Duplicate records after sync


I just installed sync preview and did a sync for the first time without a problem. What I get, however, is a duplicate set of records in my library as a result of synching with another computer.

Does anyone have any idea how to make sure that the zotero knows not to duplicate records through the synchronization process? Many thanks.

  • What two libraries were you attempting to sync? Items that exist on both sides before upgrading each database to 1.5 would be duplicated, so we generally recommend starting with a complete database on one side and empty databases on any other machines.

    If you still have an instance of your database without duplicates, you can choose "Clear Server Data" from the Actions menu, sync from there, and pull from the other empty libraries.
  • Thanks, Dan. Yes, I saved my Zotero folder from one computer and installed it on the second computer. Then, I updated both computers to 1.5 and did the sync, so the server was making a duplicate copy of all of my records into both computers.

    So, now I am going to replace the Zotero folder in "updated" computer with my backup (thank goodness for the backup) and then erase the Zotero database on the other computer so that it is blank. Then I will clear the server data as you suggest and see if I get duplicates again.

    Once this works once - synching from an updated database to a "blank" one on a new computer, will the server then understand that the two computers now share the same list of records? I guess what I'm asking is - will the duplicate problem keep happening once the two computers' Zotero databases are synchronized?

    Thanks for the help - The potential here is huge. Thanks again.
  • No, the duplicate problem will not happen again. Please let us know if you have any further problems.
  • Ok, got it working, thanks for the help. Just one thought: The only way I was able to truly eliminate the database from one of the computers (remote, not host) was to create a new Firefox profile, install Zotero, then go to the profiles folder and copy the Zotero folder and paste it into the "default" profile folder. Only then did the Zotero server recognize my remote Zotero database as truly "empty" so that no records were duplicated.

    I suppose the documentation on this could be clearer if it stated that the remote computer should have a brand new "blank" Zotero database in order to avoid duplication (just deleting your records with the backspace button does not work - then Zotero tries to do a merge function with each and every record to deal with discrepancies between the server and the local databases, and that appears to be a big mess).

    Thanks again for the help - Now that I understand the process, I will be more able to implement it on other remote computers.
  • There's no need to create a new profile—after clearing the server data from the first machine, you can just delete the Zotero data directory from the other profile.
  • Before i noticed there was a sync version of Zotero, i synced manually by copying zotero.sqlite between three computers whenever i added sources. Needless to say, now that i have the sync version i get duplication. Strange enough, all items are quadrupled, even though i use only three computers.

    But this needn't be, because unlike the feature request or the trouble shooting discussion that were posted earlier, in this case the records will be identical and it should be clear that these items should not be duplicated. Even when adding a source, it doesn't require a lot of logic to determine if the source is identical and conclude that it is already present in the database.

    This still leaves the issue open for variations or records with different metadata, but in the case of an identical record i propose that the syncing and adding operations should acknowledge the items are the same and not duplicate them.
  • So i started removing the duplicates right after that post, resulting in a bug! I got a report ID 2140873257, but i'm not sure where to post it. Might as well do it here?

    I had two of my computers running at the same time. I deleted 3 duplicates leaving 1 original of the first record, and checked to see if the change was reflected correctly on the other computer. Since it was, i started removing the other duplicates as well, but i got the error removing the third duplicate of the second item (there were 4 here as well). I checked my other computer and it shows me 2 instances of the second item, so removing that 3rd duplicate didn't reach the sync server while removing the other 2 did.
  • Hi, I had (and still have) tha same problems after updating to 1.5b. Unfortunately, before I had two different libraries, which I hoped to merge nicely with the sync option, now I have duplicates one both and it will be a bit more tedious than for jsullivan47 to get a clean database again.

    May I suggest that you give a short list of useful steps to do before upgrading? (right next to the installation button maybe???) That's better than fixing the bugs after the mess is there! (I would not have found this post warning me of the duplicates, if I hadn't encountered the same problem and looked up the keyword "duplicates" - even though I checked for potential bugs before upgrading!)

    Otherwise, I'm thrilled with the now available sync function and if you could do sth on automatic duplicate detection (and a smart merging in the case one has edited both independently)... there will be almost nothing left to wish for!
  • I agree with Niki's post. I've just done exactly what jsullivan47 did the first time and now I am looking forward to a long afternoon of sorting this all out. Sigh.
  • wconnerton: If you just upgraded to Zotero, and you did a backup first as the instructions advise, you could move your current data directory out of the way, swap in a copy of your backup data directory, and then do a Restore to Server before opening the Zotero pane by going to Tools->Add-ons->right-click-on-Zotero->Sync->Reset. (If you open the Zotero pane first, it will auto-sync, and then you'd have triplicates.)
  • Hi Dan,
    Yes reading the instructions first is always a good idea!
    I actually have a backup (although it runs automatically, so I had to dig around to find the right one to use), but it was just easier to list everything by date modified (today) and delete those files, delete the empty folders and then restore the library on the server to match the one on my main computer.
    I still agree with Niki, though. I've been keeping zotero on two different computers by saving it back and forth for a while now, and it never even occurred to me to delete one before I synced them both. Maybe that's shortsighted of me, but I imagine I'm not the only one. So, a line in the instructions is not misplaced.
    Thank you for your help!
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