CSV or other simple import technique?

I have a lot of bibliography info in Word files. If I turned it into a CSV export file from Word, or perhaps a tab-separated file from Excel, would there be any way to get one of these standard formats to import?
  • There are discussions of CSV export & the points raised apply in spades to import.

    CSV and TSV aren't really standards--there is no commonly accepted "spreadsheet format" for bibliographic information, so field ordering might be frustrating. Other software solves this by letting the user select what column corresponds to what field (though this is frustrating if fields are missing and/or there are columns that don't easily map). After solving this, it is difficult to say what delimiter should be used to separate individual contributors (since ALL contributors are likely to be listed in a single column (if they are already split by columns, then not all records would have the same number & this solution of breaking a field into multiple columns is limited to only a single field) and to the parts of an author's name. Thus, it isn't as "simple" as it seems.

    While this edge case is something worth addressing sometime, I think that users can take advantage of cb2bib or other programs to export their bibliographies into a format that zotero and other programs can already import.
  • For those who are comfortable using a little Python to massage CSV into Zotero items, I've posted some example code that uses the pyzotero library to import items from CSV into Zotero. It uses the server API, meaning the items won't show up in your local library until you've synced. Take a look: https://gist.github.com/1086267
  • Apparently CSV or other text format input is a long-term interest of Zotero users. So far, I see no solution that is internal to the program, but cb2bib does look like a usable frontend for this functionality. Should not this be put into the Z. documentation (so the next person doesn't have to take the time it's taken ME to get to this point...)?
  • there's a longer discussion with a suggested solution here:

    the problem is really that anything related to CSV/Excel import is a hack. As noksagt points out, CSV isn't a bibliographic standard - so each solution depends on what information the users has formatted in what way in her/his table.
    Generally the documentation is a wiki, so you should feel free to add to it. http://www.zotero.org/support/dev/documentation

    That said, I'm not sure if import from tables isn't a case that involves so many ideosyncracies that it's better suited for an external webpage or blog - what I'm worried about is people coming here to complain that "Zotero's" import from CSV doesn't work.
  • as for "other text format" - we already have this:
    which includes cb2bib as one of many options.
  • edited March 6, 2014
    adam - thanks for referring me to that excellent resource page. I'm new here and while I'm learning as quickly as time will allow there's still much I have yet to discover. You help is much appreciated, as is this fine piece of software. A BIG step forward.
Sign In or Register to comment.