Zettelkasten Forum

Zotero as Zettelkasten?

Has anyone tried to use Zotero as a Zettelkasten with no other software, keeping notes either as Zotero notes or as plain-text file attachments to items? I've been keeping my regular notes in Zotero with various links and tags before I discovered the concept of Zettelkasten. I'm tempted to try doing the whole thing in Zotero, but I'm concerned that the thousands of notes that would result (rather than my current practice of one note per source/item) could create problems.


  • I've used the exact same method but very soon abandoned it. That was my experience plus I didn't want to lock in it (while Zotero is open source and more future proof than something like Mendeley). tl;dr, I tried just markdown notes using vim and Zotereo was just for my paper repo (using zotfiles I even export those papers to a simple folder).

  • Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry but I didn't understand it. You are saying you tried to use Zotero as a Zettelkasten but abandoned it because it was too hard dealing with so many notes in Zotero? Why were you worried about getting locked in if Zotero can store notes as .txt attachments?

    You decided to use plaintext notes and just use Zotero for storing papers and references? If so, how are you organizing links between your markdown notes?

  • edited February 2020

    Yes. but I just used notes (without knowing what zk is).

    Why I'm worried about locked in? it's not about just future proofing or capability to export (No need to say Zotero is open source and hence kind of future proof). But as I used it, I came to realize (at least fits my workflow) that having transparent and simple folder/file/plaintext is the best. So since I kind of adapt the plain text style then zotero and other apps become less relevant (BTW I use linux, so this was very natural direction).

    I still use Zotero to capture and organize the papers but I've zotfile plugin which export the pdf to my paper directory. Within my notes I easily link them by markdown style link if I like. Having vim and markdown and Linux terminal certainly helps this workflow.

  • I had papers exported (by zotfile) to a directory. Then linking the papers within my notes was an easy thing.

    Regarding the zotero, as I get more ease with my Linux setup (terminal, vim, etc) I realized how good the simple folder/palin_text file is specially when your repository grows in scale.

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