Deleting all entries from online library

This discussion was created from comments split from: deleting a library.
  • I have a similar question. I really do want to delete 14,000 entries from my online library and start with zero citations. Yes, I have them backed up elsewhere, but I do not want these citations in my Zotero library and I really to want to start over. The only way I can seen to do that is select a screen at a a time. 14,000 references is a lot of screens.
  • You should use the desktop app for all significant work, and that certainly applies here.
  • Thank you. That makes sense, but I could not figure out how to do this at the time I posted. What seems to have worked is:
    1) Close the local PC app and empty "C:\Users\first.last\Zotero"
    2) Open the app, and go directly to Edit > Zotero Preferences
    3) Select the Sync tab
    4) On the Settings in the Sync window, make sure that all boxes are unchecked (this is what I missed before writing)
    5) On the Reset tab in the Sync window, choose "Replace Online Library" and then click the "Reset..." button

    For 14,000 references, be prepared to wait 20-30 minutes with a reasonably fast Internet connection. When this Sync is over, you should have zero references in both your local and your online library.
  • edited 27 days ago
    I mean, sure, that works, but the normal thing to do would just be to work in the Zotero app, in which case you would just Select All, delete, empty the trash, and sync. (Deleting the data directory and using Replace Online Library is a little easier if you also have a lot of top-level collections to delete.)
    4) On the Settings in the Sync window, make sure that all boxes are unchecked (this is what I missed before writing)
    No, that's not required or related to the above steps at all. And if you're actually using Zotero syncing going forward, you would want to leave those all enabled.
  • I was working in the app, as indicated by step 2 above. Since I could not find any other relevant guidance, I described to the best of my ability what worked for me. This situation should not arrive frequently, but my recent experience is that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages when trying to use a very large library accumulated over decades and brought over from other reference managers.
  • edited 26 days ago
    You're misunderstanding.

    You originally were using the online library. My point is that, if you're just using the app, which is what we always suggest for significant work, there's no special "guidance" that you have to seek out — you just Select All, delete, and empty the trash, the same way you would delete any items in Zotero. There's nothing special or difficult or rare about your situation. You only couldn’t use Select All because you were using the online library.

    As I say, if you have lots of collections that would have to be laboriously deleted one by one, deleting the data directory and using Replace Online Library might be a little faster, but most people using Zotero who want to delete items just select them and delete them. Replace Online Library is generally for people who restored from a backup and want to overwrite the online library using the earlier backup.

    And I'm explaining, as a Zotero developer, that you're mistaken about Step 4 — that has no relation to this and isn't something you need or want to do. I can explain to you what each of those checkboxes does if you want to know, or you can read the documentation, but they have nothing to do with this, and you should leave them enabled if you're using Zotero syncing.
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