Zotero and Old Bailey


For a general overview of using Zotero to manage cases from Old Bailey Online, please see this helpful guide.

The Zotero Old Bailey translator is designed to work with the OB API as well. After performing a search on the API page, clicking the page icon in the URL bar will save a reference to your search as a Zotero item (using the case item type) as a “Search Results Set”. Advanced users will want to know that appended to the Zotero item will be a zip file containing the full text of all of the cases and a text file (JSON) that lists all of the case identifiers.

Upon saving searches from the OBAPI, the translator also provides a link in the “extra” field of the Zotero item, which automatically points to voyeurtools.org and references the first 300 items in that search.

You first need to download the translator . Once downloaded, you need to move it to your Zotero data directory. To find your data directory: click on the gear icon in the Zotero pane, select “Preferences,” click the “Advanced” tab, and click the “Show Data Directory,” which will then open a window of it. Move your downloaded file (from wherever you saved it) into the “translators” directory of Zotero data directory.


We have created a Zotero plug-in that allows users to create ad hoc collections of text, attachments, or URLs from within their Zotero libraries and send them to analytic tools like Voyeur. It is not a default component of Zotero, so download the Firefox plug-in. if you are using Firefox to download it, it should install automatically.

To use the plug-in, select items from your Zotero library and click the gear icon. Select “Send to URL”.

You will then see a dialog box that wants to know what you want to do with your items. The easiest option is to select one of the predefined services, like Voyeur (the default selection). You will also need to select which Zotero item fields you’d like to use. Advanced users can create custom URLs to send to other web services.

The “Send To URL” plug-in and Old Bailey translator have been designed to work seamlessly together. When using the Zotero translator to save search results from the Old Bailey API, the translator saves a reference URL that can be used by other services, like Voyeur, to reference those results. This URL is stored in the “Extra” field of the Zotero item. Therefore, when sending to Voyeur a search result set (or several of them) obtained from the OB API, be sure to include only “Extra” field.

You can also use the Zotero translator to save the text of individual cases from the Old Bailey website and send them to Voyeur. Because the translator saves the trial text as a “Note” (a kind of attachment to Zotero items), you’ll need to be sure that only the “Notes” box is checked on the plug-in dialog box.

After clicking OK, your data is send via HTTP to the selected service or the specified URL. Whatever result that the service returns will appear in a new browser tab.

Limitations: At this time there are two important limitations that we are working to overcome. 1) When saving a search result set from the OBAPI, the Voyeur URL that is saved in the Zotero item (in the “extra” field) can only reference about 300 individual cases. 2) It is not possible to send both single cases and search results sets to Voyeur from Zotero at the same time.