Changes to fields and item types for Zotero 5.1

  • An eBook is "a unique publication format"

    From Wikipedia in the article about ISBNs:

    "An ISBN is assigned to each separate edition and variation (except reprintings) of a publication. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book will each have a different ISBN."

    A publisher is not legally obligated to purchase an ISBN for any book, and Amazon does not do so for eBooks; they use their own identifier.
  • Not sure what you think that shows other than that an ebook is as much a unique format as is a paperback book -- and we don't have a Zotero item type for paperback books either. They're all books. I don't understand what the book item type currently doesn't let you do with ebooks?
  • For me personally, know where to look for the book -- on my shelf or in my computer.

    Perhaps it isn't important to anyone else, and I do have a workaround, so no biggie.

  • Right, Zotero has other ways of categorizing things that don't require new item types.
  • Just for the sake of immediately identify which book item is in paper or ebook, why not just use a colored tag? then, let's say, for all ebook you could see the colored square beside the title in the main window
  • Thanks ezellohar -- that's a great idea! I assigned a colored tag named Digital to all pdfs and ebooks and it does the job nicely.

    And now I no longer need to have the column Edition in the center pane -- it often has metadata I don't need to see at a glance (revised, 1st, etc).
  • edited May 19, 2023
    I use the Call Number field to show whether items are on the Shelf S, eLectronic L on computer, Filing cabinet F, Kindle ebook E(K), Audible E(A), and about 30 other codes for various things (eg, ordered & waiting for delivery, a chapter as part of a book S:{}, etc). If I have multiple copies, then, say, something like: F; L; S would appear in CN.

    The Call Number field can be displayed on the Main window, so there is easy access to that info at a glance.
  • Thx jvoros. Another good suggestion. I might use both -- easy to assign a color tag to indicate something other than a physical book, and then type in an identifying abbreviation for the location. I'm trying it out using "Loc. in Archive" as the field because nothing else is ever in there, whereas I have seen downloaded metadata appear in Call Number.
  • Note that Loc. In Archive is not present in all items types, so bear that in mind (mind you, neither is CN, for that matter). If I had it to start over again, I might have gone with your idea, though.

    The only two fields present in all items are Extra and Rights, which is why I am now using Rights to hold a master indexing parameter (an idea suggested elsewhere by @adamsmith over at:
  • I would suggest Call Number for that purpose — it is almost never used in citation styles, whereas Loc in Archive is used for citing archival materials.
  • I have never entered types like blog post et al., in Zotero (never say never), and have never seen downloaded metadata that has anything in the Loc in Archive field, so it might be fine for my purposes. I also liked it because it makes sense as a name for the contents, but if Extra appears for every type, and nothing is likely to automatically appear there, that name also suggests itself, as in Extra Information for My Purposes.

    I note that Extra is a large field, like Abstract, and I'm curious to know why that was done -- it's like a note or comment field. In what kind of a citation would you want that much information?
  • PS: I keep all pdfs, including downloaded books from Internet Archive, Gutenberg, etc., in DevonThink where they are filed with related material, easily accessible, and searchable.

    But since this thread has me thinking about identifying and locating material when using Zotero, I decided to see if it would be useful to put a DT link in one of the Zotero fields like Archive, Loc in Archive, or Extra. (I can't use the URL field because it is sometimes occupied by downloaded metadata.) It works great -- takes me right there.

    If all of your files are in Finder, there is a way to copy the path and paste it into a field. However, it isn't a link, so it merely tells you where to look. To copy a path: Right click on file name, scroll down to Copy, press Option, the filepath will appear; click to copy.

    (I'd be curious to know if there is a way to create a link to a file; anybody know? Or maybe how to make use of an Alias for this purpose?)

  • Amend that: A simple paste into a field doesn't work, but Attach Link to URL adds it as if it were an attachment, which works fine. Sorry for the misinformation.
  • @JHHbks The bigger issue with Loc in Archive is that many citation styles will include that field in rendered citations (eg, APA, Chicago), so you probably want to avoid it for personal non-citation data. Call Number is a safer bet for that purpose. Like you noticed, non-citation URLs are best attached as links to the item.
  • edited February 4, 2024
    I wanted to check whether there's an update on the DOI field. I think I read somewhere (ages ago) that it is planned that all item types will get a DOI field? I would love that as it would obviously mean that one would not need to have the DOI in the extra field.

    (Custom fields comment moved here: .)
  • +1 for DOIs across the board!

    I keep being hit by the issue that changing the item type of something with a DOI to something that doesn't have a DOI field (e.g. book section) simply removes the DOI. I first reported that issue (and suggested a workaround fix) back in 2017...
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