Standalone notes: year/date and creator

Currently standalone notes are a bit 'lost' in the Zotero conceptual universe. They have titles, but can have no creator or year or other bibliographic details. I my experience this easily leads to them being literally lost in the library. (I know they can be tagged and added to collections.)

Yet standalone notes often do have a clear date - and this is not necessarily the same as "Date Added", for I may be digitizing standalone notes from a paper notebook. And if multiple people share a Zotero library (something that definitely will happen in the future), they also have a clear author which may not be the same for all notes.

Would it be possible to make standalone notes act a little more like fully grown-up records in the library, by giving them the possibility to have a date and a creator?
  • edited September 26, 2008
    I wrote about this subject in this forum:

    It's related to why, how we can use note, what we put in note, wich is a very, very imprecise term: what does "note" really means???
    First, if notes are usually a short text, it could be much longer... I think more and more about notes as "text" about other ones. So, even it could be a fantaisist proposition and irrealistic, why not just think about "note" as a type of "item" related/attached to a "main item"? Useful for a brainstorming.

    The exemple a gave in the forum 2883 is interesting: I have to add to my bibliography the hundreds of reading notes, writing on piece of paper, that an author put in many of his 2 700 books he owned in his personnal library. His notes are between 2-3 words to 200-250 words! How I have to consider theses "text"?
    1) Just as normal Zotero note?
    2) Or as a real "Zotero item" type "unpublished manuscript" with a real author different than me?
    With 1, I will loose to many possibilies to describe it.
    With 2, I will be able to add tags, a comments/notes, author, date of writing, key words, add related to the book in its personnal library, etc.

    And, I need also to keep the page where I find the "writing note". As all of us, my author, Jacques Ferron, has 2 main types of notes:
    - quotations, that he used often after in his own works;
    - "personnal comments", from quick impressions to a draft of a future work.
    And, even more, these notes are about a very precise part of a specific page: I should be able copy/paste this extract to remember the source of the note.
    Both need to be connected to their sources to be understandable.

    I repeat, my project to add "his" reading notes (not mine) to Zotero force me to think differently about the status, the type and the content of "notes" in a bibliographic database. In a sense, Ferron and me, we are already a team using Zotero.

    All of this, to say that discussion about notetaking, tagging, should be at least as important that discussions about bibliographic styles... For me, more important, regarding the future. It's a field where Zotero could be very innovative and creative.

    The main and general question could be: how can we describe "writing notes" as bibliographic items?
    The response should be very useful to think how to develop notetaking in Zotero.

  • Luc, your issue is a slightly different one as the notes you're digitizing all clearly belong to a certain item in the bibliography. References to pages etc. can be taken care of in the current note-taking system. Tags and related items also work with Zotero notes. The problem of authorship remains; in the case you describe, it would be good to be able to date them and attribute them to an author.

    The issue I'm raising here specifically concerns standalone notes, i.e. notes which are by definition not a child of another item in the bibliography (presumably because they are not specifically about one bibliographic record).

    Perhaps however this points to a more general need for all notes, be they standalone or not, to be able to be assigned at least an author and a date.
  • Bonjour,

    There is little doubt in my mind that on occasion, a stand alone note should be able to be treated as a "publication". Under the present format one way this can be done is as a letter to the sender which is adequate, barely.

    Admittedly a personal commmunication is not commonly cited in modern academia, but within less elevated realms it may be encountered more often. With due consideration to authorship sometimes these may be considered quite valuable.

    In my opinion there is a place for this type of publication in Zoteros menu system.


  • So then, is the topic closed ?

    I suppose it is reasonable that if you added types like "" and "unpublished result" for Zotero users like field ecologists, and wildlife managers it might open the floodgates for any number of pursuits, you could easily end up with 100 or more different types.

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