Best iPad workflow?

Hi all,

I am trying to figure out the best way to sync the PDFs from my zotero library to my iPad so that I can annotate them with a third party PDF reader and have those annotations show up across all devices.

Currently I have multiple PCs and use the "attach stored copy of file" setting with webdav sync. If I look at the sync folder on the webdav server, it's full of zip files, so it looks like I couldn't just point my ipad there. (by contrast the [user]/zotero/storage folder on my PCs contains separate folders with individual PDFs). Would there be a way for my iPad to access the equivalent of the [user]/zotero/storage folder that exists on my laptop?

I have installed ZotFile and I see that I can use the "send PDF to tablet" function. This works well, and the automatic annotation extraction is quite nice, but it has a lot of manual steps to send and retrieve. More importantly, I would not have access to my entire library from the iPad.

I could turn off webDAV sync, and use Zotfile to create links to PDFs into a folder
that is synced by my cloud service. I would then have access to the entire library of PDFs on my iPad, but the downside, as I understand it, is that using a cloud service to sync is risky and error-prone. Also, I have 10,000 items and worry about migrating them out of my user/zotero/storage folder into a cloud-synced folder.

Am I right that these are the only options for having access to zotero PDFs from my iPad?

  • The official Zotero iPad app is currently in beta testing. When that is available, that will be the best way to work with an iPad.

    For now, if you use Zotero file storage, the web library on is what I would recommend. With WebDAV, the Send to Tablet feature is probably your best option. I would not recommend switching to linked files at this point.
  • Thanks - I signed up for beta testing but only recently, so I imagine the app will come out before it's my turn to join.

    I will look into the web library. I haven't yet used it but it sounds like it could be a good option in combination with send to tablet.
  • You can also try the Papership app to load and annotate your Zotero library. It annotates perfectly fine, but unfortunately it annotates the PDF itself *and* it renames the attached PDF.

    Papership isn't well supported at all anymore, so if it doesn't work well for any reason for you, there's no reason to think it will be fixed. However, I have used it periodically over the past ~18 months, especially when offline (on a plane), and it has worked well as long as I manually rename the edited file through Zotero afterwards, once I'm back at my desktop/laptop.

    Also, I have not tested Papership annotations with the upgraded Zotero database (after recently upgrading to Zotero beta), but viewing the articles still works fine.
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