Custom display of the Info tab in the Item pane

edited September 26, 2022
After adding an item to my library, I usually check quickly the quality of the metadata imported. However, I realize that it takes me some time to locate the fields to compare to the metadata I can see online or in the PDF file.
I usually check the metadata by order of importance for citations: title -> authors -> publication -> date -> volume -> issue -> pages -> ... But in the current UI, all the fields have exactly the same format, making it difficult to catch quickly the correct metadata I want to check.

I would like to have user defined settings to customize the way to display the metadata in the Info tab in the Item pane. Some of the things that would be useful:

1) Formatting of each field:
- bold, italic, font size
- Show the Item Type as a dropdown menu to make it easier to separate from the rest of the metadata
- Remove the field name in front of the title to increase its visibility and give it more space
- Allow for a compact display of authors on a single line to make it more readable. This could be expanded when clicking on it to get the full editing options.
- Allow for indented display of the short fields (volume, issue), or right alignment, to make them easy to find quickly visually

2) Order of the fields:
- I would move down the abstract, as I never use it for citation, so I don't need to check it carefully. This seems to be the default in the Web Library.
- I would move up the date below the publication

3) Hide some fields (as mentioned in other posts, like this one):
- Hide if empty, but only for secondary fields: the key fields should be always visible (pinned), so that it is clear that they should probably be fixed. So there should be a custom list of primary fields pinned.
- Option to always hide some secondary fields, even if not empty.
- The switch between compact and full view of the metadata could be switched by +/- shortcut in the Item pane, or with a button to click to make it more obvious.

4) Show all the information of the item in the same window, so that we do not need to navigate between central pane and different tabs to find them: attachments (files & notes), related, tags. I understand that they are not metadata for citation, so they could be separated into a sub-pane, or even in a bottom pane below the central pane. But it should be possible to get everything visible at once. See some discussion here.

Is there any plugin that allows some customization of the metadata display?
In Mendeley Desktop, they have a more structured display of the metadata, with some advantages and drawbacks.

The most relevant post I could find is this one from 2013:
Having these display settings as optional would avoid having to decide on the best default display settings.
  • Not exactly what you're asking about, but do check out the Zotero Preview add-on, which gives you a formatted citation in a separate pane -- I find that very useful to check metadata completeness for standard fields quickly.

    As I understand, any UX changes will be in Zotero 7 the earliest
  • edited September 26, 2022
    Thank you for your suggestion.
    I do have the Zotero Citation Preview add-on.
    I find it useful to check the formatting of citations.
    But I find it too limited for checking the metadata, as it is on a single line, and does not give direct access to fix the problematic metadata. Also, the Preview tab is not added next to the Zotero PDF Viewer, so it does not work at the moment when checking the metadata from the PDF file in Zotero.

    I have given a long list of possible feature requests to address the problem. But even adding the first feature ("Formatting of each field: - bold, italic, font size") would already significantly improve the readability of the metadata.
    Hopefully the move to Zotero 7 could be an opportunity to look at this issue again.

    I add other possibilities to the list above:
    5) Add background colour on some fields (either individually or grouped together). Colour coding would give very fast visual access to the key fields, and would probably not require much changes in the overall formatting of the metadata.

    6) Item Type dependant formatting.
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