We're in the process of updating the documentation for Zotero 5.0. Some documentation may be outdated in the meantime. Thanks for your understanding.
Zotero Client Data Model
Each bibliographic record in Zotero has an “item type” (book, journal article, thesis…), a set of fields (author, title, date…), and field values. The selection of fields depends on the item; for instance, a thesis has a “university” field which other items do not have.
Item types and fields are defined in system.sql and translated in zotero.properties. In theory you can change and add item types and fields, but this may make your installation of Zotero incompatible with other users and future releases—import routines and citation formats may not work anymore. If you need to add additional information to your records, you should use the “extra” field that is available for all item types. Zotero can be used in many languages, but you should always refer to item types and fields with their internal name as defined in
system.sql and used in
In addition to the basic item types and fields, each item can have associated user data as defined in userdata.sql. This includes:
- a set of notes
- a set of attachments
- a set of tags
- a set of links to related items
Attachments (PDFs, snapshots, etc.) are stored inside the Zotero data directory, in separate subdirectories named after the ID of the item they belong to.
For a comprehensive list of the internal names of fields, their English equivalents, and their CSL mappings, if applicable, see the CSL/Zotero Metadata Field Index. Similar mappings, and the creator roles available for each item type, can be retrieved from the Zotero server API.