Improved display of attachments and other information

edited August 9, 2022
I would like to be able to see directly from the library overview (in collapsed mode) all the attachments and other information related to the parent item currently selected.
I have seen a few related old posts, but not all ideas were covered. So I am putting together here a few ideas for consideration. This is just a personal feedback, if these issues are already known and planned for future improvements.

Options already available I could find:
- Press "+" in the main pane to expand all items. This will display all the attachments of all items within the main pane. But this leaves a lot of empty space in the main library pane, as most of the attachments do not have relevant information for most columns. Also, the information displayed on these items is very limited, and it is not clear what useful information to display in the first place that is not already shown on the parent item.
- Press "right arrow" in the main pane to expand a single parent item.
- Go through the tabs in the right pane. But it takes quite some time to get a good overview of the information in there.
- Similar tabs are available on the right side of the Zotero PDF viewer, except the Notes are available through a separate button on the top right. I am not sure what is the advantage of showing the notes with a separate button using another line, over keeping a tab as in the main library view?
- Display the column "Attachments" in the main pane. At the moment, the only icons I could see there are red pdf file icon and a blue dot for djvu files. I am not sure if there are more types listed in this column?
- Display the column "Notes" that will show the count of notes within each parent item.
- The main library shows different icons for the different Item Types, attached to the Title of the item, and the Item Type can also be displayed in a separate column.
- In the expanded view, a few types of attachment types have a dedicated icon. I could see one for PDF, Linked URI, snapshot and note. All other types of attachments will get a blank page icon.
- It is possible to count all the items currently displayed in the library or a collection by pressing the "space bar". This number also includes the child items that are visible when the parent items are expanded.

A few ideas:
1) In the collapsed view of the main pane, I do not have any way to get an overview of everything related to each item. I would like to see an overview of the attachment files, their type (PDFs, Linked URIs, videos, snapshots, images, word files, djvu, ...) and the number for each type (at least distinguish between one and more than one), the number of notes and what type of notes, the tags of that item (at least the first few if there are too many to show in an overview), Related items, ... All this information is accessible individually through different steps. But I feel that it should be possible to make a simple overview with all this information available from the default view in the collapsed library when selecting one item in the library. For me, the best place to put this overview could be below the Info tab in the right pane, either in an expanded view with a split pane, or in a collapsed view on a single line with icons. But there may be other ways to get such nice overview.
2) This kind of overview should also be visible from the Zotero PDF viewer in a consistent way.
3) A quick fix to display a bit more information from the default view would be to add numbers on the tabs headers in the right pane: "Notes (3)", "Tags (7)", ... But that would only partially address the problem, and may need to be adjusted for smaller monitors or window size.
4) The Attachments column could be improved: one icon for multiple attachment (two stacked blank pages?), one for multiple PDFs (2 stacked PDF files?), one for video, ... The column could even list multiple icons showing the different attachment types.
5) The ordering by Attachments of the library could be improved based on this more comprehensive information, based on type first, then number of attachments, ... I am not able to isolate at the moment the items without attachments when ordering by this column.
6) More icons could be added for a more comprehensive coverage of the possible attachments types: videos, word, PPT, txt, djvu, epub, images, ...
7) It may be useful to include the count of parent items next to the name of the library or collection in the left Collections Pane.
8) It could be useful to add the information of the size of the files attached, and be able to order by size.
9) A more complete overview of the library or collections could include more precise information, such as number of parent items, number of child items, count for each Item Type, count for each attachment type, count of notes, total size of attached files, further statistics on the library (top publications with counts, distribution by year of publication, distribution by date added to the library, ...)

I don't know about the technological constrains and development priorities, so I have just listed here some of the limitations that I have experienced on this topic and some ideas that I would like to see implemented. Some of these may be better suited for a plugin, or may already be implemented, in which case I will be glad to learn about them. Some other people having experience with different software may also have different ideas on these. Thanks a lot for the nice software and your active listening to users feedback.
Sign In or Register to comment.