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Zotero workshop

6.1 Files naming rules

Let us assume you work in a team of researchers who share the product of their research on a server. You are asked to upload references and related documents from your Zotero library to this server but it is recommended that you rename the files so that you can classify them separately and find them easily.

Here are the naming conventions that you are asked to respect:

1. The name must not contain any spaces or special characters.
2. Are used:

 The Capital letters
 The lowercase letters
 hyphens (-)
 underscores (_)
 the point.
3. A capital letter for the initial of each Author's last and first name
4. pdf (abbreviation for filetype) in lowercase
5. This name includes the names of the authors and the year of publication. No title because it's too heavy.

Only one author's name:
Two authors' names:
Three or more names:
Double names :

6.2 Zotfile : the tool that allows you to rename PDF files

Zotfile version 5
    To install it click the link above and then right-click the package name "zotfile-", in the menu select "save the link as" and save the link on your desktop.

Open Zotero, click Tools > add-ons and select "install add-on from file" (load the .xpi file from your desktop)

Afterwards, you shoud see the zotfile Preferences menu in your Zotero dashboard

To display it:

In the "tools" menu click on "Zotfile Preferences".

The rename rules tab will be relevant for the present exercise

Read carefully the information provided in this window and set Zotfile so that the renaming rules respect the laboratory's instructions (see required naming conventions above)
Test this setting by renaming PDF files:

Right-click on the name of one of the PDFs. Select the "Manage attachments" option at the bottom of the right-click menu, then "rename attachments". If the result does not conform to the desired model. Change the parameters of the Zotfile renaming rules again.

Note that the option "rename files from parent metadata", will include the title of the article in the file name, which is not desired in the case we are studying here.

Be aware that some hidden preferences in Zotero may overwrite batch renaming of PDF by zotfile.

(From Zotero Support  : )

In some cases, you may have to reconfigure these preferences to obtain the desired result. For that purpose go to the Advanced pane of the Zotero preferences and click “Config Editor”. Enter “zotero” into the Filter field at the top of the list that comes up, select AttachmentRenameFormatString and reset these preferences as needed.


6.3 How to deal with the limit of 300MB storage with Zotfile

A popular feature of Zotfile allows you to define a different directory than the default one for storing PDF.

If you have a USB stick, you can try it out and specify in Zotfile's preferences the path to this USB stick

It may be useful to define a path to a remote server (for example, the path to your laboratory's server. This will work provided you keep direct access to this server : you will not direct access from Zotero when you will work at home) This can help you to save space on your computer or in your 300MB free storage on Zotero servers.

Assume that you own a repository in Dropbox (or whatever cloud storage service).

First, you need to define in Zotero preferences the path to this repository (see below)


Then, you need to do the same, this time in Zotfile prefs :


Now you are done. Every time you collect a reference, the attached files (notes, PDFs, etc.) will be stored in the Dropbox folder you have defined.

this setting is summarized in the sketchnote below (third column)