Scientific literature: Manage & Read Everywhere

Multiple tools exist for managing and reading scientific publications with open source and standards in mind; only Zotero, JabRef and others remain.

Manage and read everywhere related to PC/Tablet/Phone, but for an easy solution with Zotero, you need a paid subscription if you exceed 300MB of online storage, which I do.

Solution requirements

Solution setup

  1. Create a folder in your cloud storage with the name “zotero“.
  2. Open Zotero, go to settings and open the “sync” tap.
  3. Link your Zotero account in the “Data Syncing” section.
  4. In “File Syncing” enable the “Sync attachment files in My Library using …” and switch from Zotero to WebDav.
  5. Now fill in the connection information to the created folder in your cloud storage with WebDav support and check if it works by clicking “Verify Server“.
    1. Point to the parent folder of the prepared folder. This one will be added by added automatically.
  6. Close the settings window, click the sync button in the top right corner, and wait until your library is synchronized.

With those steps, your main library will use the Zotero storage to store the references and meta-data, but the attachments, such as PDFs, will be held in your cloud storage. This results in no storage usage if running with a free Zotero account subscription.

Linking Zotero on IPad

Reading publications on the IPad was one of the requirements for me to optimize my way of reading and reviewing publications. With the setup from above, we can connect the “Zotero on IPad” app to a Zotero account and the WebDav cloud storage for hosting the attachments.

  1. Open settings in the Zotero app and go to “Account“.
  2. Sign in to your Zotero online account.
  3. In the section “File Sync” switch again to WebDav as a sync method.
  4. Apply the same connection information as in the desktop application.
    1. Point to the parent folder of the prepared folder. This one will be added by added automatically.

With that, wait until all are synchronized, and you can manage, read, edit and mark the content in your library from your notebook, tablet and phone.