Google Scholar search and import from Zotero

I have this situation where I often see a paper name somewhere and I want to double-check if it's in my library or if not import it.

What I usually do:
- Go to Zotero
- Search by title
- If it's not there, go to Google Scholar on the browser and search it
- Import with Zotero Connector

What I think might be nice to have:
- Go to Zotero
- Search by title
- If it's not there, trigger search via Google Scholar *from Zotero*
- Display found entries and enable to import directly from Zotero

It's not a huge difference but I think this kind of feature where you can save a couple of steps and indirections for a quite common action are nice haves. What do you think about this?
  • I like this idea, and it fits really well with existing functionality and user interface logic. It would have the perfect place in the "Locate" arrow right next to the search bar. Right now that arrow only does something when an item is selected, and one of the options there already is "Google Scholar Search" (!).

    Proposal: enable the "Google Scholar Search" lookup engine action also if no item is currently selected and there is a query in the search bar; clicking it would then execute the current query on Google Scholar.

    Note: I purposely say "if no item is currently selected" and not "if no item is found", because sometimes a keyword search may turn up some titles but not the one you're looking for, and then, too, you'd want the option to execute a Google Scholar search. This would be a lovely feature.
  • Enabling the Locate menu for search strings is a clever idea, but it's a bit conceptually muddled, and the existing engines are incompatible on a technical level.

    There's no inherent connection between the search bar and the Locate menu, which is otherwise specifically a contextual menu based on the selected items. There's no real reason anyone would think to look there or expect that selecting one of the options would take input from the search bar.

    The locate engines form URLs based on specific variables, and there's no way to get those from a search string. The Google Scholar engine populates specific query parameters and doesn't even use 'q', which would be the appropriate parameter here, so we wouldn't even really be able to use the existing locate engine.
  • I could potentially imagine a new button next to the search box to run the search in Google Scholar or other engines
  • I see. Hmm. The few times I've used the Locate button I did indeed notice that it constructs a fairly specific query — in fact, often too specific, leading it to miss hits on GS. This is partly a separate matter but I guess I would make a case for an (additional) simple 'q' query with a concatenated string of author surname and the first n (say 6) words from the title, which I think represents how most people construct Google Scholar queries.

    With that available (which I would guess would help users of the Locate button anyway) the conceptual distance between it and the additional use proposed here becomes smaller. I think from a UI perspective I'd prefer using the (conveniently located and conceptually close) existing Locate button rather than a new button next to the search box, as Brenton suggests.

    But Dan's point remains that few users would think to look there or try out that function. Although to be fair that also holds for the Locate button in general, judging just from my own experience and that of several cohorts of Zotero novices I've seen. One solution might be to add a tip in the (otherwise empty) middle panel when there are no search results.
  • the Locate button [...] constructs a fairly specific query
    You can add new lookup engines to Zotero's Locate Menu. For example, bwiernik's "Google Scholar - Title Only" on github (here) gives you a query option that is less specific. If you edit 'engines.json', make sure that it's valid JSON, e.g., using this online tool. (Paste and click "Lint".)

    With the Zutilo add-on, you can create keyboard shortcuts for its "Show Locate menu" and "Locate with Google Scholar" functions. The latter can be customized, see here.

    For sites like Google Scholar, it would be great if Zotero could show import buttons next to items, see, e.g., here and here. For items that are already imported, it would be great if the button could open the item in Zotero's web library or in the desktop client. For the latter option, the discussion here might be related.

    Some possibly related issues on github are:
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