Mass delete Amazon / Google Book URLs from 'Library Catalog' field

If I save a book from Amazon or Google Books into Zotero it keeps the URL, then inserts it into the citation / bibliography. That seems unnecessary and looks awful, even unprofessional.

In the past I've deleted these manually, citation by citation, but still have a long list of saved items of this kind. I'd rather not have to double check every article I write, or go through citation by citation to remove these links.

Hence my question: is there a way to bulk delete URLs from that field? Or perhaps another way (keyword?) to get rid of this information?

Any help much appreciated! I've searched for previous discussions on this, but if I'm missing something then please just link away.
  • Which citation style are you using? And do you mean the URL field or the library catalog field? I'm a bit confused what's going on because what you describe shouldn't happen (and doesn't for me)-- so maybe add a sample citation that you're unhappy with.

    (The answer to your immediate question is that there isn't an easy way to bulk delete information; there _is_ a way, but it's relatively involved)
  • Thanks for your reply and sorry about my delay. I'm using Chicago full note, which displays the Amazon/Google links in the bibliography. I vaguely remember (but could be misremembering) a style that displayed this information in the footnote too.

    Here's an example copy pasted from a bibliography:
    Lemov, Rebecca. World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Men. Hill and Wang, 2005.

    When I go to that citation in Zotero it says (correctly) that the item type is a book; this link is in the URL field. Any tips appreciated. I've had this problem for years, although when I now try to insert google book derived citations they don't seem to show as they used to, so I'm not sure if that was a particular style or something has changed.

    Somehow turning off urls for all books could be one solution, but I'm not sure how easy that is in reality.

    Thanks again, much appreciated.

  • These must have been imported ages ago -- books from either amazon or google haven't imported into the URL field for years.

    How many items are we talking about -- the basic instructions for batch editing are here:

    we can help with details, but if you find this super intimidating (which would be completely understandable) this may not be the way to go.

    It's possible to remove URLs for books from citation styles, especially for Chicago style that, too, is a bit involved and it breaks the style for books that are actually online at a URL such as free ebooks.
  • Hi so sorry I didn't respond to this at the time. It's about a thousand items, more or less, so a bit much to do manually if possibly avoidable.

    I've done some basic coding in other languages but admit I find the javascript stuff fairly intimidating. And I should say that they're not all years-old cases: I just now, five minutes ago, imported something (from worldcat no less) that came with a google url, which was then expressed in the footnote. I took it out manually but, yeah, the ability to just know that no books have this information would be amazing because I bet there's some I won't spot. I've seen these slip ups in print even.

    Given that probably nobody actually uses zotero to go to the url of a print book (surely faster to just google it if you need it?), is it possible to just take this field out altogether? You could keep that line in for ebooks, where it seems more justified.

    Failing that, is there anything else to do here? It's . . . . frustrating!

    Thanks as ever for your time.
  • Greetings,

    I was wondering if this has been solved in a friendlier way than batch editing. I must confess I have no idea of java script and I'm intimidated by it. I'm currently working on a book with 460 sources, so deleting the URL in each entry is no longer an option for me.

    I've been having this very same problem for years too. CMoS is quite clear in saying that you don't need a URL for printed books. I would have thought this could be solved by making an item type called "ebook" which would always include the URL in the reference list. Accordingly, making the item type "book" to never show the URL in the reference list.

    As expressed here, many books that are seized through Worldcat, Jstor and other good sources do come with URLs. Examples:

    Thanks so much,
  • No, there's no simple way I'm afraid.
    As for the broader issue, the JSTOR link actually points to the difficulty here - you seem to suggest it shouldn't have a URL, but JSTOR actually does hold the book full text, so it is an ebook and should include the URL in Chicago style.

    The UChicago Press site just isn't supported by Zotero so that imports as a webpage (which obviously should include a URL).

    I'm pretty sure they only case where we'd populate the URL field from Worldcat would be when you explicitly import an ebook version. Otherwise that'd be a bug on import.
  • Thank you, Adamsmith, as always.

    Funny, Zotero does seize the UChicago Press source as a book for me. It doesn't import it as a webpage.

    I understand what you say about Jstor. It's a pity it doesn't import it as "ebook". Wouldn't you say this would all be cleared out if there would be an item for "ebook" and another for "book"?

    I guess I'll have to erase the URLs one by one. Unless there are more specific instructions for batch editing this. The link that appears in this thread seems to be to batch edit in general, and it's pretty involved and intimidating:

    Finally, I'm understanding websites need to be supported by Zotero in order to yield correct bibliographical records. Is it not enought that the connector button of the browser turns into a specific type of bibliographical item? I'd like to understand more about this for future research with Zotero.

    Worldcat is always my first choice for looking out sources. However, two things are a constant: 1. it never distinguishes the type of contributors to the book (author, translator, editor, etc.); 2. it almost never has place of publishing, even though in the webpage description of the book the city does appear.


  • Will respond to the rest later, but you should default to the Library of Congress as your first stop for books or just use the "ISBN" with add by identifier which will first try LoC and the German GBV before going to Worldcat
  • Gotcha. Will do as told in future research. Thanks so much...
  • edited November 7, 2019
    The Zutilo Add-On now provides functions for mass-editing items:

    You could try this:

    1. Save an advanced search for items with fields you want to delete.

    2. Use the last (JSON) function described in the link above: "Clearing certain item fields in a large number of records".
  • Thank you, qqbb, will look into this...
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