How to make a Group Library available to anyone on the web?

Hi there,
Our collection includes a Group Library called "AHEAD Policy / Legislation", which we want anyone on the web to be able to have access to. However, we're having some trouble getting the settings just right to allow this. At present, visitors who don't have an account get the following message:

Home > Error
Access denied
You do not have access to this area.

We are giving them this URL:

Can anyone out there offer some assistance please? I've looked through the documentation section, and have done some significant searching, but to no avail. Thank you in advance.

Very best,
  • The group owner needs to change it to a public group type (public closed if you want it to be visible but not let random people join, or public open if you want anyone to be able to join). The library settings right now still show the "anyone on the internet" option for private groups because the setting persists when you change what type of group it is. We'll probably change that so its clearer to all group admins what settings are actually applicable at any given time.
  • Thanks for your response! I have relayed it on to the group owner and he reported the following back to me... "When I tried to change the setting to "Public Open," a window comes up saying all the folders' contents will be deleted."

    Are we misunderstanding something? Surely it's not necessary to delete our content in order to change this setting. Thanks for your help!
  • Changing a group to Public Open will remove all files from Zotero Storage.

    The metadata for all the items will stay, but attached files aren't allowed for groups that allow access to anyone. A public closed group lets you expose the library to the public but only members who apply or are invited will be able to access the attached files.
  • Ahhh... I've got it now. Thank you for clearing this up for us!
  • Following on this ... I understand why a Public Open will, by default, remove all attached files, but not all attachments are PDFs of an article behind a pay-wall. I just migrated an open-access bibliography (Victorian Studies) with 33,000 citations from a legacy digital library platform to Zotero. We were able to map the native TEI-esque structure of the citations to MODS for Zotero input, but had to stick some of the metadata (mostly sources with multiple reviews) as notes, which display as attachments. We are super interested in launching with Zotero as Open Public for ongoing crowdsourcing of the bibliography, but we can't lose the "reviewed by" metadata stored in notes. Is there a way around this?

    If you want to see how the metadata is currently structured, go to:
    and search for: Altick, R. Click on the "view full record" and you'll see 3 reviews. In Zotero, each of those reviews are represented as notes, which are attachments.

  • Notes are available in public groups. It's just file attachments that aren't. Are you seeing something different?
  • Hmmm ... I didn't realize that there's a distinction between Notes and Attachments since they are listed under the same sections in the interface. I just tested this by uploading a PDF file and I see that attachments are differentiated from notes.

    The error message is a bit intimidating:
    Changing a group to Public Open will remove all files from Zotero Storage

    I just assumed that notes and attachments were both seen as "files" by Zotero, but you are saying that's not the case. So, I can try and I won't lose hundreds upon hundred of notes, right? :-)
  • that's correct, yes.
  • All attachments are not files. An attachment can be a link, for example. (And this attachment can have both a note and a title.)
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