Moving from Mendeley to Zotero: Can these scenarios be accomplished ?

Dear all
I am considering moving my full REF library (collectively built by me and my labmembers) from Mendeley to Zotero. They deleted Public-Groups and along with 5 years of our labs collective work ! and then apologized !.

I have played with the Zotero-Desktop (ZD), Zotero-Web (ZW) and this discussion forum to figure out the basics. I have 40-50 folders+groups with 1000s of REF and PDFs to move hence this post of "can this be done in Zotero?"

First a comment: (This might help others migrating) If you export a Mendeley library in RIS format and import into Zotero, it brings in the REFs and the attached PDFs along with it. Well most of it. It will bring the PDFs in the Mendeley "downloaded" folder with no issues, but PDFs elsewhere on your HDD might not come.

Most of my questions are about syncing, given the 300mb space limit and given I share my references with my research members (all will use Zotero once we decide the move).

Now the questions:

(1) In Group-Lib-1(GL1), I have imported 10 REFs, with 8 of them with PDF attachments (say). These 8 PDFs are in Zotero storage folder (no problem here) and shows up on my ZD but are currently counting towards the storage space. How do I keep REFs and remove PDFs from Group Library ? If I stop syncing, it stops addition of newer PDFs but keeps the current storage filled.

(2) GL2 has 10 REFs and no PDFs. I have the PDFs on my ZD but not synced to the group. Now, I want to share 3 PDFs with my group in this group library. How do I share PDFs of specific references only.

(3) Can I have PDFs of GL1 shared and PDFs of GL2 not shared ?

The plan is: Each group library (GL1, GL2 ..etc) are diff projects. I want to keep the PDFs of GL1 when working on Project1 (respecting the 300mb limit). Once the project is wrapped up I "remove all the space taking PDFs" of GL1 freeing up the storage space. Now, when working on Project2, I sync GL2 PDFs.... and so on .. one 300mb portion at a time.

Is this... possible ?

  • Note that, while importing RIS will kind of work, you'll get better metadata using the recommended import method

    For your questions:
    1) You can just set the group to "no group file storage" in the library settings here on the website
    2) That you can't do -- for any specific group, it's syncing all PDFs or none of them (I mean, you can of course only attach PDFs you want to share, but I assume that's not what you're talking about)
    3) See 1). You can set any given group to not include file syncing/storage. That's a setting on the website, not in your in local Zotero.

    I will note that the cost of a single Zotero unlimited account (if you even need that) -- which is all you need here: group storage only counts towards the group owner's storage -- would seem to be much smaller than the effort it takes to manage the PDFs as you describe for any lab. I understand money is tight, but $120 is max 1h of PI time, arguably less.
  • Hi Adam
    Thanks for the response.
    I understand your point on the Zotero cost and the importance of support. I will definitely keep this on mind, once we decide to move completely to Zotero.

    I checked out your suggestions and I have 2 issues:

    When I apply the "No group file storage" option, I see in ZWeb all the PDFs are deleted and I regain the storage space. However,
    (1) The files are also deleted from my ZDesk ! The plan was to keep the REFs and attached PDFs on the Zotero Group library on my desktop and not upload it to the Zotero storage space.


    (2) When I uncheck "No group file storage" and apply back the "Any group members" option, I don't get the PDFs back !
    Again here the plan was to keep the REFs+PDFs on the desktop and turn on/off the saving to Zotero storage as and when required.

    But looks like the ""No group file storage" option permanently deleted the PDFs.

    How do I achieve what I want ? Am sure its possible and am just not doing it right.
    Please let me know.

  • edited 26 days ago
    The plan was to keep the REFs and attached PDFs on the Zotero Group library on my desktop and not upload it to the Zotero storage space.
    That's not possible. The whole point of groups is that they're made to sync what's in them with all group members — it would be incredibly confusing and error-prone to have some things that only exist on one group member's computer. You can choose to allow files or not in a given group, but not whether to upload them.
  • Oh OK, if you basically want to purge attachments online, disable file sync, but keep attachments locally at an individual group level, I don't believe that's possible, no.
  • edited 26 days ago
    Note that you can choose not to download files except when they're needed, so that everyone in the group doesn't need a local copy of every file. And there will soon be some more advanced features to allow choosing how many days to keep downloaded files. But the files will always exist in the group online.
  • Hmm.. so that kills the usability, at least the way I want to use it.
    An alternative trick to get what I want could be:
    I make 2 copies of the Library (one in My Library with the REF & PDFs and the 2nd in the Group Lib with REFs only). Now:
    1. Is there a way to synchronize the 2 libraries?
    2. When required, can I "transfer" PDFs from My library version to Group Library version ?
  • No, libraries are separate from each other.

    If you are intending to have PDFs in My Library, you may as well buy storage for your account—group libraries share the owner’s storage quota. It costs nothing more to have a group library with storage than a personal library with storage.

    I understand this is not what you were expecting. I suggest taking a step back and seeing that there is a much simpler workflow available to you.
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