glad my post was helpful to you, @hmijail, though I'll certainly need to update it when Zotero 7 is out. There were (are) plans to release an Android app this year too (https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/102102/any-plan-to-make-an-official-app-for-android/p1), so hopefully this will make its way there.
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