Archive for the 'Features' Category

Scan Books into Zotero from Your iPhone or iPad

Zotero makes it easy to collect research materials with a single click as you browse the web, but what do you do when you want to add a real, physical book to your Zotero library?

If you have an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12, you can now save a book to Zotero just by scanning its barcode:

This feature takes advantage of the new Shortcuts functionality in iOS 12, which can chain together series of actions to perform tasks.

To get started, you’ll first need to install Apple’s Shortcuts app, if you don’t yet have it on your iPhone or iPad.

Next, install the Scan Book to Zotero shortcut by tapping on the link below from your iPhone or iPad and selecting Open in “Shortcuts”:

Download Shortcut

After the shortcut opens, tap Done to close it, and then tap on the “Scan Book to Zotero” rectangle. The first time you run it, you’ll need to select “Run Shortcut” and grant the shortcut access to the camera, and you’ll need to log into the Zotero website before you can save. (If you haven’t yet set up syncing with Zotero on your computer, you’ll want to do that as well so that items you save will sync to Zotero on your computer.)

Whenever you want to scan a book into Zotero, you can trigger the shortcut in a number of different ways:

  • You can open the Shortcuts app and select Scan Book to Zotero.
  • You can swipe right from the lock screen or home screen to open the Today View and select Scan Book to Zotero in the Shortcuts widget. If the Shortcuts widget doesn’t appear or doesn’t appear where you want it, you can add or move it via the Edit button at the bottom.
  • If you have an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, you can hard-press on the Shortcuts app icon and select Scan Book to Zotero from the widget popup.
  • You can say something like “Hey Siri, add this book to Zotero”. (Maybe don’t use this one in the library.) To set a phrase for Siri, open the Shortcuts app, tap the three dots in the Scan Book to Zotero rectangle, tap the settings icon in the top right, and then tap Add to Siri and assign a phrase. In our testing, we found Siri support to still be a bit buggy in the current version of Shortcuts, so if Siri doesn’t recognize your phrase, try editing the shortcut and re-recording the phrase or wait for an update from Apple.

Happy scanning!

P.S. If you don’t use an iPhone or iPad, or you can’t upgrade to iOS 12, you can still save a book from your phone when you’re away from your computer by entering the ISBN manually. Simply bookmark this page and load it whenever you need to add a physical book.

New Features for Chrome and Safari Connectors

We are excited to announce major improvements to the Zotero Connectors for Chrome and Safari.

Chrome

The Zotero Connector for Chrome now includes functionality that was previously available only in Zotero for Firefox.

Automatic Institutional Proxy Detection

Many institutions provide a way to access electronic resources while you are off-campus by signing in to a web-based proxy system. The Zotero Connector for Chrome makes this more convenient by automatically detecting your institutional proxy. Once you’ve accessed a site through the proxy, the connector will automatically redirect future requests to that site through the proxy (e.g., if you open a link to jstor.org, you’ll be automatically redirected to jstor.org.proxy.my-university.edu).

Notification bar at top of webpage: Zotero detected that you are accessing www.jstor.org through a proxy. Would you like to automatically redirect future requests to www.jstor.org through proxy.my-university.edu?

Proxy detection does not require manual configuration. You can disable or customize it from the connector preferences.

Style Installation and Automatic File Importing

Zotero for Firefox has long included support for installing citation styles and importing reference manager files such as BibTeX or RIS when opened in Firefox. This functionality is now supported by the Zotero Connector for Chrome.

Dialog box: Add citation style to Zotero?

Clicking on a link to a CSL file will display a prompt to install the style into Zotero. Clicking on a BibTeX or RIS file that is served correctly by the website will prompt to import its data into Zotero. If you choose ‘Cancel’, you can download the file normally.

Note that this feature requires Zotero 5.0.

Upgrading

If you have the latest version of Chrome installed, you should be automatically updated to version 5.0.5 or later of the Zotero Connector. If you’re not currently using Zotero with Chrome, you can install the extension from the downloads page. Make sure you’ve installed Zotero 5.0 as well for the best experience.

Safari

We’ve brought several features to Safari that were previously available only in Chrome and Firefox.

Streamlined Saving

Previously, on pages where Zotero could not detect any high-quality data, the Zotero save button was inactive, and you could save a basic webpage item and snapshot by right-clicking on the page and selecting “Save Page to Zotero”. In the latest version of the Zotero Connector for Safari, it’s possible to save any page to Zotero with the click of a button.

Tooltip when hovering over save button that says 'Save to Zotero (Web Page with Snapshot)'

When high-quality data is available, the button will show the same icon as before: book, newspaper, etc. On all other pages, you’ll see an empty page icon, and clicking on it will create a basic webpage item and snapshot in Zotero. Hovering over the icon will tell you which translator, if any, Zotero would use to save the page.

One-click PDF saving

You can also now save PDFs to Zotero with a single click.

Tooltip when hovering over save button that says 'Save to Zotero (PDF)'

Previously, saving a PDF to Zotero from Safari required dragging from the address bar into Zotero or saving the PDF to disk and adding it to Zotero manually. Now, when you’re viewing a PDF in Safari, simply click the toolbar button to save the PDF as a top-level attachment in Zotero, after which you can use “Retrieve Metadata from PDF” or “Create Parent Item” to create a full bibliographic item. Note that, when possible, it’s still preferable to save from a webpage with full metadata.

Secondary Translators

On some webpages, Zotero can save data using multiple translators, but up until now it hasn’t been possible to choose a secondary translator from Safari. You can now long-press the Zotero button to see additional options for saving from the current page, including saving as a regular webpage instead of using a translator.

Save button context menu with option to save to Zotero using COinS on Wikipedia page

Secondary translators may provide different data for the page itself or data for other sources referenced in the page (for example, cited references on Wikipedia, as in the example above).

Upgrading

You can get the new version of the Safari extension from the downloads page or by updating to 5.0.0 or later from the Extensions pane of the Safari preferences. Make sure you’ve installed Zotero 5.0 as well for the best experience.

Zotero 4.0.27: Streamlined saving, easier bibliography language selection, and more

Zotero 4.0.27, now available, brings some major new features, as well as many other improvements and bug fixes.

Streamlined saving (Zotero for Firefox)

In Zotero for Firefox, it’s now easier than ever to save items from webpages.

Zotero senses information on webpages through bits of code called site translators, which work with most library catalogs, popular websites such as Amazon and the New York Times, and many gated databases.

In the past, there have been two different ways of saving web sources to Zotero:

  • If Zotero detected a reference on a webpage, you could click an icon in the address bar — for example, a book icon on Amazon or a journal article icon on a publisher’s site — to save high-quality metadata for the reference to your Zotero library.
  • If a site wasn’t supported or a site translator wasn’t working, you could still save any webpage to your Zotero library by clicking the “Create Web Page Item from Current Page” button in the Zotero for Firefox toolbar or by right-clicking on the page background and choosing “Save Page to Zotero”. In such cases, you might need to fill in some details that Zotero couldn’t automatically detect.

In Zotero 4.0.27, we’ve combined the address bar icon and the “Create Web Page Item from Current Page” button into a single save button in the Firefox toolbar, next to the existing Z button for opening the Zotero pane.

Hovering over the new save button on a New York Times article
The new save button on a New York Times article

(Don’t be confused by the book icon in the address bar in the top left — that’s a new Firefox feature, unrelated to Zotero.)

You can click the new save button on any webpage to create an item in your Zotero library, and Zotero will automatically use the best available method for saving data. If a translator is available, you’ll get high-quality metadata; if not, you’ll get basic info such as title, access date, and URL, and you can edit the saved item to add additional information from the webpage. The icon will still update to show you what Zotero found on the page, and, as before, you can hover over it to see which translator, if any, will be used.

This also means that a single shortcut key — Cmd+Shift+S (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+S (Windows/Linux) by default — can be used to save from any webpage.

The new save button also features a drop-down menu for accessing additional functionality, such as choosing a non-default translator or looking up a reference in your local (physical) library without even saving it to Zotero.

Save menu with options for saving using JSTOR or DOI translator
Additional save options

(This functionality was previously available by right-clicking on the address bar icon, though if you knew that, you surely qualify for some sort of prize.) The new menu will be used for more functionality in the future, so stay tuned.

Prefer another layout? In addition to the new combined toolbar buttons, Zotero provides separate buttons for opening Zotero and saving sources that can be added using Firefox’s Customize mode.

Separate toolbar buttons
Custom button layout

With the separate buttons, you can hide one or the other button and rely on a keyboard shortcut, move the buttons into the larger Firefox menu panel, or even move the new save button between the address bar and search bar, close to its previous position. (Since the new save button works on every page, it no longer makes sense for it to be within the address bar itself, but by using the separate buttons you can essentially recreate the previous layout.)

While all the above changes apply only to Zotero for Firefox for now, similar changes will come to the Chrome and Safari connectors for Zotero Standalone users in a future version. For now, Zotero Standalone users can continue to use the address bar (Chrome) or toolbar (Safari) icon to save recognized webpages and right-click (control-click on Macs) on the page background and choose “Save Page to Zotero” to save basic info for any other page.

Easier bibliography language selection

Making Zotero accessible to users around the world has always been a priority. Thanks to a global community of volunteers in the Zotero and Citation Style Language (CSL) projects, you can use the Zotero interface and also generate citations in dozens of different languages.

Now, thanks to community developers Rintze Zelle and Aurimas Vinckevicius, it’s much easier to switch between different languages when generating citations.

Previously, Zotero would automatically use the language of the Zotero user interface — generally the language of either Firefox or the operating system — when generating citations. While you’ve always been able to generate citations using a different language, doing so required changing a hidden preference.

You can now set the bibliography language at the same time you choose a citation style, whether you’re using Quick Copy, Create Bibliography from Selected Items, or the word processor plugins.

Selecting 'Français (France)' for the bibliography language
Choosing a bibliography language for Quick Copy

In the above example, even though the user interface is in English, the default Quick Copy language is being set to French. If an item is then dragged from Zotero into a text field, the resulting citation will be in French, using French terms instead of English ones (e.g., “édité par” instead of “edited by”).

The new language selector is even more powerful when using the word processor plugins. The bibliography language chosen for a document is stored in the document preferences, allowing you to use different languages in different documents — say, U.S. English for a document you’re submitting to an American journal and Japanese for a paper for a conference in Japan.

Note that, of the thousands of CSL styles that Zotero supports, not all can be localized. If a journal or style guide calls for a specific language, the language drop-down will be disabled and citations will always be generated using the required language. For example, selecting the Nature style will cause Zotero to use the “English (UK)” locale in all cases, as is required by Nature’s style guide.

Other changes

Zotero now offers an “Export Library…” option for group libraries, allowing the full collection hierarchy to be easily exported. If you find yourself facing many sync conflicts, you can now choose to resolve all conflicts with changes from one side or the other. For Zotero Standalone users, we’ve improved support for saving attachments from Chrome and Safari on many sites, bringing site compatibility closer to that of Zotero for Firefox. And we’ve resolved various issues that were preventing complete syncs for some people.

There’s too much else to discuss here, but see the changelog for the full list of changes.

Get it now

If you’re already using Zotero, your copy of Zotero should update to the new version automatically, or you can update manually from the Firefox Add-ons pane or by selecting the “Check for Updates” menu option in Zotero Standalone. If you’re not yet using Zotero, try it out today.

Zotero Apps Go Mobile

Over the past few weeks, a spate of paid and free Android and iPhone apps have appeared that extend and enrich the Zotero research ecosystem. Here are four of the most exciting mobile applications now available:

Zandy

Zandy 1 Zandy 2
Zandy is well on its way to being the first full-featured mobile Zotero application for Android devices. Users can currently edit and view their Zotero libraries, add new items, and work offline. Future releases promise even more functionality.

Scanner for Zotero

Scanner for Zotero 1 Scanner for Zotero 2
Scanner for Zotero lets you add books to your Zotero library from anywhere, with no need to have Zotero installed anywhere. Simply scan a book’s ISBN barcode with your Android phone, and the software will add the book to your Zotero library directly on our servers.

BibUp

BibUp 1 BibUp 2
BibUp allows iPhone users to add books to their Zotero libraries much like Scanner for Zotero, and it also provides the additional functionality of photographing specific pages to be collected, on which BibUp will even perform OCR.

ZotFile

ZotFile
ZotFile Reader eases the transfer of Zotero-based PDFs to and from mobile readers like Android devices and the iPad. It builds on the success of the original ZotFile extension, which significantly enhances Zotero’s built-in PDF management by automating the attachment of PDFs to Zotero items, and the renaming of those files according to user-configurable rules. The latest beta version of ZotFile combines all of this functionality into a single extension.

As amazing as these projects are, the traffic on the Zotero developers mailing list suggests that we can expect even more exciting developments in the near future!