Nascent attempt at using Foam to curate and leverage a personal memex

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Integrating Zotero into Foam

post_title='Integrating Zotero into Foam'

The next stage in setting up (Memex)[] (previous step) is to figure out if and how I can integrate (Zotero)[]. Zotero is how I manage citations (mostly) to the academic literature. It’s a bit part of how I seek information (browser plugin to save stuff I come across), make sense of it (highlights and notes), and share (managing references for publications).

Integration with Memex is intended to

  1. Improve sense-making by transforming highlights and quick notes into more independent notes.
  2. Improve the sharing of information by making more of this process transparent and public.

In terms of the second aim, I’m wondering if it’s possible to integrate/replicate my Zotero library into Memex. Perhaps with networked wiki-link style connections to the refined notes.

summary here

Next steps might include

  1. Improving the look and feel of memex.
  2. ??

What needs to happen

Necessary steps to the stated goals seem to include:

But first, build errors

There were times when github-pages was failing to build memex - Page build failed. Something in the naming or content of the markdown files wasn’t playing nice. The issue is that github-pages doesn’t provide any indication of where the problem is happening.

The solution is to test the github pages locally with Jekylly. For some reason, this took me quite some time to set up. In the end, the process was

Together this quickly identified the two problems

  1. A filename that included a colon.
  2. A note that included some text using a Liquid syntax, left over from Wikity.

Problem fixed.

Removing duplicates from my Zotero library

Zotero has duplicate detection which supports merging duplicates. It’s a slow process. Largely done.

Merging my two distinct libraries

Due to a work change, I’m commonly using two computers: Linux (personal) and Windows (work). I keep Zotero on both but I’ve been lazy. They are separate repositories. Semi-sync’d by Zotero but I’ve exceeded the space limits (without paying) for files.

Time to see if there’s an alternative.

WebDAV is known to work. ut the known WebDAV providers are a bit limited.

Another, more likely alternative, uses linked files, the ZotFile plugin, and some Cloud drive service (e.g. Google Drive).

My free Google drive currently provides 15Gb of space. Currently Zotero is storing 3.7Gb of PDFs.

ZotFile also provides the capability to extract highlights and annotations from PDFs into notes in Zotero. Potentially useful for later steps here.

Time to follow this tutorial for setting up Zotero with cloud storage and ZotFile.

  1. Select your cloud storage service and set up the sync Google drive it is and this post outlines some options for sync’ing Google Drive with Linux (I’ll also need to do this with Windows). The Gnome Online Account feature works nicely, but has a crap path to Google drive. Try Ocamlfuse instead.
  2. Install ZotFile and let it do it’s work…

Configure on windows

COnfigure again on iPhone

Extracting data from Zotero

Pyzotero is an API client for the Zotero API

From the basics I’ll need a API key and my userid. Save those to the memex.toml file.

The API uses “paths” to access data start with /users/<userId> and then add

The simple PyZotero test works. So what from Zotero would be nice to have in Memex?

The plan is that these are automatically updated via Python scripts that are run periodically. I just keep using Zotero for various tasks and it get integrated into memex.

Publications page

The publications page on memex is now being built using a Python script that

Extracting notes from Zotero

Extracting highlights/notes from PDFs

Integrating into my PKM process