Keep synced with Zotero

I am a long-time Zotero user but am increasingly using Google Docs. Paperpile is great for that, but it’s not yet as sophisticated as Zotero for many things. So I’d like to use both and keep them synced. If that’s not possible, I’d like to be able to import new items periodically to Paperpile fro Zotero. Is either of those feasible?

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I’m afraid that’s not possible. We offer a migration tool which allows you to transfer your data to Paperpile once. Anything beyond that would take up too many resources and we rather focus on improving our product than syncing with third party products (which is hard).

Can you list the things that are missing from Paperpile? I’m curious because we do not get often complaints about missing features from Zotero users.

I’m not a Zotero expert by any means but when I was trying to find an easy way of getting the attributes from a subset of papers from Paperpile into a spreadsheet for analysis, the most straightforward solution I found was to export the selected papers to RIS from Paperpile, import that file into Zotero and then Export to CSV from Zotero. It was long winded, but it did ‘just work’.

The other thing I’ve gathered about Zotero, but not yet tried myself so can’t comment on how well it works (or not), is the way it can allegedly be used with Scrivener for referencing. I am a big fan of Google Docs for lots of things, but I’m finding that Scrivener is brilliant for bigger projects. At the moment I’m putting in a note of the reference where I want it to be, then when the Scrivener file is compiled into Google Docs, I then have to go through the whole document entering them again from Paperpile to generate then correctly. So if you could find a way of adding a way for Paperpile to play nicely with Scrivener that would also be really useful.

Another idea I really liked and that I would love to see in Paperpile at some point came from Qiqqa, which I have also played with briefly recently. I cant remember what it was called, something like Brainstorm or Expedition possibly, but it basically had a go at identifying themes and tags from a collection of papers and showing possible new links between them in a mind map type of way. I have no idea how feasible it would be to add these features, but you did ask…

Thanks so much, that’s very helpful.

  • CSV: Since (a) that comes up once in a while, (b) is a basic feature that improves interoperability with the rest of the world and © is relatively easy to implememt we will fasttrack and it should appear in an upcoming release. For now there is a workaround: Export to spreadsheet

  • Scrivener. Also this has been discussed on the forum (Support for Scrivener or the like?). We are finishing up our first beta of our Word plugin. That will give us the technical foundation to implement such integrations in the not so distant future. Basically it would work by inserting citation codes and you can then generate the final document using our Word plugin.

  • Mindmap, brainstrom etc. We don’t have any plans to go into that direction. It’s too far off our main goal to streamline reference management.

With the latest update of Paperpile, you can now export your references to CSV:

I’d second this request. I use PaperPile but the lack of integrations with obsidian are a big driver for me to move to Zotero.

Right now, the two offerings have pros and deficiencies that are mutually exclusive:

  • PP has a great mobile app and great google docs and desktop Chrome extension but I’m increasingly working from my phone as mobile tech makes this more feasible and I’m not at my computer 24/7
  • Zotero lacks the above, but has many integration options for Obsidian and other products.

I’d rather not move from PP, but Obsidian has rapidly become my note taking tool of choice, markdown and community integrations, plus AI make it indispensable.

I’m sure 3rd party developers would love to be able to build extensions and plugins for paperpile if you published an API… you don’t have to build everything in house to have a great ecosystem grow around you.