Limiting size of Storage? (PDF files esp.?) Current & Future

My experience so far with Zotero is modest. I plan now to use it more extensively for more papers I want to write.

I am gathering bibliography mainly (not assembling source documents themselves in Zotero) and syncing between desktop and netbook and across Win Xp and Kubuntu Linux.
I use OpenOffice and write both DOC and ODT format papers with it.
My Zotero Library collections are modest in size, but I have started to use the PDF metadata feature to grab original citation info from Google Scholar.

I started checking the contents of my Storage folder in Firefox's Zotero subfolder.
I have in storage folders both web pages where I believe I took a snapshot and some PDF files that are duplicates of the ones I had originally saved to the Win XP desktop machine and guess I got them by the metadata lookup process though I am not certain.

I believe I have some options and am looking for suggestions since I don't really think I need to have the PDFs everywhere or indexed, nice as that would be, as I don't want the extra storage and duplication beyond what i had originally saved.

I read Forum posts on Storage and checked to see in Sync Preference whether I had left checked both the boxes for Sync attachment files via Zotero and Sync attachments for the group libraries. Yes, I have both checked.

I think ideally there ought to be some kind of matrix of options for storage to guide people, but as far as I know none exists. If there is I would like to know.

As an alternative, here are some questions:
1. Can I retain the bibliographic information and erase the stored extra PDFs?
2. Should I uncheck the Sync preferences for attachments? (I don't know of any group I am part of--that is unclear to me.)
3. Will unchecking still let me get the PDFs documented from metadata lookup while preventing the storage of duplicate PDF copies?
  • 1. yes
    2. if you're not member of a group that's irrelevant - to find out what groups are search the documentation
    3. I don't understand the question - please rephrase.
  • Thank you, adamsmith, for your comments.
    1. What is the best way to handle erasure of the PDFs?
    Simply erase the folder that contains them? Or will that break some links somewhere and confuse Zotero?
    2. I learned something about groups and searched for a topic. Some look that they could be useful for my work.
    3. I meant unchecking the Sync preference choices (to sync attachment files in my library using Zotero).
    I unchecked them and then got metadata for another PDF and got information for a web page without requesting a snapshot.
    I had expected there would be no PDF storage or new folder full of HTML data. Wrong. There is no difference in Zotero behavior. It automatically created new folders for both and propagated them to other machines I use.
    So I wonder if there is a way just to get the bibliographic data without accumulating the storage? I especially don't want it stored in the cloud on Zotero's servers. But I would also like a choice over whether--if I store it locally on one machine or OS--it gets propagated to others. (Currently for my modest library I am using more than 17% of my 100 MB allotment. I guess a lot of that is filled with PDF and HTML materials.)
  • 1. you can just delete the pdfs - if you then try to access it from within Zotero, Zotero will tell you that it's not there anymore. You can also delete it from within Zotero (right-click, delete item from library, then empty the trash) - that's probably the cleaner of the two methods.
    3. I'm not sure which preferences you unchecked and how you would "request" a snapshot:
    In the general tab of the preferences uncheck "automatically attach snapshot" and "automatically attach pdfs" - that way you should never get a pdf. If I remember correctly, whether you'll get a snapshot will depend on the individual translator. Those snapshots take up very little storage space and they are not synced if you have the "sync attachment files" options unchecked.
    Your storage quota counts only towards attachments you upload. The syncing of bibliographic data is independent of that, there is no limit and it doesn't affect you quota.
    You cannot decide for individual files/attachments if they will be uploaded or not - it's all or nothing for attachment uploads.
  • Thanks again.
    1. Here's what I will do:
    I will make a list of the websites and PDFs so after deleting them I can create bibliographic entries over again for them. There are a little over a dozen. I will see what happens on the other machines/OSes.
    Question: Why the need to empty the trash?
    3. In the General tab I have unchecked the snapshot and PDF attachments and unchecked the copying of child snapshots and attachments.
    Thanks for the clarification on the storage policies. Are the things you mentioned in a document (quota rules, what gets uploaded, etc., e.g., if I temporarily allow an attachment)?
  • A PDF reference question:
    1. The websites deletion followed by replacements cleaned out their storage folders and worked fine. The replacement entries work well.
    I think you meant the Trash collection in Zotero. I emptied it.

    But the PDF deletion was not followed by successful entering of the PDF docs back into the library as citations without being stored.
    I tried linking them, but then there was no opportunity to go to Google for bibliographic info, etc. Dragging and dropping got a newly stored item showing up in the Storage folder.

    What do you suggest for making citation entries for my collected PDFs and getting the details from Google for those that have been published?
  • Workaround Found:
    1. I think I have a workable solution to the PDF citation replacement problem at least for now. I can get them in and avoid duplication, especially across machines and OSes.

    I searched for an alternative to dragging and dropping PDFs.

    I look for DOI info embedded in them. Even if Zotero does not recognize it from dragging and dropping or linking, I can click on it in the PDF and go to the website and then have Zotero get the citation info from the website of the publisher.

    In one case I had a PDF file duplicated in Storage from dragging and dropping. I simply deleted the extra copy. (If I become reliant on Zotero for managing all PDFs I might do it the other way, delete my original copy from its folder...?)

    I would say I am a "coping camper," not a "happy camper," but better than my prior situation.
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