cannot edit item in read-only library


when I try to synchronise a library with an account that doesn't have editing rights in a group, I get the following message:
An error occurred during syncing: Cannot edit item in read-only library ...

Which item is it referring to ? What can I do to remove this message ?


  • I saw this yesterday in an account with read-only access to a research library. The library is updated at long intervals, so we just disabled sync for the (fully synced) group to avoid the error. But I was also puzzled as to the cause.
  • @tibr: Can we see a Debug ID for a sync attempt that results in the error?
  • Thanks for your replies. @dstillman strangely the problem doesn't occur anymore. I'll provide the Debug ID if the problem comes back.
  • It triggered for me in a library today, and when I enabled the debugging log and reran sync, the fresh attempt similarly completed without error. It's a shy one.
  • I have a similar problem. I apart of a class that is using Zotero groups to share resources. I was able to add resources to a shared folder 2 weeks ago. Currently, it will not let me add resources and gives me an error message : Cannot edit item in read-only library LA 632. Can someone help me?
  • @Elaine887766: That group isn't currently editable by members, and Zotero should be prompting you with a clear message about that (i.e., not "Cannot edit item in read-only library LA 632") and offering to reset local changes to the group. Is it not doing that? If not, could we see a Debug ID for a sync that produces the error?

    For the actual access issue, you'll need to contact the group admin.
  • Hi, so the problem occurred again, here is a Debug ID: 856280845. The problem I have is that it is impossible to synchronise.
  • @tibr: That's a Report ID, not a Debug ID.
  • Ok sorry, I thought I did the correct one. I followed the instructions and here is a new one: D1828959135
  • The only way I found to make it sync again was to change the status from member to admin. Re-installing Zotero didn't change anything.
  • Has a solution been found to this issue?
    I have a colleague who has read only access to my shared Group Library but when she tries to synchronize her account the sync icon stops after just a few seconds with the red ! mark. Clicking on that gives the "Cannot edit item in read-only library ..." message and a report ID (755473445) when she clicks to submit the error. If you need another Debug ID I will have to go back to her next week.

    The error seems to be preventing her syncing her own My Library to a new computer. The old computer had to be replaced after it crashed so she needs to resync her library; the shared library has successfully resynced. Unfortunately I am not sure that her own library was correctly synced up to the cloud before the crash so it may just be that there is nothing to sync.
  • edited June 3, 2019
    The error seems to be preventing her syncing her own My Library to a new computer.
    That's unlikely. Libraries sync independently, and groups sync after My Library. She can check whether she has items online and see Changes Not Syncing (and start a new thread if necessary) if she's still having trouble.

    I've fixed some possible causes of the "Cannot edit item in read-only library" error in the latest Zotero beta. She can try syncing with that and switch back to the release version if it succeeds. (These fixes will also be in 5.0.67 very soon.)
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