Organising quotes

I would love to use Zotero for my quotes collection as well as the Bibliography. So far it's proved impossible.

1. If I use NOTES there are 2 problems.
A) When I search on a term the search results display ALL the notes linked with the parent source.
With some books generating around 300 quotes, and most articles about 10 - 20, this doesn't work. The relevant results are lost in clutter - I'd have to scroll down long lists of irrelevant data.
Basically Notes would work fine for quotes collections as long as I don't have too many, not more for the whole collection than goes in a few pages of an RTF doc - which defeats the object of handling a larger collection.

This also clogs up the bibliog for quick referencing, and seeing timeline development across say a century, by ordering on date. Most of the time I'm not working with quotes so long lists of them would get in the way.
So I moved to making a separate Collection for my Quotes.

B) A Note doesn't copy to clipboard to print out. I have to copy paste manually - less important than A) massive clutter but it's good to have consistent method of handling.
What would work very well is if I could select a number of Notes and get that selected group copied to clipboard - just as I do with a selection of bibliog refs. But I don't think I can do that.

So I tried making a separate Collection, and

The second route I tried was using Document as an item type in my Quotes Collection - then searches are selective in their results display, and I can copy one or more to clipboard.
Problem is - where to put the text? The Copy/ Paste function only gives me Author, Date, Title.
So I tried putting the quote data in Title so it will search properly, and copy/ paste. It then capitalises all the words.
I found a Preferences option to disable this, but then it would disable it globally for everything and mess up my bibliog titles.

There's probably something clever I've not found!

  • just a quick thought -- many styles (e.g. APA) don't capitalize titles, so using your workaround with that style set would take care of that problem.

    If that somehow is not an option you could put "note" in the language field (putting anything that doesn't start with en in there will work). That also disables title casing (which is only for English titles).
  • Another thought - instead of attaching notes to a book, you could use standalone notes in a separate collection. That way they would appear individually from searches.
  • Hey Adam the APA method works beautifully.

    I have some test quotes as Documents - so I can have Author, Date - generally I recognise which book or article it is from that.
    I have to put the page number at the end of the text, but that's not too bad.
    Putting the text in the title box and using APA I getthis which is quite usable when writing a paper. The important thing is I can SEARCH on author/ date/ tags/ or free word search. Plus look through in date order.

    Now if I could set bibliog style per collection that would be perfect. But this is good enought so THANK YOU.

    Gruffydd, William J. (1953). “There have been so many transferences of names and functions and so much new invention in order to make the new complex plausible that speculation as to who was a god of light and who a god of darkness, who a goddess of fertility and who a resurrected god is largely unprofitable and can be disastrously misleading when further conclusions are based on it.” (Rhiannon, p. 101).
  • OH - bonus - hover the 'title' (quote text) and I can see the whole quote to see if it's what I want!

    Just noting all this as might be useful to others.
  • This post also describes another workflow to use Standalone notes for sorting ideas:
  • bwiernik thank you that is kind. I think both methods are good and I have tested both so for the sake of anyone else considering how to do this here are the prose and cons of each method.

    First to recap, the problem is Zotero insists on displaying all attached Notes linked to a Source (book, article etc)
    This means that if a Source carries more than say 3 Notes, the main display AND Search results, become cluttered. Example - think 20, or 300 Notes attached to a Source!
    Search results in particular are frustrating as instead of Hiding those not relevant, they all dispay,just greyed out. Hunting the one or two wanted in a jungle of clutter ... ugh.
    The main display will be dominated by this. Zoetro's lovely timeline ordering by Date will be obscured, and so is display of a compact bibliography by Author. Linked Notes are only good for a limited number per Source,say up to 3, which could just as well be placed in the Extra field.
    (There is a way to display items without their attached Notes but no way to set that as default. So each Search has to include a fiddly setting.)
    I am talking about the Zotero client here.

    The main difference is that the dominant organising factor using BOOK SECTION is the Source, which then gives better structure on entry of data, better ordering of displays, quick check on display (hover), and automatic collection of data for Copy/ Paste.
    Using STANDALONE NOTE frees up relatedness of items away from dominance by source text.Gives better flexibility on data display in the record itself, and formatting. Good for storing ideas. But loss of bibliog style copy/ paste, display ordering, quick check on display (hover), and entry of data relies on manual memeory to remember all relevant details.

    Workaround. Make a separate Collection. Include Pages as an Extra column in the display. Put the quote or note content in the Title field of a Book Section. Put short (citation style) title in Book Title. Put page number in Pages. Add Tags. Set Related if required.
    Optionally copy over the main Source entry from bibliog Collection.
    On Search to Copy/ Paste, select APA style. (This ensures the Title pastes out without capitalising its words.)
    PLUSES .....................
    - Items group in the default display, ordered by Author or Date, like an ordinary Bibliog display. Item also shows Page (as Pages column) for quick check.
    - On Search only the relevant items display cleanly, without clutter.
    - Ordering of display can be on Author, Date so A-Z Author, or Timeline overview is available.
    - Search on Tags, as well as free search on terms.
    - See all Related items.
    - To quick check item content in the default display hover the Title to get a popup showing content. (Optionally add a few keywords, or name, at start of content, to identify it in Titles display list.)
    - Can use Related to link to other stuff, either another Quote/ Note/ or Source if Source is included. Can then see Related quotes, notes on manually chosen basis.
    - Optionally include the full bibliog item of the Source as well, by copying it over from the Bibliog Collection. That enables both types of data to be handily available.

    CONS ....................
    - Dominant ordering and thinking centres on Sources.
    - May need to switch between Bibliog styles when using the main Bibliog Collection if preferred style is not normally APA.
    - Layout of pasted content gives Author, Date, Content, Source title, (Page no.) ---- Not perfect but close.
    - No formatting of data as in a Note - font options etc.

    Workaround. Make a separate Collection. Put the quote or note content in a Standalone Note. Use formatting as required. Add Tags. Set Related if required.
    Copy over Source items if useful from main Bibliog.
    PLUSES .................
    - Items are not grouped by Author, or Date, so thinking is freed up to make other associations. Can use Related to reflect this.
    - Items group by first words on first line of data entered - flexible.
    - See all Related items.
    - Search on Tags, as well as free search on terms.
    - Formatting of content font, colours, align, hyperlinks etc.
    - No need to switch bibliog paste out style as this is not an option.
    - Select which parts to Copy/ Paste from content entry.
    - Optionally include the full bibliog item of the Source as well, by copying it over from the Bibliog Collection. That enables both types of data to be handily available.
    CONS .................
    -- When entering data there is no structure to prompt entering stuff like author, date, source title, page no. - memory strain.
    - Display as default only shows first few words of the first line, no other data.
    - No quick check on hover of main display entry as there is no Title field.
    - Ordering of display can only be on this, A-Z. (Could be plus if you choose what to put thoughtfully but have to remember own system.
    - No copy/ paste using Bibliog clipboard. Manual Copy/ Paste only. Possibly flexible but no help to ensure all key data is copied unless you are sure to remember each time to enter your key data at the top.
  • edited August 21, 2016
    I tried lots of workarounds but in the end just switched to keeping notes in Ulysses and bibliography in Zotero. Ulysses is a writing program but it's as powerful at tagging as Zotero.

    When I did work in Zotero I'd make a saved search on tags + Item Type=Note and then create a report. The report keeps the source title with each note but only prints found notes, without the clutter of greyed-out unrelated ones. You still can't sort them in any way other than by title unfortunately.
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