Interesting Linux plug-in that allows access to Zotero database with no need to open Firefox. Only works with Zotero 2+

How to install:

Dowload .tar at:

Extract tar.gz in home directory

Open terminal and navigate to the gnotero directory type:
cd gnotero-0.11

Run the following command to install:
gksudo python install

To run the programme type:

Mind that the programme will close when the terminal session closes.
Is there a way to run gnotero without terminal?
  • you should be able to run this by alt+F2 and typing gnotero or by creating a shortcut
  • Running it as "nohup gnotero" should also keep it alive after the terminal closes. See "man nohup" for the (very few) further details of the nohup command.
  • You can also make Gnotero run on startup so that it loads on login.
  • edited January 28, 2010
    Awesome. Works great! This will be in ÜberStudent 1.0
  • Great, thank you.

    Now since the Zotero database can be accessed even without FF what we all want to see is a stand-alone Zotero, I guess.

    Sounds like a dream...
  • [...] what we all want to see is a stand-alone Zotero, I guess.
    You've probably read this discussion before, but there hasn't been any explanation of what a stand-alone Zotero would mean. If you can describe how a "stand-alone" version would work in a way that the current Zotero in full-screen mode does not, please feel free to add it to that discussion-- I'm interested to hear what is missing.
  • Thanks I did as you suggested
  • Thanks for the interest in Gnotero!

    I have just put a slightly updated version online (0.2). This includes a Debian/ Ubuntu package.
  • Ubuntu users unite!!
  • Does it work with Zotero 3 rc?
  • "[...] what we all want to see is a stand-alone Zotero, I guess."

    You can kind of have that. Run

    firefox -new-window zotero://fullscreen
  • edited January 28, 2010
    "[...] Does it work with Zotero 3 rc? "

    It works with Zotero 2rc (but that's what you mean, perhaps?).
  • That's what I meant :) Uber, that's a useful command.
  • edited February 4, 2010
    sebastiaan - just installed. That is a really nifty little piece of software. Thanks a lot.
  • you may submite this project to canonical, and put him on offical repository... I like this mini-aplication!
  • edited February 26, 2010
    Would it be possible to use zotero://select/<item number> URLs to make all the search results accessible via Gnotero? I'm not sure, but I could imagine it being useful to be able to have Zotero open and show a given item selected from the list.

    And thanks for such a superb utility.
  • edited February 26, 2010
    After installing on Ubuntu with the deb package and setting the path to the Zotero data folder (version 2.0 final) at gnotero startup, I get the following error:AttributeError: 'Gnotero' object has no attribute 'max_results'It's apparently either failing to find the folder, or failing to parse the DB. Any hints on what might be amiss?

    (EDIT: From the code, it looks like it's skipping the initialization of internal vars when a config file is not present. Has the latest version been tested against a clean install?)

    (EDIT: After hand-rolling a config file, I get an error about failiing to connect to Zotero, with a suggestion that the Z version may be too old. I'm running Zotero 2.0 final in Firefox 3.6, so that's not the issue. Maybe a problem with the Python version or some other dependency? This is with Python 2.6.2.)
  • Has the latest version been tested against a clean install?
    My installation is completely clean. I installed Gnotero this morning, after installing Ubuntu 9.10 with its fresh Firefox profile yesterday morning. Works like a charm, once I realized that only PDFs were intended to be selectable.
  • edited February 26, 2010
    I guess it just doesn't work for me then. Odd.
  • Install on ubuntu 9.10 works for me, though there was a problem establishing the zotero path. Had to do that several times. But, as far as I can tell, it only searches for authors of (item type) books. (Not, as ajlyon suggests, pdfs -- at least, that has been my experience.)

    Shouldn't be much of a tweak to add other categories...
  • it finds pdfs for me - don't know what the problem is in your case.
  • Wow. An elegant read-only desktop interface to my Zotero library. This is super. Thanks Sebastiaan! This is a thing to make users of non-Gnome desktops and other OSes jealous. Thanks also for the packages.
  • Just installed this on my Linux laptop and it works great! Thanks so much! :)
  • A late response, but hopefully still useful to someone ;-)

    Regarding the problem noted by fbennet. It looks as though your system is fine: Python 2.6 and the newest version of Zotero. Have you tried deleting the config file ~/.gnotero? Otherwise, please contact me and I'm sure we can figure it out.

    There are definitely still some bugs in there and some functionality which would be useful. Regarding the not finding of PDFs: It only opens pdfs which are stored as an attachment to an article/ book.

    Thanks for all the interest!
  • edited June 10, 2010
    What would this take to get it running on Windows? I don't care so much about having it in the Taskbar, but there are a few quicklaunch applications, especially one that I think of that can use python code, that I might be interested in working with.

    Also, how difficult would it be to allow CSL export of citation of the highlighted item in results_box to clipboard?

    I looked at implementing an c.execute(title_search) as well, but it looks a litte more difficult than I initially thought.


  • Also, how difficult would it be to allow CSL export of citation of the highlighted item in results_box to clipboard?
    Since Gnotero works by reading directly from Zotero's Sqlite database, it doesn't actually use the Zotero extension's code, so it doesn't have access to the CSL engine. There is a project to produce a CSL processor for Python (citeproc-py), but I don't know if that is mature enough to build off of.

    I did just notice that Gnotero displays results that are in the trash in Zotero -- maybe such results could be hidden, or denoted in some way? I'll look into it.
  • I have just put a new version of Gnotero online (version 0.30). This version contains a number of bugfixes (e.g., gnotero now ignores deleted entries from your Zotero library), new features (e.g., more intelligent searching capabilities) and even two entirely new programs: Gnoterobrowse (a standalone version of Gnotero, with slightly more features than the panel-applet) and Gnoteroconf (a graphical configuration tool).


    RE: ralesi

    I think it should be possible to get it running under Windows, but I have no idea how easy it will be. I have made crossplatform QT apps before, but Gnotero uses GTK (although GTK should be crossplatform as well). I may look into it if I find the time, because clearly a lot of people use Zotero under Windows.

    As ajlyon remarked, Gnotero reads directly from Zotero's database. So in order to get Gnotero to export nicely formatted references I cannot use Zotero's formatting capabilities, which makes it tricky.

    I hope the new version is useful and please let me know if there are any bugs (which I'm sure there are).
  • I tried this on my netbook with Linux... very nice and useful!

    What's about a Mac version? Shouldn't that be easier than a Windows version?
  • Again a minor update (0.30 => 0.31). I changed the way PDF metadata is extracted in Gnoterobrowse, which was a bit buggy.


    RE: Greg

    My guess is that, as you say, it shouldn't be exceedingly difficult to create a Mac-compatible version. If I try to create a Windows version I will probably (try to) make it completely platform-independent.
  • I just put a Windows version online with the new update of Gnotero :-)

    From my blog:

    Today is a big day for Gnotero! By public demand I have created a Windows version. It does not yet offer all the functionality of the Linux version, but it is a good start. I have tested it (somewhat) under Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, but not yet under other flavours of Windows.

    In addition, there are some nice additions to the Linux version as well. You can now enable a monochrome icon (, so Gnotero integrates nicely with the increasingly popular Ubuntu/ Elementary icons. Gnotero now also searches as-you-type and is able to search through more metadata. For a complete list of changes, please refer to the changelog.

    You can download Gnotero here:
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