"Note" and "Related" in Zotero
I wrote this post in 28 April 2016. Revised and reposted here. It describes how I use the "Note" and "Related" functions in Zotero. Apologies for the low quality GIFs.
Books and Their Reviews
During the pre-ABD period, I needed to write a lot of book reviews as assignments. To learn how to write a good book review, I used Zotero to collect book reviews written by scholars in the same field. Since one book may have several reviews, grouping them can increase efficiency. When I search for a book, I can quickly jump back and forth between the book and its review.
You can built relationships between books or articles that respond to each other by using the "related" functions. For example, you can create a "child note" under the parent item called "those agree with X's argument in (article or book title)", then add all the works that fit this criterion as "related" items to this child note.
A Workaround for the Multi-language Publications
Many authors in my Zotero have publications in multi-language. For example, Professor Ronnie Hsia’s publications are in English and Chinese (and other languages). If I want to find out all Hsia’s publications in my Zotero, I have to search at least two times, once in Ronnie Hsia and once in 夏伯嘉. Here is my solution. I made a document item titled “Ronnie Hsia 夏伯嘉”.
I added a child note under this document called “Book”, then related Hsia’s English monographs to it.
I added another child note called “書” (the Chinese character of book). This time I related his Chinese monographs to the note.
As a result, I can find out all his publications in one spot. You can even use "related" and "note" functions to map academic relationships. For example, each author in the database has a document item to group all their publications. Scholar B has a lot of students. You can add a child note called "Scholar B's student" under her document item, and related all her students' document items to this child note.
I hope these two cases can give you some ideas on using the "Note" and "Related" functions in Zotero. Making good use of them can turn your Zotero database into an excellent knowledge management system.