- Zotero #1 of 3: Setting up Zotero & Zotfile
- Zotero #2 of 3: Moving from Mendeley & Setting up Zotpad
- Zotero #3 of 3: Tips Using & Organizing Zotero
I've wanted to write this post for awhile. Although I had written another post about using Zotero, it was more directed at getting Zotpad configured correctly so I always felt that I hadn't fully laid out exactly how everything should be set up...and I definitely hadn't laid out how to sync Zotero across more than one computer...so this post was born- a step-by-step to last step tutorial.
Like most people, I have to recommend that the easiest way to keep everything synchronized is probably Zotero's own storage/sync options.
|2 GB||$20/year (equal to $1.67 per month)|
|6 GB||$60/year (equal to $5 per month)|
|Unlimited||$120/year (equal to $10 per month)|
However, there might be reasons that you don't want to go with Zotero's storage options- cost, etc. I personally like using Dropbox so that I can have access to files on any platform. I've even considered using Google Drive instead of Dropbox to store my PDFs, but In the end, I went with Dropbox because I felt that there was some better integration between iPad fand Dropbox. That being said, I imagine the following setup should work well with Google Drive as well.
I. Install Zotero and Zotfile
- Begin by downloading Zotero.
- Next, download the Zotfile extension- it's an xpi file. At this point, you may wonder why you need Zotfile. The answer is that Zotfile helps you with moving and renaming files. While Zotero does a great job extracting metadata from a pdf and even renaming files, it's not as good as Zotfile at moving a file to a specific place (in this setup, the pdfs will be actually stored in a folder in Dropbox)
- Install Zotero.
- Let it install in the default place where all programs install.
II. Prep for Configuring Zotero Preferences
Before we mess with the Preferences, we need to do some prep. Create the following three folders (only first two if you want to have Zotero use the default place):
- Folder #1: a folder where all your pdfs will be stored (I put mine in Dropbox and named it Articles-Zotero)
- Folder #2: a Zotero watch folder (I put mine in Dropbox and named it Articles-2Zotero- so I know that these are new pdfs that need to go to Zotero)
- Folder #3: folder where you want Zotero database stored (I put mine in My Documents folder and named it Zotero database)
III. Configuring Zotero with articles stored on DropboxThe prep done, we're ready to configure Zotero and Zotfile's preferences. What you're actually doing in this setup is using Zotero cloud to keep the SQL database structure (including file links) intact while pulling all your PDFs from Dropbox.
- Begin by opening Zotero and clicking on Preferences
- Then click the Advance tab to select where you want to store the Zotero database and the actual pdfs.
- The Linked Attachment Base Directory is where your PDFs should go- in my case folder #1 that I created and named Articles-Zotero.
- If you do NOT want move the Data Directory (Zotero's SQL database), skip the next step.
- The Data Directory the actual SQLite Zotero Database. This should NOT be placed in Dropbox. By default, Zotero puts this folder in the user's profile directory. I like to put it somewhere where it's easier for me to find, but you don't neccesarily have to do this. In my case, I like to put it in Folder #3 that I named "Zotero database" in My Documents.
- Click "Show data directory" to see Zotero's default location (you will need this later). When you change the location of the Data Directory, you will get a warning message that the Zotero database must be moved to the new location and Zotero will need to close and restart for changes to take effect. If you want to leave this in the default location skip this and go to the next step.
IV. Configuring Zotfile preferences
- Go to Zotfile Preferences
- Choose a Source Folder for Attaching New Files. In my case, it was Folder #2 that I named "Articles-2Zotero"
- Location of Files should be the folder you created to hold the PDFs- in my case Folder #1 (note that this is the same as the "Linked Attachment Base Directory" from the Zotero's preferences)
- Now click on Renaming Rules
- Choose how you want your readings. Make sure you remember this, you'll need it when you set up Zotpad on ipad.
Syncing Across Computers
- Click ok.
Now that you're all set up on one computer. Repeat these steps on each computer you want to sync. The SQL database will be kept in sync using Zotero's online server and all the linked PDFs should be synced across the computers using Dropbox.
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