Hi John,

By default, Zotero produces atrocious looking BibTeX.  By far the ugliest
offenders, as you have noticed, are in the citation keys.  It uses weird
character encodings (I'm frankly not even sure what they are), that can't be
processed by LaTeX.  When these characters appear, the only way I've been
able to get things to work is by manually redefining the citation keys.  Of
course, this must be done after every export.  (A tremendous and
non-productive pain.)

The best solution I've found is to not use Zotero for BibTeX.  But since I
love using Zotero to collect citations and references from the web, this
poses a problem.

Luckily, I've managed to rig an acceptable alternative using a reference
manager called Mendeley as an intermediary.  You can configure Mendeley so
that it will sync with the Zotero database.  Any updates to Zotero will
automatically be reflected in Mendeley.  (Unfortunately, reverse sync is not
supported, so changes made in Mendeley won't appear in Zotero.)

Mendeley, unlike Zotero, can create clean BibTeX with custom citation keys.
Therefore, while Zotero BibTeX won't work with LyX, I've had no problems
with Mendeley BibTeX.  I've been using it for two papers and a book I'm
working on.

Another nice feature is the automatic creation of BibTeX database files.  If
you set this up, then the creation of your BibTeX is completely automatic.
Whenever you add a new citation to Zotero, it will show up in your BibTeX
database automatically via Mendeley.

I've been using Mendeley for a couple of months, and though it's still in
beta it's pretty stable (or it has been since the 0.9.5.2 update at least).
There were a few problems specific to Ubuntu Linux, but those appear to have
been sorted out.

Additionally Mendeley makes it very easy to organize and sync your reference
library to multiple machines.  Zotero can do something similar, but I've
found Mendeley easier to use.

You can find more information on their web site:

http://www.mendeley.com/

Cheers,

Rob Oakes

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