Changes to fields and item types for Zotero 5.1

  • edited September 19, 2011
    Philippe is a contributor to the project, and has generously offered up a comprehensive study of 20 legal styles that I've received, but haven't yet examined. As our two branches of analysis converge, we'll be putting forward a definite proposal; as the issues he raises show, we'll be hankering after some substantial changes in the legal types.

    (As one comment on the suggestions posted above, we might want "judge" as a discrete creator type. There are "case notes" in both civil and common law jurisdictions which are most comfortably entered as "legal_case" because they require much of the same metadata, and (in French citation) collapse as parallel references when cited together with a case. Case notes and judgments can require different formatting and are different categories, though, so having two separate creator types would be useful.)
  • Please mind also the ISSN field for all plausible item types and the Mapping of ISSN to CSL (to finally make available the output like for ISBN and DOI)
  • Christian - no need to re-post things that are already listed on the whiteboard (and issue tracker)
  • The whiteboard should probably be considered outdated at this point, but indeed there is no need to repeat issues that are already in the tracker ( That said, additional explanation or justification is welcome in the respective tickets in the tracker.

    Frank & Philippe: Great. I look forward to seeing what you make of the situation, and sincerely hope that we can get the lot of them into Zotero 3.1 as a coherent, comprehensive revision of those types.
  • @adamsmith & ajlyon: sorry! ;-) I had seen ISSN in issue discussion only in the Zotero-fields thesis and book (and mapping to CSL-ISSN); but no general mapping of Zotero-ISSN to CSL-ISSN and even in the issue tracker I could not find a mapping involving ISSN. Hope this is included / logical then? Is this the best place to add a comment: ?

    Another question to versions / roadmap:
    v 2.1.10: actual release (2 Sep 2011)
    v 3.0: actual Beta Release (22 Aug 2011)
    v 3.1+: here discussed changes to fields and item types

    I understand that the integration of CSL-features and beta-testing is complex, but a possible prediction would be very helpful. Is there a status of the 3.0 Beta and a plan when 3.1 would be beta?
  • Yes, the issue tracker is the best place for comments.
    Zotero has moved away from making very specific predictions about timing, as they've just proven to unreliable in the past.
    I'd expect 3.0 final to be released this year.
    But 3.1 is really not predictable at this point - very likely sometime next year.
  • opened an issue to add illustrator as creator type:
  • Map item type -- add gps field.

    I'm using Zotero to manage some uniform place records, and could really use the GPS coordinates in the map item type as that is the most likely type to use. Could of course put in the extra field, but it falls below the fold of Zotero window on my laptop for this item type.
  • ketchell - please read the first post in this thread wrt adding fields - fields are primarily for storing bibliographic information, i.e. the type of information that may be used to cite the item in question.
    For everything else use note, tags etc.
    If GPS coordinates are actually cited for maps, please also see the first post and provide documentation.
  • In my present work I'm using the 'original date' information, I mean, the date of the first edition. And, for the translations, the 'original title' the 'original edition', and the 'original language'.

    My Handbook of Style demands citations like:

    Balz, Horst – Schneider, Gerhard, Diccionario Exegético del Nuevo Testamento (α-κ), vol. I, Salamanca 22001, (= Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, 21992).

    OR, the minimum is:

    Balz, Horst – Schneider, Gerhard, Diccionario Exegético del Nuevo Testamento (α-κ), vol. I, Salamanca 22001 (alem. 21992).

    The parenthesis + equal symbols refer to the original edition.
    The little number beside the year is the edition (2nd, in this case).
    The book is a translation from the second edition of the original in German.

    Presently I'm doing a very strange solution, puting this information in the Extra field and formatting it manually: (= <i>Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament</i>, <sup>2</sup>1992)
    I've adapted myself the CSL, so the output includes the 'Extra' field.
  • Please add support for subtitles of books (

    I'm currently making the Zotero format for the Pontifical Biblical Institute. They require that a book title be formatted in italics, while the book subtitle be formatted in regular type. Both fields are considered required.

    Documentation of the style used at the Pontifical Biblical Institute can be found in "A Guide to Biblical Research" by Stanislaw Bazylinski (
  • I would like to second javimat's call for "originalTitle" in addition to "originalDate" and "originalPublisher" (the latter two are already on the whiteboard).

    Not only do titles (occasionally) change from one edition to the next, but most importantly this is very important for translated works, especially when the original title needs to be included in a citation. This excludes the workaround in which a translated item is linked to its original publication with the "related" feature.

    I think this should be implemented for several item types, at least book, all "article"s, blog post, Film, Interview. Best, Christof
  • javima, christof:
  • Hi adamsmith, I am aware of the multilingual Zotero project, of course. It sounds really cool, but it is an experimental branch project which goes way beyond what most people need, and it does not have the stability, steady development, community support, and documentation of Zotero itself.

    For me, and I imagine quite some other people, the trade-offs are too big because we have no urgent need for the distinction between the original version, the transliteration and the translation in several languages and for various fields, or for the option to sort by any one of the title variants or languages that can be defined, etc.

    But, for many people it would be very useful and perfectly sufficient to have a standard way to document and output the original title of a translated work, optionally with the original date and publisher.

    Best, Christof
  • edited November 18, 2011
    The Multilingual version, as I understand it, will eventually be folded back into Zotero. I'm not sure if there's much willingness to implement half-baked solutions until then, though I can certainly see why such a field would be useful.
    edit: add this here:
  • MLZ does have documentation and community support. It doesn't have official support of the CHNM team, but Frank is a great developer and very dedicated to making it work cleanly, and it's being used in serious projects around the world. So there's reason to be cautious, but it's not the case that MLZ is a completely cowboy, radical, unstable solution.
  • I'll take all the endorsements I can get. :)

    Re the original title etc requested by javimat and christof.s, this is an interesting wrinkle. The use cases that MLZ addresses are typically works in a language unfamiliar to (a portion of) the readership, and so call for a supplementary translation against the title, and transliteration of scripts that might otherwise be frightening or otherwise off-putting to (a portion of) the audience.

    Here, the call is for the reverse -- the work and its citation details are already in a familiar language, but the original is to be provided for reference. To cope with this, we would want to be able to mix the two forms of reference in a document. I think that can be done smoothly, without changes to the existing UI, by assuring that the original-language titles of (say) Russian works are never pulled in as "translations" when (say) "ru" is selected as a translation language.

    While that adjustment to the logic in MLZ would be a good thing (and so thanks for raising the issue!), I'm not sure this use case should be covered by multilingual field entries.

    The cites are really to two completely separate works, connected by the fact that one is a translation of another. That's the old hierarchical items bug-bear, and there seems to be a growing sense (correct me if I'm wrong) that covering these cases with extra fields in a single item is an acceptable interim solution.
  • @fbennet: Sorry if I downplayed the documentation and stability of the MLZ project; I actually think MLZ is rather more sophisticated than necessary for the problem at hand, although of course for those with those complex needs, it is great. Cheers, Christof
  • I've been trying the MLZ and that's not what I need.

    For translated works, my Handbook of Style asks for some information (original title, date, edition, language, and, eventually, publisher and publisher place; see my example above); but perhaps other Handbooks want, say, original # of pages, original-series, etc.

    I wonder if it is possible to relate items in Zotero with the special characteristic of "original" (obviously, only one item can be the original of another).
    So, in every variable of the CSL, in a Citation Style, could be prefixed the word "original-", and Zotero will serve, from its database, not the content of a field named (say) "original-title" but the content of the "title" field of the "original" item.
    In this way, every Style would have all the information of the original item (including my requested original "edition", and "language"), and there would be no need to add:
    - In the Zotero "Info" tab, then new fields (and in the Syncing code).
    - In the (translated) item, one by one, the information (from the original) that every Style could need.
    - In the CSL, the new "original-whatever" variables.
    - In the forums, a new discussion of the convenience of every single "original-whatever" field requested.

    I know that this is not a simple change, but I'm sure it could be useful. (And, I presume, this is easier than the hierarchical issue).


    If the above suggestion is rejected, and the option of adding new "original-X" variables and fields is preferred, it could be easy to implement in Zotero the possibility of automatically fill-in the "original-X" fields in an item, by manually selecting another item as the "original". So, the content of the "title" field of the original would be copied in the "original-title" field of the translated, then "date" in the "original-date", and so on.
  • Hi All,

    I've posted here before on this issue -- the need for a "musical score" item type -- but I've come across what I think is an excellent example of why we need it. Not least are the facts that WorldCat uses it, and it's a standard part of bibliographic method (there are international and national societies dedicated to music librarians).

    Anyway, here's the example I came across in a shared Zotero database:

    Ludwig van Beethoven, Die Ehre Gottes in der Natur (New York: G. Schirmer, 1940).

    It's a very confusing (Beethoven wrote a theological text on nature??!!), and even demonstrably false citation, which is what happens when a "musical score" is listed as a "book" item type. Beethoven lived 1770-1827, so the 1940 is obviously misleading. But so is the fact that it's comes up as a book, when in fact it's a score for a short song.

    The issues here are that we need:

    -- "author" pull down option that is "composer" (the existing "editor" function would be very worthwhile, but "arranger" and "lyricist" would also be very useful).

    -- two dates: "date of composition" and "date of publication."

    -- "opus number"

    -- "instrumentation"

    -- And even places for "main work", in the sense that some works are parts ("chapters") of a larger work ("book").

    Then, we might see something more exact, such as:

    Ludwig van Beethoven, "Die Ehre Gottes in der Natur," _Sechs Gesange_ Op. 48 (1803), lyrics by C.F. Gellert, SATB Choir, arranged by H. Giehne (New York: G. Schirmer, 1940).

    But even barring all that, just an icon for "Musical Score" would help alleviate confusion. I know this has been discussed for years, so I'm confused as to why it's taking so long to implement; I provided some advice some time ago, as did others, so I apologize if I'm harping...

    Thanks, Aaron
  • Item type changes or additions in Zotero are a major undertaking - the data structure needs to change, sync needs to be assured to work, the CSL project - which isn't limited to Zotero - needs to change, too. The hope is to get this into Zotero 3.5
  • Thank you adamsmith. That's helpful to understand. I didn't want to "complain" but I had just come across that example and want to share the reasoning for continuing to suggest it. Thanks! Aaron
  • we'll definitely do something about music scores. I'm still not sure how best to do it - just adding an item type with a lot of new fields has its downsides - but we'll try to improve this as much as possible.
  • edited January 23, 2012
    One possible solution would be to use Audio Recording, and discriminate on the creator. This seem to be moving in that direction already, with a discrete "composer" creator. With something like "performer" mapped to "author", and "lyricist" and "arranger" mapping to new eponymous CSL variables, styles could work out what was being cited and format accordingly.

    (Edit: Re the above, I missed something in the mapping logic. "performer" already exists, and is already mapped to "author". So the suggestion would be only to add "lyricist", "arranger", and also possibly I suppose "conductor".)

    I'm slowly building out input guidance notes in the MLZ book draft, in case the text might be useful as a springboard. The styles documented in the book were originally targeted at legal materials; if you spot recommendations that conflict with common practice in other styles, please put me straight.
  • edited January 25, 2012
    In case it's useful to someone, I've built a Python module as part of the work on the book that extracts Zotero-to-CSL mappings. It could be extended a bit (by someone) to provide something nicer and more complete than

    The code is here:

  • Frank - would you mind updating the stuff on your webpage? Some of the mappings aren't correct anymore. If you just have to run a script that'd be great.
  • It's not just a matter of running a script, unfortunately; the sources have changed since those pages were generated. The new Python module that I linked to above provides more complete mappings. I posted it in case someone might be willing to help the cause by using it to build a better set of mappings. Going forward, the material should really be hosted on somehow. If someone can work up a set of templates that work there, I can look at populating an area on the site when I have time.
  • hello,

    i just want to mention the "standards" type thread which is here

    Is this scheduled to be included? I didnt find anything like this on github,

  • I see that I was asked to write something up on the issue. We're working through legal types on, building out support in parallel in a number of legal styles. Standards documents could be included in that work. I'll send you a message with my email address; if you would be willing to participate in style discussions, that would be very helpful.
  • edited February 19, 2012
    I would like to support the suggestion made earlier in this thread by jano_riha (August 1st 2011) for adding a field for Author of Introduction, Preface, or Foreword – and to which must also be added, Afterword.

    ajlyon (August 2nd 2011) asked “How do you expect these to appear in citations?”

    Both Chicago and MLA recognize the importance of including this information in citation and bibliography and provide ample examples:


    CMS 14.91 Authors of forewords and the like

    Hayek, F. A. The Road to Serfdom. With a new introduction by Milton Friedman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.


    The Bible. Introd. and notes by Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. Print. Oxford World's Classics. Authorized King James Version.


    New material added to the republication, such as an introduction, should be cited after the original publication facts.

    Dreiser, Theodore. Sister Carrie. 1900. Introd. E. L. Doctorow. New York: Bantam, 1982. Print.


    In this last MLA example, citing the original publication date is also crucial. One of the main kinds of case where listing the introduction (etc.) and its author are crucial is precisely in the context of a subsequent and/or scholarly editions. As this section of MLA also states, “To cite a republished book – for example, a paperback version of a book originally published in a clothbound version – give the original publication date, followed by a period, before the publication information for the book you are citing.”

    I know that this has been discussed at great length and I hope that original publication date will also make its appearance in the next major release.

    In the contexts of textual scholarship, the history of ideas, history of the book, publishing studies, historiographies of disciplines or topics, and many other scholarly contexts, the entire point of a citation or bibliography is to provide accurate and complete bibliographic descriptions of editions. This is fully recognized by the most important and thorough style guides in the humanities and it is currently a significant weakness of Zotero that it cannot represent this information.

    Here is another telling example, provided in CMS:

    Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition. With an introduction by Eric Hobsbawm. London; New York: Verso, 1998. First published in English in 1948.

    The entire raison d’être of this edition is (1) the 150th anniversary of the original English publication and (2) Hobsbawm’s introduction.

    But the importance of a complete citation does not only arise for scholarly editions and republications. There are many books whose significance in their original edition is dependent on these other sections and their respective authors. To cite a notorious example:

    Faurisson, Robert. Mémoire en défense contre ceux qui m’accusent de falsifier l’histoire: la question des chambres à gaz. Avec une préface de Noam Chomsky. Paris: la Vieille taupe, 1980.

    The entire intellectual, academic, historical, and political significance of this work is erased if the preface by Chomsky is elided.

    Citing an Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword on Its Own

    Further, even when it comes to citing an introduction, preface, or foreword on its own, I don’t believe Zotero can currently do so in accordance with Chicago or MLA, and I would not be surprised if dealing with the variations and complexities did not require the explicit introduction of these fields to rectify the problem.

    According to Chicago and MLA, the terms introduction, preface, foreword and afterword should not be included in quotation marks and, for Chicago, they are also not capitalized unless preceded by a period.

    I here enter into evidence the relevant sections of both manuals:


    CMS 14.116 Introductions, prefaces, afterwords, and the like

    If the reference is to a generic title such as introduction, preface, or afterword, that term (lowercased unless following a period) is added before the title of the book. See also 8.177.

    1. Valerie Polakow, afterword to Lives on the Edge: Single Mothers and Their Children in the Other America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).

    If the author of the introduction or other part is someone other than the main author of a book, that author comes first, and the author of the book follows the title. In a bibliography entry, include the page number range for the part cited, as shown in the second example below. See also 14.91.

    6. Francine Prose, introduction to Word Court: Wherein Verbal Virtue Is Rewarded, Crimes against the Language Are Punished, and Poetic Justice Is Done, by Barbara Wallraff (New York: Harcourt, 2000).
    Mansfield, Harvey, and Delba Winthrop. Introduction to Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville, xvii–lxxxvi. Translated and edited by Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.


    To cite an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, begin with the name of its author and then give the name of the part being cited, neither italicized nor enclosed in quotation marks (Introduction, Preface, Foreword, Afterword). If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, cite the author of the work after its title, giving the full name, in normal order, preceded by the word By. If the writer of the piece is also the author of the complete work, use only the last name after By. If the complete work is a translation, add the name of the translator next. Continue with full publication information, the inclusive page numbers, and, finally, the medium of publication consulted.

    Borges, Jorge Luis. Foreword. Selected Poems, 1923-1967. By Borges. Ed. Norman Thomas Di Giovanni. New York: Delta-Dell, 1973.xv-xvi. Print.
    Drabble, Margaret. Introduction. Middlemarch. By George Eliot. New York: Bantam, 1985. vii-xvii. Print.
    Elliott, Emory. Afterword. The Jungle. By Upton Sinclair. New York: Signet, 1990. 342-50. Print.
    Felstiner, John. Preface. Paul Celan: Selected Poems and Prose. By Paul Celano Trans. Felstiner. New York: Norton, 2000. xvii-xxxi. Print.
    Knox, Bernard. Introduction. The Odyssey. By Homer. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Viking, 1996. 3-64. Print.

    If the introduction, preface, foreword, or afterword has a title, give the title, enclosed in quotation marks, immediately before the name of the part.

    Brodsky, Joseph. "Poetry as a Form of Resistance to Reality." Foreword. Winter Dialogue. By Tomas Venclova. Trans. Diana Senechal. Evanston: Hydra-Northwestern UP, 1997. vii-xviii. Print.
    Wallach, Rick. "Cormac McCarthy's Canon as Accidental Artifact." Introduction. Myth, Legend, Dust: Critical Responses to Cormac McCarthy. Ed. Wallach. New York: Manchester UP, 2000. xiv-xvi. Print.

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