Minimal Zotero Zettelkasten Workflow?


New to Obsidian and Zettelkasten method and need some advice on how/whether to integrate Zotero

My goal is to ultimately write literary essays.
At this time I
a) Read, highlight and annotate books in pdf and Kindle format on a Kindle, and import to Readwise
b) Read, highlight and annotate essays and articles in Readwise Reader
c) Import these highlights and annotations into Obsidian, and treat them as Bibliographic Notes. The Bibliographic note has the source written in APA format in the metadata.
d) I then create one note from each “idea” I think is important in my bibliographic note (reformulating and/or responding to the source.
e) I then link this new note back to the Bibliographic note it came from and note the page number (if its a pdf). For example “[[Foucault-84]] (pg 72) writes that a disciplinary society is…” I also link it other relevant notes.
d) I plan to write by following the links in my Obsidian Zettelkasten, assembling the different ideas into an essay.

My question is could I enhance the way I am tracking sources using Zotero, and if so, how? I have no desire to do my highlighting and annotating in Zotero itself (because it only supports pdfs, and doesn’t have a native android app, for now I will keep using Readwise Reader). All the methods I have seen so far assume that you are highlighting in Zotero.

Is there a way to use Zotero to track sources and then get an automated bibliography when I have finished my essay?

Thank you!

I have one Obsidian note by Zotero bibliography item. I use the Zotero Integration plugin to automatically create the Obsidian note for a specific bibliography item. I use the Biblatex extension in Zotero to automatically create Citation keys for each work, which I keep consistent between Zotero and Obsidian.

To create the bibliography automatically when your essay is done, I can’t think of anything fully automatic. The closest I can think of is this:

  • Store all you bibliography notes in a directory (or mark them with a tag)
  • When you essay is done, perform a search for that directory or that tag within that essay. For instance, you could search for the string [[Litterature/ which would make a list of all the litterature notes you have in your essay.

As an alternative, something might be possible with a Dataview query, especially since you store the APA reference in the note metadata. But I’m not sure how to formulate that query.

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Thanks David. Great ideas.

Any reason you prefer the Zotero Integration plugin over Citation?

Sorry for the late reply.

From my notes:

  • Could not access formatted citation when importing documents
  • Need to export the zotero database to file myself which feels less robust


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