Does Zotero have semantic search?

does Zotero have semantic search?

For example: I search for "teenagers" and it finds also "adolescents", or "teenager".

I'm still on the fence, I'm not a researcher but I heavily rely on academic papers for my work and content production on the Web, and I'm looking for a robust way to find information fast and easy.

Thank you.
  • No, we don't currently offer anything like this, sorry.
  • edited July 17, 2022

    No personal bibliography management software does what you want. There are open-access thesauri on many scientific and social academic topics that you can apply for your own use. You can view these to assist you with assigning Zotero tags to your records. The same tag could (should) be applied to all Zotero records containing any of your words of interest and also similar words.

    What you are requesting requires a well-constructed database thesaurus with defined synonyms (also called "entry terms" in a Use-For relationship). In a good text-word query system any of those text-words (also, teen and youth) should return all articles containing any of those terms. [For example, look at the online PubMed MeSH thesaurus for "adolescents" ]. Select ONE of the many listed synonyms or near-synonyms to use as your Zotero tag and use each of the listed synonyms in a search of your Zotero library to identify the records to which you will apply your tag.

    Such a query system would also recognize ambiguous terms like "football" and prompt for specifying which game you want (American football, Australian Rules football, Gaelic football, Soccer, etc.) Someone interested in soccer shouldn't be distracted by items about American football and vice-versa [ ] The MeSH doesn't help with all "flavors" of football but thesauri of databases containing items about recreation or safety will cover all of the ambiguous uses of the terms. Authors often don't think they are using a word that will have different meanings to different peoples or they don't think of the consequences of using an ambiguous term when information-seekers use that term when searching. Some editors don't worry about things like that. It is up to indexers and thesaurus constructors to repair the author or editor neglect and to facilitate findability.

    When you carefully apply tags to your Zotero records you are in effect constructing your own thesaurus. I find that the process of applying tags to my Zotero items helps me to better recognize how items in my collections are interrelated.

    People who study information-seeking behavior are like Agatha Christy's Miss Lemon who is so concerned with creating the ultimate filing system that "she dreams of it at night". I'm one of those folks.
  • @dstillman thank you.

    @DWL-SDCA thank you for your reply.
    It makes sense, and I see what you say.
    So I can use tags to build my own "taxonomy", maybe structuring tags according to how I want to find the papers in the future.

    For example, I can use the tag "teenagers" for each paper that talks about teenagers, teenager, adolescents, and so on.
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