[feature request] updating items that exist in multiple libraries

edited January 26, 2024
So we know there's this invisible 'link' that exists between an item A in My Library L1 and its copy (A') in a group library L2. We know this link exists because when I re-drag A from L1 to L2 it silently fails (because it's already there).

I'm sure there are requests to keep such items in sync automatically etc and I'm also sure there are reasons this is more complicated than we think.

But this means currently it is impossible to edit A in L1 (e.g. add metadata, add attachment) and also update its clone A' in L2 (except by redoing all edits manually in L2) . The only way to do this is to delete A' from L2, empty trash, redrag A from L1 and L2. Is that correct?

I want to check whether this is correct before I do a feature request. The need for some way of updating comes up fairly often by the way in any case where multiple group libraries are in use, either for collaboration or for displaying publication lists.

(The feature request would be to not fail silently, and could take two further forms: either update A' in L2 when I drag A from L1 and L2 *and* A≠A' in metadata or attachments; or just always copy items whether they exist or not and let users manage the task of resolving duplicates. The latter may be a useful first quick fix with no obvious adverse consequences.)
  • You're correct in your description of the status quo and some version of what you're requesting/proposing is, as I understand, what dstillman has said are the plans for Zotero to improve this. As always, no ETA
  • edited January 26, 2024
    This bit me again today (as it does every few weeks). So, let me spell out the feature request:

    When dragging an item from one library to another, and Zotero knows they share a history (i.e. one originated as a copy of the other),

    1. do not fail silently, as that is the most confusing and error-prone behaviour (this is how libraries go out of sync). Instead, either:

    2A. [preferred] offer to overwrite the item with a friendly message. 'This will update an existing item. Proceed? [Yes] [No].'

    2B. [acceptable] copy item as if new, creating a (near-)duplicate, leaving it to the user to resolve this using Duplicate items.

    2C. [hardcore] treat the items as identical and silently keep them fully in sync even across libraries.

    In short, believe the user if they want to drag and copy over that item, and let them. (I kind of like 2C but I understand it is likely not feasible, because group libraries may differ in how they handle attachments etc.)
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