Best way to write an article with multiple authors / users

Hi everyone,

I just discovered Zotero and I'm about to throw Biblioscape out of the window thanks to it. This could be the Killer-app I was looking for in terms of bibliographic management.

There's just one question that I haven't found a satisfactory answer to: What's the best way to write an article using Zotero with multiple authors? Is there a way to share one Zotero library over the network, for example?

Thanks in advance.

  • You'll probably want to hear from Dan Stillman for a definitive answer, but in the meantime ...

    As far as I'm concerned, Zotero has (rather sadly) not been designed for this use case, though I do know they've been thinking about it. So ATM you'll need to probably be a little creative.

    How many authors will there be? Will they share the same network?
  • edited October 1, 2008
    Well, I've learned that Zotero server will probably do everything I need but I'm looking for a temporary solution until they're done with that.

    This specific case has two authors. At work we'll share the same network, but we can only access it through FTP from home.
  • And how are you going to manage the document?
  • Allowing multiple authors with different libraries, different sets of items, and/or differing versions of the same items to edit the same document is a difficult problem to do well, but it's one we're committed to addressing in the near future.

    In the meantime, short of manually copying the database over the network/FTP and using it one at a time (which, since you presumably need to transfer the document anyway, may be fine), a temporary solution might be to use the 1.5 Sync Preview in a separate profile from your main profile with both of you using the same Zotero server account. We'll be releasing versions of the plugins that are compatible with the Sync Preview in the next few days.
  • Dan, I've probably said this before, but WRT to this use case vision ...
    Allowing multiple authors with different libraries, different sets of items, and/or differing versions of the same items to edit the same document is a difficult problem to do well ...
    ... make sure you guys are also considering the possibility of different applications too. While that may not be possible ATM, it should be at some point*, and so am just asking that you not artificially close this off.

    * since both OOXML and ODF allow for standardized citation and bibliographic encoding in the document
  • Thanks Dan & bdarcus. I'll see how that works out, and hopefully the server version of Zotero will be out soon.
  • I sympathize wholeheartedly with MacBryce and others who are looking for a practical and painless multiple author writing environment. I'm getting to the point where I can no longer face co-authoring documents using idiosyncratically produced MS-Word versions emailed willy-nilly here and there in various manifestations. Sadly I think that no software can provide a solution - the writing team need to agree on procedures and stick to them. Totally hopeless, I'm afraid.

    I'm starting out on a big project with one other person, and what I've organised is to have to the documents managed from a subversion server. This keeps track of versioning and hopefully will keep us in sync and reduce clutter and confusion. I intend that we will use Lyx as the text editor, with citations in a bibtex database produced from Zotero. The main obstacle as always is getting compliance from the other author who at present uses Word on a Mac with no bibliographic manager at all. Already I can feel the acid eating away the lining of my stomach. Perhaps I'd be happier keeping bees or something...
  • Thank you for your comments, Lakelander, but I think that we're on a different page here. I'm not really looking for a painless multiple author writing environment. (I do symphatize with you as well since a multiple author writing environment would be great, but it is just not what I'm looking for here.) I'm simply looking for a way to share a Zotero library over multiple users. If I don't have the same references in my Zotero library as my colleagues, then this can result in errors which I'd like to avoid. My colleagues and I don't really have the problems that you are describing as we have very simple rules about who gets to write what and when. Of course, it could be done better using a multiple author writing environment, but it works fine as it is for us.
  • MacBryce, you can do that already with the sync preview version and just sharing one zotero account I think.
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