Markdown notes from Zotero
Getting Markdown notes for items stored in Zotero.
I keep a 'zettelkasten' or 'second brain' of sorts (although without adhering to any particular system), consisting of Markdown files. I use VSCode and Foam to manage this, which for the basic level of functionality I need seems roughly equivalent to using Obsidian. (In fact I use that sometimes, on the same set of notes - I can switch between between Obsidian, VSCode+Foam, or just editing in Vim, depending on what I want to do. The notes are plain Markdown and are stored in a Git repository, so I'm not tied to any particular tool.)
In trying to get as much of the information that I store as possible into Markdown, I recently started to use Zotero to manage bibliographies and reading lists, primarily because there are add-ons for it that allow Zotero records to be exported as Markdown.
They key one is Mdnotes.
Installation / configuration
To install any Zotero add-on, the add-on needs to be downloaded as an
file. Then it can be added via the
Install Add-on From File... menu.
Two dependencies are required:
Once these have been added, add Mdnotes itself in the same way, then restart Zotero.
Tools menu, selecting the new
Mdnotes preferences item allows
the add-on's behaviour to be configured. I set the
File organization option
Single file, which enables the
Create full export note function. This
exports the item's metadata, and any Zotero notes that are associated with it,
as a single file. I set the
Export directory to a location inside my Foam
project. Under the
File names tab, I set the suffix to
-mdnote for the
Mdnotes type, which is what seems to be created by the
Create full export
note option. Lastly, I set up the note template files as described
and store them in the same directory as the exported Markdown, so they're
under version control inside my notes repository.
That's all a bit of a faff, but once done, right-clicking on an item in Zotero
Create full export note adds a Markdown file in my Foam project
with all the metadata for the item, with appropriate tags and Wiki links, and
including any notes I made in Zotero about the item. I add a Zotero record, and
export it to a Markdown note in this way, for everything I read online.