Group Library syncing with My Library

Dear all,
I would appreciate any help with this question: Can I create a 'Group Library', then copy all my references from 'My Library' to my new Group Library; and then somehow find an easy way to keep the two synchronized?
So if I add a new reference in My Library, I would like it to be added to a selected Group Library.
If I modify the citation data of one reference which I shared from My Library to a Group Library, then the change I made in My Library should be reflected in the Group Library.
Is this possible? If there are Zotero people looking at these discussion, can you tell me if this is something Zotero is planning to develop?
Thanks a lot,
Bruno (
  • Not currently possible, and it's a tough problem to solve, because┬ánot all changes you would make to an item in one library (notes, tags, etc.) would necessarily be appropriate to copy between libraries. But we're planning to at least offer better ways to keep items in sync manually (e.g., so that dragging items again will update the items in the target library instead of skipping them).
  • Thanks a lot for this rapid answer. It is encouraging! Any idea for when Zotero might have implemented the sync item update that you mention? I would satisfy fully my needs, as I agree that notes and tags might just be more personal stuff.
    One more question, pending development of the above: Currently, I created a Group Library which is intended to be a mirror of My entire Library. I thought that once in a while, I would just drag and drop again my hole library to that Group Library and it would simply add the new stuff. From your reply, I understand that it should work, but in fact it does not. I can select up to a certain number of items and drag them to the Group Library; but I cannot drag all items at once. Is there a limit in terms of number of items we can drag to a Group Library at once? I have 11000 items in my Library; pdf are only linked on my computer so I do not need to sync those.
    Thanks a lot in advance for further advice
  • There's no limit, but you'd very likely run into trouble trying to drag 11,000 items. For libraries that large, we generally recommend just maintaining a single version as a group library rather than trying to keep multiple libraries in sync.

    But you can also just drag in batches. Since Zotero won't duplicate items in the group, there's no harm even if you accidentally drag something more than once.

    I'd be curious to see a Debug ID for an attempt to drag 11,000 items that didn't work, though. In principle it should work, and it's possible it's either just taking a long time with no progress indicator or something is timing out in the background. (One change we could make here would be to show a progress meter when dragging many items.)
  • Thanks a lot for your help. My library is big because built over 15 years. I started with EndNote for 10 years (5000 ref); and as I was not managing my pdf files, I had in parallel about 10000 files in a folder. I decided to shift to Zotero; I imported my EndNote Library first; Then I dragged and dropped my hole pdf folder (as linked files) so that Zotero could recover most citations for these; and finally I cleaned most duplicates.
    I thought of using only a Group Library (to share it), but in that case Zotero does not allow to manage pdf as linked files and the free storage is very small. So I have no choice but to use my local Zotero library, and copy the references only to a Group Library.
    I think also that I understood why the batch copy of many references to the Group Library did not work. It seems that this was because of series of references items interrupted by some linked files without defined parent item.
    Thus, I moved the 11000 elements of my local library in batches as you suggested, being careful not to include linked files without parent item. It worked.
    Thanks again.
  • edited September 27, 2020
    Dan, I'm spending a lot of time keeping My Library and some of my Shared Libraries in sync, I'm never quite sure if the two are actually synchronized. It affects the quality of the work we can do, in that we can easily miss key references if we don't sync well. I realize from the text above that solving this is non-trivial. Here is a relatively simple solution that wouldn't make synchronizing completely automatic but would save time and improve the work we can do with Zotero. The solution would be to add a folder called "Library Comparisons" at the bottom of the My Library folder structure, and inside that folder you would have subfolders for each My Library to Non-My Library comparison. Each of these would be empty, so that it takes no bandwidth unless the user wants to do the comparison. If the User chooses one of the comparison folders, and right clicks and selects "Do Comparison" it would run the comparison, and create three results: In Both: X number, In My Library but not B library: here it would list the actual references, In B library but not My Library: also list the references. The User would then be able to manually choose which items to sync and where by right clicking an item and choosing which folder or root directory it should go to, in the comparison library. Let me know if this is doable, I would be happy to test it if you try it.
  • I love suggestion from Tampelwhat1. I would like to have this feature.
  • edited February 4, 2021
    I am also interested in finding a way to keep my personal and my group library in sync. Is this something that is being considered for future releases?

    I just set up a group library for collaboration with a co-author. As I collect more references for our book, I thought I could maintain my own reference entries in my personal library and they would also update in the group library. Now I am not sure how to handle updating them in two places... Grateful for any tips!
  • Honestly... Please just add the feature, or do something to make Libraries link.

    Overleaf refuses to sync with group libraries, only syncing with "My Library". I do not even need a "My Library". They could all be the same class from the start, for all it matters to me.
  • edited September 7, 2021
    Adding support for this -- in a major mess at the moment because I assumed they synced, and I now have in text citations pulling from both libraries as I didn't notice that I could choose personal or group library when selecting references to cite. I also really want direct access to my PDFs through my own cloud drive folder, but I have to put them in Zotero storage if I want to share them. This is hugely limiting and would love to be able to select shared cloud storage for shared libraries or at least have them sync somehow. Thanks!
  • I have a similar scenario as the users above. I share mylib contents with various people in different group libs and it is very difficult to keep track on these shared items. At the moment I try to do this manually. It's terrible.

    To simplify this would be a great improvement for Zotero.

    Some time ago there was another discussion on this (or a slightly related) topic, which could be helpful for this scenario, too: An implementation of a search function across MyLib and all group libs could help to find "shared" items and to keep track (manually) on it more easily.

    A possible solution therefore could be to extend the Zotero GUI to allow the search function an inclusion of none, (selected) or all group libs. That seems to me a really simple way to start with.

    The link to the mentioned discussion:

  • Some sort of robust fix would be great.

    Meanwhile, could you maybe have several libraries for the project? That way you could have your references in "My_Library" and others could add their references in "Shared library". When you compile, references will be taken from either one of the bib.files.

    For example with natbib (Biblatex would be better for this):

    \usepackage[natbibapa]{apacite} % apa citation style with natbib like style (citep)
    \usepackage{natbib} % might be redundant but getting all natbib options

    % separators

    \bibliographystyle{apacite} % True APA-style






    You will have to share via google drive or the like. Overleaf does not work as of now as using BetterBibTex is currently difficult.

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