Citation of PDF Annotations by drag and drop


One of my use case of Zotero is to quickly review and annotate PDF documents. I then need to quote the annotated excerpts with reference information.

I would like to properly refer to the annotations in the document, under a format like:
« this is the quoted text » (DocumentShortname, p. Page) comments if any.

When I use drag and drop from annotations on the left pane of the internal pdf viewer, only the quoted text is copied.

When I use the extracted notes pane (which to my opinion is less practical, as it requires additional steps, and periodic refreshs), the result is more or less what I need, but uses the fullname of the document.

I have made a few attempts to change the extended configuration templates, with not much success.

My question is then twofolds :

1. Is it possible to configure zotero to embed the document short title and page for an annotation taken from the left column of the internal pdf reader ?

2. If not, how can one tune the citation style of the extracted annotations ?

Finally, one feature request would be to add some mean to identify the english keyword that should be used in conjonction with formatting templates, especially when using zotero in other languages.
As an example, even when Zotero is configured in english it is not obvious if "Short Title" should be used as is, lowercase, with or without space, with an underscore.

  • edited May 17, 2022
    I'm trying to work through a similar question myself.
    It seems that some documentation related to this feature can be found at this page:
  • edited May 17, 2022
    This all seems like possibly a bit of a misunderstanding.

    The citations that show up in Zotero notes are just placeholders — the same kind of author-date placeholder you see in the citation dialog when using the word processor plugin. The idea is that you add annotations to Zotero notes, you do any additional note-taking you want, and then you insert those notes into word processor documents using the word processor plugin's new Add Note button. The citations in the note — either the automatic ones added with annotations or any that you insert manually using the Insert Citation button in the note editor — are added to the document as active citations, so they'll show up in the bibliography you create with the plugin. The citation style is determined entirely by whatever style you've selected in the plugin's Document Preferences window.

    It's not currently possible to configure any sort of citation style within Zotero notes itself, or for note exports from Zotero. It's possible there could be export templates for the latter in the future.
    As an example, even when Zotero is configured in english it is not obvious if "Short Title" should be used as is, lowercase, with or without space, with an underscore.
    I don't know what this is referring to. There's no such variable in note templates, which don't currently have any mechanism for inserting item metadata.
  • edited May 17, 2022
    Thank you for the clarification, @dstillman!

    I prefer to do my writing in plain text editors. Thanks to Pandoc, Better BibTeX and Marked 2, I'm able to render a live preview of my manuscript in a way that's very similar to "active citations" in other word processors.

    To elaborate on my pandoc-centric plain text writing pipeline: Better BibTeX generates sensible citekeys and a corresponding .bib file. Pandoc processes my writing. Marked 2 renders and displays the text nearly in real-time. In Zotero, I set my Quick-Copy/drag-and-drop citations to Pandoc citation style (written as @ followed by a citekey, all enclosed in brackets, ie. [@citekey],). It acts as a placeholder until I run pandoc, which replaces the [@citekeys] with properly formatted citations in my chosen style.

    This workflow operates painlessly for dragging/dropping references to books/articles/etc. Dragging quotes and annotations doesn't seem to fit into my workflow in the same way. I wish I could configure it to use pandoc-style placeholder citations. Currently static text citations are the only option, afaik.
  • Yes, a pandoc citation option for Markdown export is planned.
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