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Example HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for searching for items within a public Zotero user or group library

See the Repo

Live demos:


To help users discover your publications, you can add them to an online database like Zotero and then present a search interface to that database on your website. Modules for doing so have been written for WordPress and Drupal, but I hadn't seen one for static HTML sites, so I wrote this example to test how feasible a static HTML Zotero client would be to implement.


Open the zotero.html file in your browser and enter a search term like coastal. Click the search button and see results as formatted by Zotero to the page.

You can click Search with no terms specified to show the entire catalog, which is the default behavior when you load the page.

Zotero limits the number of results returned in a single request, so the page supports pagination to get additional results.

To use this for your own project, you will need a free Zotero account into which you include your publications, and obviously you'll need to adapt the HTML, CSS, etc., for your particular website.


The code finds elements via their HTML id attribute values, so in general you'll want to start with one of the example HTML documents and adapt it to your needs.

To change parameters such as how many search results to show at a time, see the ZOTERO_CONFIG variable in zotero.js. See comments in the code for a brief explanation and example values, or the text below for additional details. I recommend setting your parameters in your HTML file. That way, you can overwrite zotero.js when enhancements are made to this repository, without having to edit the parameters in zotero.js for your usage. For example, just before the closing </body> tag in your HTML, add a script tag like this one:

   ZOTERO_CONFIG["zotId"] = "2055673";
   ZOTERO_CONFIG["collectionKey"] = "";
   ZOTERO_CONFIG["filterTags"] = "&tag=LTER-BLE";

What To Search

You can search a user library, a group, or a collection within a user library or group.

  • zotId - The user or group identifier. You can find your group identifier by browsing to your group page and copying the number in the URL. To find your user identifier, click Settings, and then click Feeds/API.
  • zotIdType - Indicates whether zotId is for a group or a user.
  • collectionKey - Supply a value for this if you want to limit search to a particular collection. Otherwise leave it as an empty string, "". You can find your collection identifier by browsing to the collection's page and copying the collection key from the URL.
  • filterTags - Use this to restrict results to items matching this tag filter, or leave the value as an emptry string, "", if no tag filtering is desired. Since the Zotero API supports several ways of writing a tag filter, the entire tag parameter including the preceeding ampersand is required for this value, as in &tag=FeaturedArticle. See the API documentation for examples.

Results Table

Results are displayed in a table with up to four columns: Year, Citation, Item Type, and a special column (we'll refer to it as ShowTags) showing the presence of particular tags.

  • resultsElementId - The id of the HTML element to contain the results table. This element must already exist in your HTML document.
  • includeCols - Array of column names to include in the output table, other than Citation which is always included. The full set is Year, Type, and ShowTags. If you leave a column name out in this array, then it will not appear in the result table. If you leave all columns out (i.e., the array is empty), then only the citations are shown, and no column header is shown.
  • showTags: Array of tags to show, if present, for each result item. Use this to categorize your items if Zotero doesn't support the categories you need out of the box. For example, you could tag your items based on their relationship to your LTER site, indicating whether the item is a foundational paper for the site (Fondational), was funded by the site (LTER-Funded), or was written by someone outside of your site who used your site's data (LTER-Enabled). If an item has one of the tags you specify, the tag will be shown in the ShowTags column. To use this functionality, make sure the text ShowTags is included in includeCols.
  • showTagColName - The name to be used for the ShowTags column in the results table, since I can't predict what kind of categories your tags represent. Relationship to LTER Site would work for the example tags mentioned above.
  • style - The bibliography display style for the citations, e.g., apa. Leave blank for the default which is chicago-note-bibliography.

The allowable values for the style parameter are filenames from the Zotero Style Repository, without the .csl extension. Find the style you want on that page, and then hover you mouse over the style name and click Source, and then read the id for the style. For example, the filename for Analytica Chimica Acta: X is actually analytica-chimica-acta-x. You can also host your own style file (*.csl) on a public facing Web server and provide the full URL to the file in ZOTERO_CONFIG's style parameter, as in:

ZOTERO_CONFIG["style"] = "";

Data Links

You can supply links to datasets that the publication references by placing each dataset's DOI (with in front of it) on its own line in the Extra field in Zotero, as in:

Result Counts and Pagination

You can provide HTML id attribute values for elements that will contain result counts, pagination links, and so on. In general, if you do not want to show one of these elements, then provide an empty string, "", as the identifier. If the code does not find a matching element, it will skip it.

  • limit - Max number of results to retrieve per page. A value of 10 is a good starting point. As you approach 100, Zotero gets awfully slow.
  • urlElementId - Supply this if your HTML document has an element in which you'd like to display the URL that was used to fetch results from Zotero.
  • countElementId - Element in your HTML document for showing the total number of results.
  • pagesTopElementId - Element to display result page links above results.
  • pagesBotElementId - Element to display result page links below results.
  • showPages - Max number of page links to show. The code assumes this is an odd number!

Advanced Search Controls

The Zotero API has very limited advanced search functionality, though the developers say they are planning to add more features. Currently you can only filter by item type. Thus, zotero.html includes a collapsible Advanced section in which the user can choose to filter by item type. See the HTML if you're curious, but for now I suggest leaving the advanced section out until more advanced functionality is supported.


The Zotero API supports sorting results. If you want to allow the user to sort results, you must include an HTML select control with the identifier visibleSort and with options matching the allowable Zotero sort values. See the section on sorting and pagination parameters in the Zotero API documentation for allowable values. See zotero.html for an example of what the select element should look like. This element should be contained within a div element, which is used to hide the control if no results were returned from the search.

If you do not want to allow the user to change the sorting option, then leave these HTML elements out of your document.

  • sortDiv - Identifier of the HTML element containing the select control allowing interactive sort options.


Example HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for searching for items within a public Zotero user or group library




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