Scanning ISBN Barcode to input books to Zotero library

Is there a way to input a book into one's Zotero library by scanning its barcode with an app on Android phone or iPad?
  • Thanks! I've checked it out and it works with my iPad. Is there something equivalent for Android devices?
  • Not that I'm aware of, but see the note at the bottom:
    P.S. If you don’t use an iPhone or iPad […] you can still save a book from your phone when you’re away from your computer by entering the ISBN manually. Simply bookmark this page and load it whenever you need to add a physical book.
  • There was support for this in Zandy, but it appears that it broke when OCLC removed the API that it was using:

    It looks like I can bring it back to life by migrating to Citoid (, which happily uses Zotero's own translator architecture under the hood.
  • edited March 19, 2019
    There's no need for a translation API. You can just scan the barcode and open a webview at[isbn] — that's what the iOS shortcut is doing.
  • the link[isbn] is causing an error, has the right link changed? the apple shortcut is causing the same error so I think it is this link and then I need to crawl into the shortcut and change it but I can't figure out what the correct link should be to save something to my library by ISBN
  • @kwjagoe: Not all ISBNs can be retrieved. You'd have to post the ISBN here that's not working for us to say more, but it's certainly still working in general.
  • Hello, thanks for the reply. It wasn't the ISBN because I was able to add it in the desktop application then the same ISBN (1558964495) as well as several others were throwing the error when I tried it on

    I'm not sure what changed, but the exact same ISBN (it was even still in my computer's memory when I did a cmd-p) worked a few hours later. So, it is working but I'm not sure what changed.
  • How do we save to a specific collection using the shortcut? I downloaded it and it works but I have to go to my library and still move it to where I want it. I want it to go to the same place every time, just a more specific place than the shortcut takes it. Help!
  • A solution for Android is Barcode Scanner (

    Go to settings, add a custom search url and enter

    Scan the barcode and click on 'Custom Search' in the bottom right corner. This will take you to the Zotero webview.

    I don't know if it is possible to directly save to a collection or group library.
  • I've just been down this same road for Android. @danb 's solution above works, but I found it is stuck in landscape mode on my Pixel 6 Pro, which means turning the phone around to scan, which is annoying.

    I found QR & Barcode Scanner (by Gamma Play) works well (although it has adds unless you pay):

    To make it work:

    Go to Settings/Custom Action and enter a description then type this into the URL box (note it is a different string to previous solution):{code}

    Click Add To, wherein I have All selected, though there is an ISBN option.

    Then click enable.

    I hope that helps someone.

    I would imagine other scanner apps can do this, but I stopped looking there. The Pixel's camera app picks up barcodes, but I can't see a way to enter a custom search, which is a shame as it would be nice not to have to have to install an app just for this. However, hardly surpising I suppose, as Google are rather protective of their game!
  • Hi Dan,

    I'm enjoying using the scanner in the Zotero iOS app, and as a long-time desktop user very much appreciate both the mobile and online versions.

    Is it possible to extend this beyond book media—e.g., ISBNs on DVD packaging? (Some of my DVD cases seem to have ISBN numbers printed above a UPC code.) Are UPCs readable and resolvable somehow? For what it's worth, I googled hand-typed UPC and ISBN numbers for the test case of an "Almost Famous" retail DVD, and only found OCRed images of the case cover.

    A quick search found, which did resolve the UPC for this DVD (, as well as the UPC on a random breakfast cereal in my kitchen ( Although I'm sure the latter is outside Zotero's design scope, perhaps resolving UPCs like this would be useful for cataloguing modern material culture artifacts?

    In both case, however, the public metadata that site delivers is minimal and geared towards purchasing.
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