Multiple local libraries

I would like to open a feature request.

Currently there is no way to have more than one local library. This means that all data are stored in the same database, and all stored files are stored in the same folder.

Imo, it would be beneficial to be able to have different libraries to separate different work fields: for example a professional one and a personal one.
- It could make copying a library from one computer to another easier
- It would make easier the use of the "Duplicate Items" and "Unfiled items" tools, since there would be no overcrowding.

I am aware there are tools that can be used to circumvent the issue but I believe they are hacky and not a real solution:
- The use of multiple profiles is complicated by the need to use the command interface. Moreover, if my understanding is correct, each profile needs to have its own extension and settings.
- Groups are not intended for local use, but for share use. They require an internet connection to be created, bloat the Zotero server with single members groups and do not allows linked files.

I understand this may require significant changes to the Zotero inner working and folder structure, but I still believe it could be an useful feature.
  • I strongly agree. I can see many uses for multiple libraries: for example, current projects and archived projects;
  • I also strongly agree´╝ütoo many references from different fields merge in one library, which is not a good design.
  • +1 on this suggestion. The most often suggested solution has been to create a separate group library for personal use only. However, group libraries cannot be synced via Webdav, forcing one to use Zotero's own cloud storage solution.
  • +1
    I just came looking for this functionality, or some way of limiting which citations/references are active when I work with different things.
  • You can use Group libraries for this purpose, even without inviting anyone besides yourself to the library
  • +1
    bwiernik, group library has some limitation, not same as my library.
    File link is not allowed, and WebDAV sync is also not allowed.
  • +1
    I also want to make more than one local library. Group libraries take from my Zotero cloud storage space.
  • edited January 19, 2024
    You can have multiple libraries via multiple profiles as mentioned, just like in Firefox (the underlying architecture of Zotero). And you don't have to use the command interface as suggested at the link below: you just append -P to the shortcut that starts Zotero, which then brings up the profiles interface (same way as Firefox's), just as the command line approach does. Each profile gets its own data directory (although the Zotero support link below currently mentions a June 2023 bug that means that you may have to be set those up manually ?). You can then use the same shortcut (with -P) to start Zotero from then on, which lets you choose which profile/library you want to use in a given session.
    https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/multiple_profiles

    But I strongly agree that it should be possible to have more than one library that can be selected from *within* the one instance of Zotero. My own library really should be two separate libraries, but it's too much hassle to transfer half of my single library into each of two profiles. And then have to restart/switch profiles when I want to switch libraries.

    While you can open more than one instance of Zotero at once, each of which could use a different profile/library, there are considerable limitations ...
    https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/multiple_instances
  • I strongly agree.

    It becomes really painful to manage a library that grows bigger and bigger with items from different fields and projects all mixed up without the ability to create separate libraries or archive part of it. At least to me, it only leads to chaos and confusion instead of any benefits.
  • +1
    I love this APP! And well done to everyone working on it.
    But I will soon need to be able to differentiate between large research projects as distinct libraries, so this would be a big plus for me.
    Essentially adding siblings to 'My Library', which would mean an additional level to the tree structure.
    I also appreciate that this will require some thought to implement without breaking everyone's libraries :)
  • +1
    It would be really helpful if I can create multiple libraries for my different projects. Some of my projects last for years, when adding papers to the new projects, I don't want to mix them with the old literature.
  • +1

    I also came to this thread looking for this functionality. I think it would be really helpful to have the ability to house my teaching and research files in separate local libraries.

    I know I could put one into a Group Library--in fact, I do this for personal research projects already--but one can't share the same tags between them, and therefore can't search across both repositories together. I don't mind that limitation for my creative projects because the subject matter is so different. However, it would hinder me for teaching and research materials because they are more intertwined.

    Right now I have separate folders for my teaching materials, but I don't like having those items intermixed with my research materials in my personal library. I also share my screen a lot when teaching students how to use Zotero and I don't necessarily want them to see a list of my entire file index (which includes items like exam keys, etc.) within my library.
  • Multiple rofiles are perfect for teaching Zotero
  • I have a mixture of research topics going on in my local library and had been setting up my workspace with Group Libraries for those topics I wanted to maintain separately and perhaps even share with others. However, I just learned during some practice exercises about the caveat that linking to local files is ONLY allowed on your local library, which has me completely reconsidering my structure and basically forcing me to put everything back into the local library. Even MORE reason for the need for multiple local libraries and/or some way for segregation. Having ALL my items for multiple research projects in the same root folder is just asking for trouble long term!!
  • Yes, please! This would be very useful for those of us who store references for different fields, for example, as I do.

    Ideally, one would also be able to have multiple libraries open simultaneously, in different windows of Zotero.
  • 1+
    It will be helpful for freelancers working with multiple companies. Creating groups for multiple teams without each group knowing other groups data...
  • "Creating groups for multiple teams without each group knowing other groups data... "
    Isn't that covered by the existing group functionality?
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