Research groups use Zotero to share bibliographies (also to organize them using folders and tags). Groups can, however, decide to make bibliographies public as well, so Zotero users who are not group members can still access a bibliography, browse it, and export items of interest into their own collections.
I tried to do so for the Bodleian Library Western Medieval Manuscripts Bibliography Zotero group, because they had three titles dealing with a specific manuscript (written in Greek by Johannes Gotius from Dubrovnik, but that is another story). I found the items through the relevant Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries link; at the bottom of the page with the manuscript description there is a “Zotero bibliography” section, saying “3 item(s) related to this MS. have been found in our bibliographical database.” Note that the last link will lead you only (or precisely) to the three items on MS. Laud. Gr. 9, thanks to Zotero tags.
Having found this, I wanted to do two things: 1. import the three items into my own collection on Zotero; 2. subscribe to the Bodleian Library Western Medieval Manuscripts Bibliography Zotero group “feed”, so that my Zotero instance can synchronize with the group bibliography and check for new (and all other) items.
Both things are easy — once you know how to do them.
1. importing the items was done via Zotero in browser — I selected each item and pulled it (using the mouse) to a folder in my collection in the left side pane of the Zotero user interface (see the first screenshot).
2. the function for subscribing to feed was somewhat hidden. The easiest way to access it turns out to be clicking on three dots (ellipsis) in the toolbar; this action opens the “Subscribe to feed” option (see the second screenshot).
There is a “New feed” option behind the “New collection” button in the standalone client (which has to be running if I want to best use Zotero from the browser), but the “New feed” option then requires a URL… how and where to find it?… or an OPML… what is it, anyway? When you click on the “Subscribe to feed” option, however, a page with a RSS feed will open; I did not know what to do with it, so I copied the URL of the page (
https://api.zotero.org/groups/434020/items/top?direction=asc&format=atom&qmode=titleCreatorYear&sort=title&tag=MS.%20Laud%20Gr.%209) into the “New feed” dialog of the standalone client… and after a small wait (the client was getting information from the Zotero API)… I was able to click OK!
The exclamation mark at the end of the previous sentence reveals that it took me a while to understand the process. That is why I am writing this down, by the way.
In conclusion, Zotero feeds are useful and can be added if you are willing to fight and experiment a little.
There is also some official Zotero documentation for achieving this: Feeds in Zotero, Feeds [Zotero documentation]. But the function works not only for journals and such official publications — it is available also for user groups.