Author and article location Tutorial

This is a quick tutorial for student assistants in charge of editing locations of first authors and articles in LexBib/Elexifinder bibliographical database, using the Zotero software application.

Previous step: You need to have set up the Zotero standalone app, and a user account at Zotero, and have requested membership in LexBib Zotero group. Information about how to get to this point is found here:

For this task, you need:

  • A good PDF reader, preferably something faster than Acrobat Reader, e.g. “evince“.
  • A web browser, open on this page, which is a service for matching English Wikipedia pages titles provided by Here you will search for English Wikipedia page titles that match to places. You can also use English Wikipedia‘s search functions (but there, search results will contain items other than places).
  • If you work on a laptop, better use a mouse instead of touchpad or touchscreen, since drag-and-drop actions in Zotero are critical, and unwanted drag-and-dropping can cause severe problems.

We need two sorts of location metadata:

  • Location of the first author (“author location“), i.e. the author listed first in the list of authors.
  • Location of the article (“article location“). For congress papers (item type “conference paper”) or videos (item type “video”), this location is the location of the corresponding event, i.e., the congress where the contribution was presented (i.e. not necessarily the place where the proceedings volume has been published). For papers published in a volume (journal, collective book volume (item type “book chapter”), books, Thesis, etc., we do not record the article location, as we already have the “publication place” metadatum in Zotero.

We need the English Wikipedia page URL for identifying the location, i.e., we use a location’s English Wikipedia page link (URL) as unambigouus identifier (URI). This is not trivial, since many place names exist several times in the world, and we have to select the matching one. For example, “Cambridge” exists more than a dozen of times, and at least two of them are frequent in bibliographies, as they are locations of Universities (Cambridge, UK and Cambrigde, Massachussetts). We need the unambigouus URI for getting more data about places, e.g. coordinates for a map vizualization.

Search results for “Cambridge”

The first match, “Cambridge“, corresponds to Cambridge, UK, as we can check by clicking on it. Cambridge, Massachussetts, in turn, is described on a Wikipedia page called “Cambridge,_Massachussetts“.

Watch this video about how to find the values for author and article location, and where to paste the Wikipedia URL you find.

Author and Article location: Find and paste into Zotero “Extra” field

Both location URI are pasted into Zotero “extra” field, that should be empty or incomplete. If you find any content other than Wikipedia URL in this field, please delete it. The format is two URL from, separated by a semicolon:

<author_location>; <article-location>

After the semicolon you may add a space and/or end-of-line character (enter key), but no other character, as in this example, where “Copenhagen” is author location, and “Exeter” is article location (note: it doesn’t matter whether these URL start with “http://” or “https://”):

“Extra” field with author and article location data (English Wikipedia URL)

If you are done with an item, don’t forget to remove “_locations_todo” tag from it, as explained in the video (in the video, that tag is called “_no_locations”).

In case you do not find the information in the attached full paper, you can search for the author in the whole LexBib collection, and if you find the author location in another article, and that article is, let’s say, maximum one year older or newer than the one you are doing, or your article is published in the time between two other articles, and in those two you find the same location for the author, then you can assume that the author has not changed location and just use the location you find in the other item. In case you cannot find out the first-author-location at all, please replace the “_locations_todo” tag by the tag “_location_unknown” (delete one and add the other), so that we leave it unsolved like it is and do not look at it again when we filter using “_locations_todo” tag.