Zotero PDF Reader: Why are annotations by other users locked?

When several people comment on a PDF, the annotations by other users are locked: They have a little lock icon, and cannot be modified by other users (bar deletion).

Is it possible to unlock those notes?
  • Why should you be able to edit other people's annotations, with their names on them? It's no different from comments in, say, Google Docs, where you can't edit other people's comments. Admins can delete them, but that's it.

    It may be possible to reply to annotations in a future version.
  • I agree that it's the same as google docs, but it's not the same as other things in Zotero. :) Anybody [with edit rights] can can edit notes, anybody can edit item metadata. I was surprised that annotations are different.

    What would be wrong with admins being able to unlock and take over the note? The user name could show the admin's user name. That would effectively be the same as deleting and recreating the note, but with far fewer steps!

    More generally speaking, if the user-based control is something that's going to make it into other parts of Zotero, I would certainly be all for more fine-grained rights in shared libraries, e.g., restricting the ability to delete anything to admins. That would be really helpful in our large group libraries (where things do get deleted by accident).
  • Don't understand it either, we use notes to instruct others to do something, but they cannot delete the note or edit it as completed
  • It would make sense to me to be able to edit annotations and have both user’s names next to them. Particularly because annotations can later be inserted as citations into documents.
  • For collaboration I think being able to reply to others' annotations would be super useful.
  • I agree that all annotations should be editable. I frequently receive pdfs from another agency that may have their personal highlights on them. But when I put it in my library, it's my personal copy now, not theirs anymore. I'd like to be able to remove their highlights before adding my own.
  • @amc Importing and deleting annotations from native PDF annotations is already possible.

    Or are those annotations made in Zotero in a Zotero group?
    I forgot what happens with those when you move a document from a group to My Library, but that'd seem like a different topic than actually editing them within the group -- so test out what happens with that and start a new thread if that doesn't work for you.
  • (When you drag a PDF from a group to a personal library Zotero-created annotations become editable.)
  • I have a pdf file associated with an item (say, Book). This item is accidentally added to multiple collections. I have notes in one of the copies, and later I decided to merge these copies together. After merging, some of the notes are not editable. It would be helpful to allow me, as the admin, to unlock the notes. @amc I support your view. @adamsmith are you saying that I can edit or delete locked notes directly using the native PDF reader?
  • edited July 27, 2022
    @franciswong: I think you may be misunderstanding this. This thread is about annotations created by other Zotero users in group libraries. If you're talking about embedded annotations in PDFs in your personal library, you just need to use File → Import Attachments to make them editable in Zotero, and that has nothing to do with this thread. See Annotations in Database for more info.

    (Also, to be clear, if you add an item in Zotero to multiple collections, you don't have duplicate items, and there's nothing to merge. And if you're actually talking about separate items that you merged, that wouldn't have anything to do with this annotations.)
  • I found this thread because I imported a PDF that had annotations placed in the PDF by someone else in Acrobat. When added to Zotero, they were visible in the side bar, and I could quickly jump to them, which was nice. However, Zotero placed a large orange sticky note looking thing over some text that I needed to read. Because the annotation was locked, I couldn't move it, hide it, delete it, or anything. I had to remove it from Zotero, edit it in Acrobat to remove it, and then bring it back to Zotero. Because it is trivial to edit them elsewhere, why not have the ability in Zotero to unlock (or at least hide) these outside annotations? If they are edited, you could just discard the name associated with the original annotation and put the editor's name instead, avoiding confusion.
  • edited December 8, 2022
    Yeah, I would like to push this topic once more, because I just abandoned using other pdf-readers like Okular and Evince. All the previous annotations I made with Okular are not editable in Zotero, which is a bit shitty. It would be nice, at least in someone's personal library, to give an unlock setting somewhere.

    The "other user", in this case, is myself.
  • edited December 8, 2022
    @Wallenstein: You're totally misunderstanding this thread, which is about annotations made by others in Zotero group libraries. The lock icon just means that they're annotations embedded in the file. As we explained to multiple people above, to transfer them into the Zotero database and make them editable, just use File → Import Annotations in the PDF reader.
  • edited December 8, 2022
    @dstillman Oh, my goodness. Yes, I totally misunderstood the thread.. Sorry for that. I've found the "Import Annotations" stuff.
    Thanks and sorry!
  • (We'll see what we can do to clarify the lock icon — you're not the first to be confused by this.)
  • Hope you are all well. I started using group libraries recently and they are really great. My thoughts is that It would be reasonable to give the owner of the group library the privileges to:
    1-be able to edit and unlock other members' annotations (may be his name should appear in the text besides them or as a tag instead)
    2- have the exclusive right to delete collections and items (Admins should only be able to delete sources added by them only in case that no other members added annotations to these sources).
  • I agree it would be helpful to be able to comment on other peoples annotations.
  • +1 still from me :)
  • I agree - would be really hepful to be able to set certain options in the group settings regarding the permission to edit other group members annotations!
  • Has this been solved? I use zotero with my PI and would like him and me to edit the same annotations to exchange comments asynchronously on the paper.
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