Is there a way to add book sections more quickly?

Hello,

I'm not sure if this is a feature request or something I just haven't figured out yet.

I'm working with an edited collection that (unfortunately) does not have DOI's for each chapter. I want to add several chapters of the book as entries to my library that can be cited separately.

Is there a faster way to add individual chapters than to first add the entire book (or any section in it) and then copy/paste each field individually while adding a new item? Is there some way to "spawn" (for lack of a better term) a book section from an edited collection or encyclopedia or to create a book section as a child item, or something like that?

Apologies if I'm dense, or this is a perennial request, etc.

Also...When I click the green arrow to add an item, I can't find the option for a web page. Is the only way to do that really to either import it from Chrome (Ugh, I hate Chrome), or add a different source category and then change it?

Finally, I want to say that switching from Mendeley to Zotero has been a life-saver, and despite these questions and requests, I LOVE the program and am so grateful for it.

Thanks!
  • edited July 30, 2022
    Is there a faster way to add individual chapters than to first add the entire book (or any section in it) and then copy/paste each field individually while adding a new item?
    Right-click → Duplicate Item → change to Book Section → Duplicate Item
    When I click the green arrow to add an item, I can't find the option for a web page. Is the only way to do that really to either import it from Chrome (Ugh, I hate Chrome), or add a different source category and then change it?
    Explained here. The whole point of Zotero is that you use the Zotero Connector to save items from the browser as you browse the web. You certainly don't have to use Chrome, though.
  • Right-click → Duplicate Item → change to Book Section → Duplicate Item
    The Zutilo plugin adds an option to the right-click menu to do this whole sequence in one click
  • edited July 31, 2022
    Duplicate Item → change to Book Section
    I mean, it’s just this that it’s doing, right?

    I’d be open to adding a “Create Book Section” option above “Duplicate Item” for Book items if we think this is something that people are doing enough for it to be worth the extra clutter.
  • Zutilo's function also relates the two items.

    I think adding some version of this to Zotero is worth considering, both because it does save a step and for discoverability
  • Anything else it should do? Can open the Title field for editing. Anything with Author, Book Author, Editor?
  • I'd be inclined to say
    Author --> Book Author
    but this isn't as 100% obvious as it may seem (if people are citing chapters from single author books as is sometimes done, they'd probably be better as authors).

    Otherwise (just to make this explicit & help think it through) the things you'd regularly do are:
    Move title --> book title (already happening)
    Add page range -- can't be automated
    Add title -- I like opening the field for editing
    Add chapter authors -- again, not much we can do

    Possibly: change DOI --> This is the most complicated one, especially ones DOIs for books & chapter fully exist/work. Books do have DOIs, but for most edited books with DOIs, so do their individual chapters, so keeping their DOI is tricky, but removing it is also not great: often chapter DOIs just have the chapter number tagged on (like .03). So just fixing the book DOI is quick when it's left it. (This is a [not terribly good] practice by some publisher, not something we can rely on )
  • Those all sound good. The only only other Zutilo action does is accept the prompts about field changes/loss, which Zotero would obviously not have with a native solution
  • edited July 31, 2022
    One marginally annoying thing about the Zutilo-operation is that it makes a book section inherit subsequent related items from the book even after it has been generated, so that every book section ends up being related to every other book section as well as to its parent item. This seems unnecessary/unhelpful and would not be something I'd advocate duplicating in a native solution.
  • That surprises me it’s even possible and sounds like a weird bug
  • In the latest Zotero beta, we've added "Create Book Section" and "Create Book from Book Section" menu options in the item context menu.

    The relation thing isn't really a bug, and our implementation currently does the same. It's just that this operation starts by duplicating the parent item, duplicate items include relations, and related-item relations are bidirectional. So:

    1) You have book A, and you create book section B, so you have A ↔ B.

    2) You then create book section C from A. A is duplicated, which means the relation to B is duplicated, which means C starts with C ↔ B, and then A ↔ C is added. So if you look at B, you'll see both B ↔ A and B ↔ C.

    To avoid this, this function would need to ignore related-item relations to either all book sections or to book sections where the title matches the book title. (The reason to do the latter would be to allow book sections to inherit relations to other book sections that the parent item is related to.)
  • edited August 12, 2022
    But is it actually wrong/undesirable for book sections from the same book to end up related to each other?
  • edited August 12, 2022
    I haven't tried the beta (yet) but on the last point I would prefer chapters to be only related to the parent volume rather than explicitly to each other: it is being part of the same volume that defines the relationship of the sections with each other.

    I do think that there is a difference between chapters in an edited volume (which are typically non-interdependent) and the contents of a single-author book where citing individual chapters is more of an exercise in higher-level indexing.

    If it is the book-section (rather than the book) that is replicated for second and subsequent chapters then a relationship mesh is avoided.
  • Hi, I just tried the new beta and it works nice.

    Last week I added couple of book sections from books and that would have help.
    True that the gain in terms of click is not huge but still is nice to have it ready under the mouse :)

    So to say what I see, when I create a booksection from a book I will then be on the new item title field so I can enter whatever tittle I want for the chapter. Plus it relates items together.

    A note passing by, I had trouble entering authors of the chapters when different from the book : troubles ordering first name with last name, decide to set one or two fields. But this is another issue I suppose.

    Thanks!
  • On the question of whether book sections should automatically be related to other book sections: it makes the list of related items very cluttered, and as far as I can see unnecessarily so. My standard use case is that I have a chapter in a collection that I want to read, and therefore want to navigate to the parent item, which may be in an entirely different collection, quickly in order to open the attached pdf document of the whole book or to search for it in an online library catalogue. That is simplest when there is only one link, to one related item. I can't currently think of a use case for a direct link between chapters. But perhaps someone else can?
  • edited August 12, 2022
    So, I have now installed the current beta as referenced above and tried the new 'Create Book Section' option and it seems a very useful addition.

    A number of questions come to mind:

    1/ Could this functionality be extended to other Item Types, please? Probably to anything that has chapters, e.g. Theses.

    2/ Could a PDF that is associated with the top-level item be automatically associated with the section entr(y/ies)? If not, is there (or could there be) a way of automatically dragging a PDF from one item to another that does not dis-associate it from the first one, which seems to be the current practice?

    3/ Would it be at all possible for the relevant number of related sections to be automatically determined and generated by reference to the index of a top-level PDF and, additionally, for the Title fields to be auto-filled? No idea whether this is Utopian, or not.

  • But is it actually wrong/undesirable for book sections from the same book to end up related to each other?
    @dstillman
    I agree with @ajb59 & @gpatten : having too many unstructured related items is not really practical.
    It would still be useful to be able to see quickly all book chapters of a book from any chapter. But this information probably should not be implemented as a direct relationship. This should be done at a higher level, with only the direct relations book to book chapter really needed.

    This could be achieved by a more general feature: showing the second degree related items rather than only the direct relations. In this way, the book chapter will see the book as first degree relation, and then all book chapters connected to the main book would naturally appear as second degree connections. Connecting all book chapters directly will probably lead to a lot of unnecessary cluttering, with a strong probability of missing some of the connections at some point.

    Ideally, there should be a dedicated directional relation between a book and its book chapters. But I don't know what is the status on developing different types of relations, hierarchical relations, directional relations, semantic relations, ...?
  • On the question of whether book sections should automatically be related to other book sections: it makes the list of related items very cluttered, and as far as I can see unnecessarily so.
    I also agree with this. Usually, I add the book sections as related items of the book item, but not of each other. Some books have dozens of loosely related book sections. It's useful to quickly get from a section to the parent book, but not so much from one section to another.

    I'd propose to remove the initial item relations after duplicating the book item:

    1. Book: item1 [related1, related2]
    2. Duplicate it: item2 [related1, related2]
    3. Remove related items: item2
    4. Relate book and new book section: item1 [related1, related2, item2], item2 [item1]

    The items [related1, related2] could also be journal article items that are related to the book, but which aren't necessarily related to all the book sections.
    2/ Could a PDF that is associated with the top-level item be automatically associated with the section entr(y/ies)?
    You could add a URI attachment to the book section item with a zotero://open-pdf link to a specific page in the book, see here.
  • In the latest beta, the created book sections won't be related to each other.
  • I also vote for relating chapters automatically, but only to, the parent book. More than that becomes messy and will not often add useful functionality. You could always navigate to the parent relation of a chapter to inspect all the chapters that are saved from the book. One limited case for additionally relating individual chapters would be in a textbook, where chapters usually flow in a sequence. But a relation could easily be added manually to the following (and preceding?) chapter. And there is less reason for saving textbooks as individual chapters in the first place anyway - you're more likely to just save the whole book.
  • @timwr820: See my message directly above yours — it's already done.
  • @dstillman
    Wow.. Right now wanted ask about the relations!!!
    Thanks!
    Sincerely,
    Andrey
  • To avoid this, this function would need to ignore related-item relations to either all book sections or to book sections where the title matches the book title. (The reason to do the latter would be to allow book sections to inherit relations to other book sections that the parent item is related to.)
    I would actually prefer to have all related items removed besides the parent book item. Another book section that is somehow related to the parent book isn't necessarily related to every section of the book.
    The items [related1, related2] could also be journal article items that are related to the book, but which aren't necessarily related to all the book sections.
    Let me give an example. A book with dozens of loosely related book sections could be a collection of conference proceedings. Let's say you have one journal article item with a review of this book. The review is related to the book, but it isn't relevant to all the book sections. If the book sections inherited this relation, dozens of book sections would be added as related items to the book review item.
  • edited August 14, 2022
    If one starts with an entry for the whole book, and its PDF file, an easy way to split off chapter PDFs from the main PDF would also be very nice. Take for example the above-mentioned conference proceedings - extracting entries/PDFs for more than a couple of individual papers can be extremely tedious. The new mechanism for creating the individual chapter/paper entry will be very helpful. But then one also needs to save just the PDF pages for the chapter/paper somehow, to attach to the item. If you have an external full-featured PDF editor/reader (or some web-based tools) it is not too difficult to save just a page range, and then attach the new PDF in Zotero; with free PDF readers that capability is harder to find. I have often ended up just using Windows' in-built 'Microsoft Print to PDF' to get those pages (printing to file either from an external reader or from Zotero's reader). The big downside of that is you get an image PDF file, where the selectable text is not preserved. If there's an easier way to already do this that I've missed, please let me know.
  • edited August 14, 2022
    But then one also needs to save just the PDF pages for the chapter/paper somehow, to attach to the item.
    Not necessarily. You can also copy the item link of the attached file using Zutilo and attach it as a URI to your chapter entry. If you then replace ‘select’ in the link with ‘open-pdf’ and append the page number you want using ‘?page=##’ (where ## is the page number), the pdf attached to the parent item will open at the correct page when you double click the chapter entry.
  • "Create Book Section" and "Create Book from Book Section" are available now in Zotero 6.0.12.
  • edited August 28, 2022
    New book sections created with this new function are inheriting the abstracts of their parent items (i.e., a contribution to a conference proceedings volume inherits the description of the entire volume). That doesn’t seem entirely optimal.
  • Bump. Any chance of a change to the way the abstracts are being inherited?
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