Beta PDF reader: Why is "add item note from annotations" a manual step?

I love the new PDF reader. Before the beta, I relied on Zotfile, and my practice was to annotate a PDF, extract the annotations using Zotfile's extraction command, and tag the parent item as "Annotated." This worked okay.

Now, the new built-in reader works beautifully. When I pull up a PDF, I see the annotations in the left side panel and can easily browse through them.

My question is, now that this new side panel view of the annotations is available, what is the ctoninuing use case for "add item note from annotations"? Why will anyone need to keep doing the extraction?

With the new reader, I can think of two reasons why it might still be desirable to do an extraction

(1) Viewing the annotations in the library view, when the PDF is not opened, and
(2) Searching the annotations within a collection or across my whole library.

The thing is, each of these seems like something that Zotero could do itself, directly from the annotations, without the extra step of manually extracting a note. And I'd prefer if it were that way, since I sometimes go back over a previously annotated source and make new annotations or notes. (It would save the trouble of worrying about whether each note is up to date relative to the underlying annotations reflected in the note.)
  • edited August 16, 2021
    Those are both planned features, but that's not what the note functionality is for. As explained in the PDF reader announcement, with notes you can start a note with your annotations, expand the text while viewing the PDF, add additional citations from your Zotero library, and then use the word processor plugin's new Add Note feature to create a document with active Zotero citations that you can turn into a final document.
  • Oh, thanks for the clarifications. I hadn't realized it was possible to insert citations into notes!
  • On further reflection, given that out-of-file PDF annotations will soon have better functionality than in-file annotations, would it make sense to create a porting step that would allow you to replicate your existing annotations into zotero's new data layer? Then, people could do that, optionally delete the corresponding annotations from the underlying files using non-zotero tools, and have all annotations stored in the same, new, powerful and flexible way.
  • Yes, in the future there will likely be a way to convert external annotations to Zotero annotations and vice versa, deleting the source annotations. (Conflicts would arise from having them in both places.)
  • A way to convert external annotations to Zotero annotations is going to be crucial for those of us shifting in the middle of ongoing work from an external reader to Zotero’s one. I can’t see myself adopting the latter as a regular part of my workflow, once the stable version is released, if it will mean being unable to revise previous annotations on files.
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