Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zotero Sync Preview Available!

Dan Cohen has announced on his blog the release of Zotero 1.5 with Sync Preview. This is really welcome news. What it means is that you can now use the Zotero servers to keep your Zotero bibliographies synchronized with multiple computers. Here is the Zotero announcement which highlights the following:

We are excited to announce the launch of Zotero 1.5 Sync Preview, which introduces a powerful slate of new features, including:

  • Automatic synchronization of collections among multiple computers. For example, sync your PC at work with your Mac laptop and your Linux desktop at home.
  • Free automatic backup of your library data on Zotero’s servers.
  • Support for thousands of existing Endnote® export styles. While the CSL styles utilized by Zotero are a much more robust and powerful long-term solution for styling references, we are happy to offer users the ability to use Endnote styles where there are currently no available CSLs.
  • A new style manager allowing you to add and delete CSLs and legacy style formats.
  • Preliminary support for local sharing of collections through ZeroConf on OS X. Other platforms and full support to come with the final release of Zotero 1.5.
Some things to note:
  • You must be using Firefox 3. Part of the reason for the Zotero delay was waiting for Firefox 3.
  • This is an initial preview version with some known issues. Be sure to follow the directions on the Zotero page for backing up your Zotero data before installing this version. (Note:
    they basically want you to create a new Firefox profile for testing purposes. If you know what you are doing and are willing to take a little risk, you can simply backup your Zotero data. If you should run into a problem, you would need to restore the sqlite file and the folders & data in the storage subdirectory.)
  • Note that are still a few limitations and known issues, most notably, annotations, highlights, snapshots, and file links are not synced. To keep annotations and such synced, they recommend that you continue to use a file synchronization tool.
  • You do have to set up a Zotero account. It's free.
  • What basically happens is that with Zotero running, click on the little 'gear' icon and select Preferences. You will see a new Sync tab, and here you enter your Zotero user/password.
  • You will repeat the process on a second computer. Note that syncing occurs automatically, but if you want to force a sync, look for the little green 'sync' button on the top right of the Zotero bar.
I have given it a spin, and I can report that it works great!

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