Advice for Zotero as document manager and behavoir under heavy use (big database)

First of all, I really enjoy using Zotero and would like to thank developers and community for making it better day by day.

I'm planning on using Zotero to organizing and managing my office and personal documents. I know it's not its original purpose, but it really integrates in my workflow (open to hear other program suggestions). My current setup is Zotero + personal webdav server for syncing (works ok) being accessed from three to four different computers (I work in more than 1 office) + zotfile for renaming purposes + papermachine

1.- Any experience or advice for using Zotero as document manager. Alternative programs, archive organization tips?
2.- How does Zotero behave with 5.000 to 15.000 records (+tons of notes, and attachments) or more. Are there any limits?
3.- Thinking of starting a group for resource collaboration, which may grow very big. Does it use my webdav space or Zotero’s sync space?

Thanks in advance
  • 2. Zotero will start getting a little slower around ~50k total items (i.e. records + notes + attachments), but if you have a reasonably fast computer it should still work. What's not currently working well are large initial syncs of that size of library (this will improve in the near future) so the recommendation would be to make sure you sync all computers involved while you're building the library, rather than doing it all at once

    3. You can only use Zotero file sync for groups.
  • Thanks!
    ¿Is there a way to query how many items my collection has? Only found the index reference, but not sure if counts all items.

    Best regards,
  • A late follow up. I have a library of around 10k items. Searching and switching back from any of the subcollections to the main collection has become disruptively slow and often hangs.

    System: 64b Win7 with 4GB RAM.

    1) Is there anything I can do to speed up Zotero at the moment?
    2) Is this expected behaviour? If so, are there plans to solve this problem?
  • I'd first like to make sure that the 10k items are really accurate, please follow the above instructions to get a total item count. Also, did you import your library from Endnote or RefWorks?
  • Hi Adam,

    You're right. Total item count with all attachments: 16636.

    Part of the library has been imported from Endnote and BibTeX files.

  • 16k still shouldn't be a big problem.
    On import from Endnote Zotero may attach a lot of notes taged with "_RIS Import" do you see those? Removing them might speed things up quite a bit.
  • I cleaned up all Endnote imports, so that shouldn't be the problem.

    When the program hangs, I often get 'XULRunner stopped working correctly' errors. Firefox is sometimes similarly laggy. Is that in any way useful?
  • If you can reproduce a lag, provide a debug ID that covers such a freeze/lag:
  • First try:

    Short lag (2~5 sec) when switching from small subcollection to My Library: D157167215

    5+ second lag with 'Zotero (Not responding)' title bar: D892625276

    Let me know if you need more/better.
  • Short lag (2~5 sec) when switching from small subcollection to My Library
    What about switching back? I would guess that is much faster?
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