How does the new rtfscan feature work.

Rtfscan sounds really useful - maybe will free me from the shackles of word. But I can't find any documentation. How do I use this feature, or where is it documented?
  • We'll be adding documentation for the new features over the next few days.

    The RTF scan is pretty rough at the moment, but you should be able to author a document in your editor of choice, put in references in the form "(Smith, 2006)" that match Zotero items, save to RTF, and then run the RTF through Zotero, saving to a new file. If more than one item in your library matches a citation, Zotero will allow you to disambiguate.
  • tried the rtf scan and it does not work properly.
    Added citations as (Smith, 2009) as well as (Smith 2009).
    Saved document as rtf, removed fieldcodes before. Then ran rtf scan. Zotero asked me for two out of maybe 50 citations to correct ambiguous entries. This worked fine. Then ran scan, zotero even completed scan successfully (though so quick, that I hardly could believe it did really scan the document), but the file was exactly the same as the input file. Tried two different styles (harvard and ASA), to no avail.
    Tried it with an new document with only three citations, two of them by the same author and same year. The procedure replaced correctly the citations as (Smith 2007a) and (Smith 2007b) but did not produce a bibliography (again tried two different styles: ASA and Chicago author-date)
    What did I do wrong?
    Did anybody accomplish an rtf-scan?
    This all on mac OSX 10.5, firefox 3.5b4 and the latest zotero.
  • edited June 8, 2009
    You must add citations in the form (Smith, 2005) including the comma.

    {{Bibliography}} in the text will be replaced with a bibliography. If it does not appear, no bibliography will be inserted.

    We'll give better documentation in the RTF scan window in a future release.
  • Simon,

    Two things:

    First, using parentheses as ciation markers seems less-than-ideal; what about brackets?

    Second, have you included support for local modifiers like author-suppression?

    Am wondering if there's room to develop a standardized way to do this, which can also be used in markdown/pandoc.
  • Bruce - while I agree parentheses are not ideal, I'd suppose that the idea is to make this work with shift-drag from Zotero.
    One option to combine the two would be to include a style with [] or so in Zotero that could be specifically designed for that purpose.
  • edited June 8, 2009
    Relying on the cite format of the preferred quick-copy style seems messy to me: most styles do not use that notation. However, being able to do this seems useful. So why not make some other key-combo-drag (e.g. ctrl-drag) always use the style that rtfscan expects?

    Something along these lines could potentially be used to improve use of Zotero with LaTeX/BibTeX too. Perhaps Ctrl+Shift-drag would use \cite{...}.
  • Bruce,

    Brackets probably make sense. With parentheses, it's hard for users to tell if a citation hasn't been picked up.

    Support for author suppression is currently included, but limited. The most common use case for author suppression is a citation like "Smith (2005)", which we handle. But I recognize that there are other use cases for which this might not be sufficient.
  • Brackets probably make sense. With parentheses, it's hard for users to tell if a citation hasn't been picked up.
    My thought is it's hard for users, and also hard for the code.

    The pandoc/markdown discussion on this is here; we've yet to really solve all the issues.
  • edited June 16, 2009
    I tested the new RTF-scan feature with a text file, but got some unexpected results. The string "According to Bakker et al. (2001) yeast is sweet." got turned into "According to Bakker et al. 1 yeast is sweet." when I used the Nature style. Clearly the superscripting should stop after the "1".
  • I'm incredibly pleased with the addition of this function since I prefer and usually write in minor Mac wps (Nisus, Scrivener). So far, especially considering its easily equivocal syntax "()," it works rather well (note, I like the brackets idea since it's more recognizable and doesn't require a shift key). I have tested MLA and Chicago footnotes styles. Below are some comments that will hopefully help further development of this feature.

    I had some success with author suppression: "Derrida (1995)". However, this doesn't work so well if you have a page number: "Derrida (1995, 22)", so far has not produced a citation. Also, at least in the humanities, this is not the most common way to use parenthetical citations. Usually, in MLA, author suppression happens because of phrases like this: "Derrida wrote "Blah blah blah" (22)." This removes the name from the date by many words, making it difficult, I'm guessing for Zotero to even know that it's a citation?

    In Bookends such a citation would be something like: {-Derrida, 1995@22}--the dash on the name tells Bookends to suppress the author.

    I can't seem to make comments within citations of the kind "(emphasis mine)", and so on. I also can't seem to figure out how to do multiple citations--perhaps just an oversight on my part...

    I am very impressed that Zotero can scan a text and insert the citation in a footnote. Solutions like Sente and Bookends can only replace temporary citations with formatted citations--its up to you to put them in a footnote (I think this is also how EndNote performs in an RTF scan as well). However, Zotero doesn't seem to be able, at least in my tests, to scan the footnotes for citations, which is an essential feature, at least in the humanities. At best, it removes the text in the temporary citation so "See (Derrida, 1995, 46)" comes out as "See "

    Am I missing something? The RTF scan doesn't seem to produce a bibliography.
  • @ritnze

    oops! many thanks. I had actually read through the posts above, so I guess this qualifies me as a space cadet.
  • The bibliography command only seems to work with RTF documents saved in Word, not in Nisus (the native format of which is RTF). Weird.
  • I have also tested this with RTF documents exported from Scrivener and Mellel and they worked fine (as long as I didn't open them in Nisus before the scan), so there seems to be something wrong with the way Nisus does RTF.
  • Ticket created for Nisus. Someone who uses Nisus and wants to look into this should feel free to take the ticket.
  • Hello- I'm a developer working at Nisus Software. Samuelas notified us of this issue on our own user forums:

    If that discussion is correct, and literal curly braces (typed by a user) trigger a failure in Zotero's RTF import, that seems to be a relatively core bug in Zotero's interpretation of RTF. Other software (Word, TextEdit, etc) has no problem interpreting the way Nisus Writer emits curly braces, which is perfectly legal as per the RTF spec.

    When we can, we'll change the behavior of Nisus Writer to emit \{ instead of \'7b and \} instead of \'7d, but this is really something Zotero should fix internally as well.
  • Thanks, martinw. We'll fix Zotero's RTF Scan to handle character codes as well.
  • Hi, would it be possible to give each item in my library some unique identifier like a number? That would make siting a lot easier in RTF. The idea would be to then be able to write the number of the citation on each article if I print it out. upon writing my document in e.g. google docs I can then just site sources in the following format: {E25} or {E25;F27;Z33}.
    I don't know if this would be possible with the current zotero setup, and also do not have the technical knowhow to comment on this, however, I still think that a feature like this would be a nice to have and would eliminate all possible mistakes in assigning references.
  • @cobusz: see extensive previous discussions on bibtex keys.i I personally think we need to move away from these sorts of identifiers for this purpose, since it ties documents to particular users, and (often) particular datasets.
  • edited July 24, 2009
    I use Chicago style. While RTF scan has greatly improved, I have a couple more observations. My workflow involves composing in Scrivener and exporting to RTF; the results are still the best in Word--that is, if I open the scanned RTF in Word (which to be sure isn't a major problem). In combining a citation with a discursive footnote, there is a minor annoyance; before the citation, within the note, an additional superscript number is added.

    Perhaps more significant, I still can't seem to get comments on notes of the kind

    4. Octavio Paz, The Labyrinth of Solitude (Jackson, TN: Grove Press, 1994), 291 (emphasis mine).

    (that is, parenthetical comments like "translation mine" etc. which appear after page# and before the period.)

    Finally, testing the MLA style, I cannot make page numbers work with author suppression.
  • tried rtf-scan again with Mac OSX 10.5, word 2008. Zotero could not scan the document. Nothing happenend. Then opened and saved .rtf file with textedit and it worked. Is this a bug of how word outputs .rtf?
  • edited November 1, 2009
    I'm wondering if there is to be any further development of this wonderful feature?

    As far as I can see there is still no way to addend commentary to a citation. The support for a Footnote style citatio within a footnote is also buggy (not a huge problem, but requires me to open in Word and fix some peculiar footnote numbering glitches... However, in an article length piece this would probably only slow one down 5 minutes or so). Of more concern is the author suppression support--it still doesn't work with page numbers.

    I wonder if Zotero developers would consider adding support for something like {-Derrida, 1995, 56}, similar to what Bookends allows. This would also allow the user to place the author's name anywhere they wished, not only before the curly brackets.
  • Guys, this is great.
    I have a concern though. When I try to use page numbers and my RTF looks like this:
    Test {Coulon, 1987, 23}.


    what I get after the scan is this:

    Test (Coulon 1987:23\}.\


    Coulon, A. 1987. L'ethnométhodologie. Presses universitaires de France.

    whereas without any page number, everything looks as expected.

    Am I missing something?



    (I'm using Zotero 2.0b7.4 on a mac, with the lates firefox)
  • Ok, apparently the last update (2.0b7.5) has solved the pages glitch, but now if I write {Bibliography}, it compiles and adds the bibliography below, as expected, but it leaves the field {Bibliography} there!

  • I know that Zotero developers have far more pressing issues to tackle, but my above observations about the limitations of the RTF scan still seem to stand. I wonder if someone more in the know than me might offer any information as to whether the RTF scan feature will see further development in the nearish future.

    (The only reason I ask is that I'm beginning the [long, boring] process of turning my diss into a book and moving, hopefully from Mellel + Bookends to some other more flexible writing solution involving Zotero and some other writing application. The functionality of the RTF scan might be a factor to weigh in choosing something like Scrivener over something like Word or OpenOffice, both of which have given me different kinds of headaches.)

    many thanks for any information.
  • RTF scan is unlikely to see further development before Zotero 2.0 unless patches are contributed by others in the next few days. And regardless of time frame, development help from the community would be particularly appropriate for compatibility with third-party software.
  • Thanks for the quick response. I agree that the community should work on this... unfortunately, many of us probably don't have a very clear idea of what that would involve...

  • For any developers that want to take a look, I believe the relevant code is pretty much all contained in rtfScan.js.
  • edited April 20, 2010
    hi people...this feature only can be used when we are working with references of only one author?, because, i tried to do it with more than one reference and it doesn't work. Then i created a fake reference in zotero to try a reference with just one author...then i created too a word document in rtf format and i put it in the way "{Smith, 2009}"...and it, i think that this tool is usefull just for references of one author, because you have to put all the authors that are registered in the library of zotero...anddddddddddddd.....that should change

    PD. Excuse my english
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