Do I need to sync Better Bibtex folder between two computers?

Hi, I've got Zotero set up with Zotfile and Better Bibtex on my PC. I'm looking for a good solution to syncing Better Bibtex on my laptop also.

The Zotfile folder is sync'd on the cloud (Dropbox) so it shares the files on my PC with Zotero on my laptop, and vice versa.

I understand that the pinned citekeys from Better Bibtex are sync'd through Zotero's online account since they are stored in the Extra field.

My question is, what is the best way to ensure that Better Bibtex is sync'd between both PC and laptop, so that changes made (items added and citekeys generated) on one will sync to the other? Specifically, do I locate the Better Bibtex folder so that it is sync'd using the cloud sync (Dropbox)? Or would changes sync'd by the Zotero database force changes in the local Better Bibtex if it not sync'd using the cloud? I'm concerned that if the Better Bibtex folder is updated through both cloud sync as well as Zotero forced updates there could be conflicts and the data could become corrupted.

Any thoughts?
  • edited August 16, 2022
    I have simply set an identical citation key format under the Better BibTeX tab on all installations of Zotero. I'm not sure how the keys are synced but identical format ensures that each item has the same key on all computers.
  • That's helpful. Thanks Iillemets.

    I wonder, do I even need the Bibtex folders to be sync'd? What purpose do they have after the citation key is generated?
  • Do not sync the BBT files/databases. The reliable way to sync keys is by pinning them. If you don't want to do this manually, you can have bbt auto-pin them. When zotero adds a supported citekey field (which is planned), BBT will migrate keys there, but the DB will stay.

    The databases are needed even with pinned keys because they offer fast and synchronous lookup of keys. It is true that this db can (and will) be rebuilt from the pinned keys if it is missing. The other thing stored in the db is auto exports.

    The json files are the cache. If they are missing they'll just gradually be rebuilt as exports happen.
  • Thanks emilianoeheyns. That confirms that I shouldn't place the BBT files/database in a sync folder. That's just what I needed to know.

    So, I understand that the only folder I need to be sync'd using a cloud sync solution then is the Zotfile folder. The remainder will be sync'd through my Zotero web account in the database fields.

    You mentioned BBT auto-pin option. I haven't seen that (or I didn't notice it) in the BBT preferences. Can you please tell me how to enable that?

    Thanks again
  • That's great. Thanks again.
  • Hi all, just coming to BBT now--just handed in a book manuscript, so now I can clean up my work patterns for the next one!

    I have a zotero library syncing between my work computer and my home computer and have two questions about how BBT will work with this.

    1) As long as I don't mess with the BBT citekey formats, will the citekeys sync OK? I will set both copies of Zotero to auto-pin the citekeys.

    2) If I want to use BBT to auto-update an external bibtex file, can that bibtex file be stored on a Dropbox folder that is synced between the two computers?

    My guess is the answers are (1) yes, it's fine and (2) no, keep it local.

    Looking forward to not having to fight the RTF scan feature next time.
  • The steps outlined in the posts are what are needed. What I have is the main Zotero folder not sync'd between computers, which means that the Zotero and BBT databases aren't sync'd. Syncing databases can cause errors, so best not to sync them.

    BBT entries are pinned using the link in the post from emilianoeheyns on August 18, 2022.

    Attachments are sync'd using Zotfile where the Zotfile folder location is not in the Zotero folder but in my Dropbox folder. That way the entries are sync'd without attachments by the Zotero account, attachments are sync'd using Dropbox, and BBT is identical on each computer using identical citation keys on each BBT installation with the BBT auto-pin option.

    I've used that for a year and a half now without any problems.
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