Merging Zotero libraries

I've seen several discussions regarding moving Zotero libraries from one computer to another. But I'm wondering if something a bit more ambitious might be possible. If I save some references in Zotero on my home computer, is it possible to merge them in to my main library on my office computer?

Sorry if this isn't the right place to be asking this...
  • For small numbers of records, import/export works O.K.

    There are also discussions on various strategies to sync the database.

    You can:
    (1)sync the zotero data directory with third party tools
    (2)put the zotero data directory on a network share (unsupported, and only one client at a time)
    (3)use portable firefox
    (4)use a third party literature database for syncing
    (5)wait for the zotero server
  • Thanks for the comprehensive answer. It hadn't occurred to me that merging and syncing are in fact the same thing. At the moment I guess (4) is the closest to what I do: Bookends and CiteULike hold partially overlapping sets of my references. (5) sonds attractive.
  • If either of you are game, I'd like to get more information on the available third party tools (1).
  • rickla commented on (4) & it is what I use too:

    I use (and help to develop) refbase, which is a free/open source webapp. It supports UnAPI+MODS XML, which zotero can "translate." While I've played a bit with a firefox extension to make all records added in zotero also get added to refbase, it isn't yet ready. However, refbase's import of common bibliographic tools is good, so I use that.

    rickla listed Bookends and CiteULike. Bookends is a proprietary, commercial desktop system for OS X & CiteULike is a proprietary, gratis webservice. Both can export formats zotero can import. CiteULike can be "translated" & both allow some file import.

    As for (1): I've used rsync and unison to sync my home directory (and so my firefox profile) with good results. Both are free/open source & work everywhere. Another general purpose sync is foldershare (proprietary, gratis webservice).

    Firefox-specific syncs include the free/open source sync firefox extension.
  • Thanks to noksagt for the pointer to refbase, and also to rsync and unison. Other tools I would mention are Bibsonomy and Wikindx.

    For a while, I thought Wikindx was the answer to all my dreams. It's a kind of wiki (that you install yourself) centered entirely around reference management, allowing teams of people to enter and search for references, and to write documents citing those references. I still think it might be a great long-term solution, but I had all kinds of problems installing it after switching web hosting to Dreamhost.

    Bibsonomy is a hosted service. It looks really promising, too. But when I first tried it my research collaborators didn't want to hear another of my "Look at this great new tool" bursts of enthusiasm, so I quietly dropped it without exploring all its possibilities.

    My general experience is that transferring references from one tool/service to another always results in some duplicates and some orphans.

    Connotea is another service. I used it briefly when it was run by an individual programmer. I'm not sure how it's going now that it's a bigger project.

    I've started a group at Ma.gnolia to share links to bibliographic tools:
  • You can also refer to:
    Zotero can translate the major centrally managed tools (Connotea + CiteULike) & refbase. It seems it doesn't yet do BibSonomy. Zotero can't yet translate wikindx (as it can refbase). The wikindx dev has been told about COinS & unAPI, so they may eventually add support.

    With all other apps, you should carefully inspect the import/export columns to see if there are compatible formats.
  • If I put the zotero data directory on a network share (2), would making it read-only allow multiple client access without problems?
  • Catlynnl: I touched on your question recently in a thread on the dev list. The short answer is no—you'd still have to have the database open from only one computer at a time.
  • Option (1) works great with Syncplicity ( I really like this solution. You can easily sync and backup two computers for free.
  • @javabgar - but it's no longer relevant - Zotero has its own sync features now, which avoid some of the problems with (1) described above.
  • Thanks, that's true, adamsmith, but until a couple days ago I was not familiar with webdav, so I couldn't sync my files, and that worked for me (and may work for other people...)
This discussion has been closed.