Zotero as Zettelkasten?
Hi, I am a Zotero user of many years and once I came across Zettlr I realize that I have been using Zotero as a Zettelkasten of sorts without being familiar with that term or concept. I like Zettlr and would like to switch to keeping my notes in it, primarily to have a future-proof notes storage system, and to keep my Zotero database more manageable by removing the many notes there. But my current system seems to have a lot of advantages over Zettlr's current functionality. Can the developer tell me whether they considered doing the Zettelkasten in Zotero and if they did, why they rejected the idea?
I am also hoping people can comment on my existing workflow and some of the advantages I currently see for Zotero so I can see if these are not really advantages, if Zettlr has advantages I don't see, or if there are other considerations. This isn't an attack on Zettlr, of course - I'd like to move to it if possible.
Zotero is able to do many things required by a Zettelkasten:
- store notes either as Zotero notes (integrated into the main database and editable using a SimpleHTML interface window) OR as plain-text files as attachments to Zotero items (which is what I do, and I edit them in markdown in Notepad++)
- each attached notes file is given a unique identifier, is full-text indexed for search, can be "related" (strong-linked) to any other items, can be tagged with many tags (weak links), and can have additional notes added to them as metadata (easily visible in the Zotero window)
Zotero's apparent advantages:
- most importantly for me, customizable full keyboard navigation. The design of Zettlr strongly suggests to me that the developer is not a heavy keyboard shortcut user, which is a shame because I cannot tell you how much of a timesaver it is, especially when doing tons of repetitive actions as you do in research. With keyboard shortcuts I can instantly highlight the library, tags, or item windows without having to tab through a lot of selections or use the mouse.
- notes are attached to their bibliographic items, so if I'm looking for a note or idea, I can use methods other than searching for a known tag, such as sorting by date added, author, item type (book/article), etc.
- notes can be grouped not just by tags, but also folders (categories), sub-folders, and saved searches (so I can have a folder showing all notes tagged "emotion" based on articles (not books) created in the last 30 days)
- the tag system is much more robust
- can assign 9 tags unique colors and hotkeys for quick use
- can see all tags or just tags used by the items in a category/folder
- can visually scan all tags in the resizeable tag window faster than you can scroll through a list
One other advantage of full keyboard navigation is that it allows me to write AutoHotKey scripts to perform more complex repetitive tasks, such as creating a notes file for a source, with one keyboard shortcut that does this:
1. Attach a plain-text file that is a notes template including lines for tags, links, etc.
2. Copy/paste the full citation of the item AND a direct link to that item in Zotero (using the zotero// URL scheme) at the top of the note
3. Close that notes file
4. Rename the attachment in Zotero with the author's name and date
There are other advantages, but I'll stop there for the time being.
Not having used Zettlr much, the advantages seem to be in these categories:
- less resource-intensive, more lightweight, with faster (but less robust) search
- advantages in editing notes: Markdown style rendered on-the-fly, foldable headings, Table of contents selector
Thanks for any response.