Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What happened with the next release?

... you might ask. Well, we postponed it to mid of January (actually, January 19th 2011). Basically, there are two reasons for that: we have construction works going on at our institute that caused some trouble and we migrated BibSonomy's authentication to Spring Security - an authentication and access-control framework.

This migration to Spring Security will be noticed by you - our users. The most obvious change will be the new "remember me" cookie that allows you to stay logged in for a longer time than the session timeout (which is 30 minutes of inactivity).
When the new version of BibSonomy is released, your old cookie is no longer valid and you need to login again. Hopefully, this causes not too much trouble. In any case - with this post we want to inform you about this change such that you are prepared. Of course, the password reminder functionality will be available such that you can reset your password in case you forgot it.

Some more background information about this change: Currently, you always got such a cookie when logging into BibSonomy. Beginning with the next release, you can choose whether you want to stay logged in after using BibSonomy or not:
Although we always recommend to logout on computers which are not your own, not enabling the "remember me" functionality ensures that a forgotten logout not necessarily allows other users of the computer to access your account. After a timeout of 30 minutes of inactivity your session is closed and you need to login again.

Besides the new cookies, Spring Security brings improved compatibility with OpenID providers, support for other authentication schemes (e.g., for the PUMA project we need LDAP authentication), and in general a cleaner and more widely tested authentication implementation.

There will be some other changes included in the next release that we will present with the accompanying blog post.

Since Christmas is coming, I am happy that I can announce that some features from our wishlist (see my last blog post) are now going to be implemented: an OpenSocial API and a TeXlipse plugin for BibSonomy. Finally, the new document upload is almost finished. It allows you to upload the documents (yes documents - not just one) for your publication while editing the post. I have tried this on our development system today and really liked it. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Last but not least, we want to thank our users for using BibSonomy and our funders for giving us the opportunity to develop such an amazing system.

The whole BibSonomy team wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Happy tagging!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feature of the week: resizable sidebar and textarea

This week we would like to present to you two new BibSonomy features. As already discussed in the last post we offer the opportunity of resizing the BibSonomy sidebar according to your wishes. In addition it is now possible to resize all text areas within the BibSonomy system.

Below we will demonstrate these new functionalites in more detail.

To resize the BibSonomy sidebar just hold down the mouse key on the resize anchor (see figure) and adjust the sidebar by moving the mouse.

To resize a textarea just hold down the mouse key on the bar at the bottom of the textarea (see figure) and adjust it by moving the mouse.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Release 2.0.10

Since today, we're running BibSonomy version 2.0.10 on our servers. We also updated our publicly available libraries at our Maven repository. The new release contains various small bugfixes and internal restructurings which should make it run smoother and more efficiently; apart from that, we've included some new features:

  • "CV" page for groups: From some of you as our users, we received requests for a "CV-like" page for groups which lists all members and futher information like the group publications, bookmarks and tags. And voilà, here it is - check http://www.bibsonomy.org/cv/group/kde for an example.
  • Resizable Sidebar: Sometimes we've heard "BibSonomy's sidebar is too small", sometimes we've heard "BibSonomy's sidebar is too large" - so finally, you can choose yourself and resize the sidebar according to your wishes with the little handle in the top left corner of the sidebar.
The next release (2.0.11) is scheduled for November 24th. If you have any feedback or comments regarding our new release, we'd be happy to hear from you!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dear Users,

once again we have to apologize for BibSonomy's downtime during Tuesday night from 11:47pm until 2:45pm (CET). We spend a lot of time, designing BibSonomy's server setup fail-safe. I will summarize our setup for short - on the one hand to explain to you what happened, on the other hand to present you our means for ensuring your data's integrity.

Whenever your browser communicates with BibSonomy, several requests are sent to our servers. Each request arrives at our so-called proxy-server which just delegates the request to our main server. For security reasons, the proxy-server is located in a separated network segment (a demilitarized zone).

Our main server hosts BibSonomy's actual web application as well as the main database, where all your posts are stored (as well as your document and profile pictures). The database is replicated on a separate server. Additionally, each night the database is stored using our university's backup facilities which are located in a different building (in a different city actually). Thus each data entry is stored at three different places and could be restored even in worst case scenarios. Of course are our servers backed up by according batteries which allow to bridge power-failures for up to 30 minutes. Furthermore, each system is monitored and our administrators (one of which I am) are informed using short text messages services.

The last downtime was caused by the proxy-server which stopped working from one moment to the other. We already prepared a replacement for the server and now we are testing to run two proxy-servers in parallel such that one server may crash without causing further downtime.

But our current 'big project' is to setup a complete BibSonomy installation in an other location (located in an other city) such that each of your browser's requests will be sent to it, if we should encounter any downtime here on our side.

I spared the bad news for the end of this post: Due to comprehensive renovations in our building, we prepare for the worst. We were assured that with a 99% probability our server room should not be affected. But we all know Murphy's law...
We were offered to the server room of an other department, which we currently prepare for hosting our servers.

I want to excuse any inconvenience which was caused by our server problems and I hope for you understanding if we should face a new problem during the two weeks. We have our next release readily waiting to be published but we postponed it until we know what the renovation work may cause.

Anyway I wish you happy posting,


Monday, October 25, 2010

Downtime today due to power failure

Dear BibSonomy users,

as you probably noticed, BibSonomy had unfortunately a downtime today (Monday, Oct. 25th 2010) around 11:00 - 12:00 o'clock. It was due to a power failure in the computing center of the University of Kassel, which also affected the network infrastructure. This means that the BibSonomy server itself was still running smoothly, but not a single request from outside could reach it.

Right now everything is up and running again, and the server is again reachable for the world - we apologize deeply for any unpleasant experience during this time of unconnectedness.

Best regards,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EKAW 2010 and New Ideas

This week I and my colleague Andreas are participating at the EKAW 2010 conference in Lisbon, Portugal. On Monday we had a nice tutorial on ontology learning from folksonomies and in the meanwhile heard some interesting talks.

Semantic Pingback

One talk, namely Weaving a Social Data Web with Semantic Pingback by colleagues from the Agile Knowledge Engineering and Semantic Web Group at the University of Leipzig, particularly raised our attention.

The basic idea of pingback comes from the blogosphere and allows blog authors to get noticed when somebody links to their posts. Tramp et al. extend this well known technique with Semantic Web technologies to allow the pingbacked server to gain more information from the referencing web page than just the fact that an article has been references. E.g., one could state that someone knows the author.

Probably you already got the idea we got: BibSonomy could implement (semantic) pingback and therefore notify authors that one of their web pages (or even scientific publications) has been bookmarked in BibSonomy. The technology behind that is relatively simple such that I think we can implement it in the next weeks. Since BibSonomy already supports RDF export (for bookmarks and publications), it is automatically semantic pingback enabled!

This will then work out of the box with many blog software and in the case of semantic pingback with OntoWiki - but in principle any HTTP server could support pingback. Thinking one step further, publishers of scientific articles could support pingback to get feedback about the popularity of articles. Therefore, we maybe implement pingback for publications, too (technically, it makes no difference for us).

Linked Data

One thing I also learned from the Leipzig guys is that our content negotiation implementation to support the linked data idea needs to be fixed. Currently, only /uri/ path prefixes support content negotiation but all pages should support it. The rationale behind introducing the /uri/ prefix (as described in an earlier blog post) was that some browsers send an accept header containing "text/xml" on first position and therefore users would get XML instead of HTML which was not so nice. We will solve this problem by returning XML (or RDF+XML) only, when the requesting client exclusively requests this data format. Otherwise, we will always return HTML.

RDF output

That our RDF export according to the SWRC ontology is not perfect I did already know. I used the possibility to meet some Semantic Web experts to find out some errors we can easily fix. E.g., linking a publication's PDF using the owl:sameAs property is too strong - we will use some property from the Dublin Core ontology to do this better.

New Features (From our Wishlist)

Adding all the above ideas to our feature list, I again realized that this list is always way too long. It contains a lot of cool features we would - if we could - implement immediately, but we just don't have the resources to do so. To let you know what we think would be cool, here a quick list (really only a small part of the whole list): OAuth, OpenSocial, API versioning, fulltext search on your uploaded PDFs and bookmarked web pages, a TeXlipse plugin, ... Feel free to add more using BibSonomy's issue tracker.

New Features (In the Pipeline)

Finally, I can say that we are currently working on two cool features which will be released soon.

You will have much more freedom to configure your CV page because we are integrating a wiki renderer which basically allows you to add almost any content to the page.

Furthermore, we will introduce gold standard publication posts, i.e., posts which can be edited by several users to finally constitute a complete set of metadata for an article. For example, have a look at this resource which looks different than other resources in BibSonomy and that can serve as a gold standard for posts users want to create to reference that resource.
Additionally, gold standard posts can contain links to the articles the paper cites:

Thus we can represent the citation graph in BibSonomy.

OK, this was a pretty long blog post but I hope you enjoyed getting some news about what's going on "behind the scenes".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feature of the week: New supported sites for posting publications

As you may already know, you can post publications manually by entering the data yourself, you can copy posts while browsing the portal, you can use the post publication button or even the firefox plugin.

For those of you, who are interested in the technical details, i want to describe in the following section, what happens in the background. For the others the information, that we now support the Astronomy & Astrophysics site, might be sufficient.

So now for the details. As i already explained, we support a certain list of websites, where the listed publications can easily be scraped by using the buttons or firefox plugin mentioned above. For a complete list have a look here. The process of scraping can be explained as an automated process, that grasps the structure of a website and the data that is contained and uses this knowledge to extract the wanted information in a standardized way. Also see the BibSonomy help for more details.

So, as you can see, we steadily work on expanding our functionality in order to make the use of BibSonomy as comfortable as possible.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Feature of the Week: Conferator - a ubiquitous, BibSonomy-based conference service

With Conferator, we offer a new service to conference participants which is supporting them in their social interaction. Conferator features two key functionalities: PeerRadar and TalkRadar.

PeerRadar will show you a history of your social contacts at the conference and provides additional information about them, such as their homepage, facebook and twitter accounts, contact details (skype, icq, etc.), and their last (public) posts in BibSonomy. After the conference, PeerRadar will thus enable you to recall your social contacts you had during the conference.
TalkRadar gives you the opportunity to personalize the conference schedule. You can select the talks that you intend to attend, and can store them in BibSonomy, so that it will be easier to cite them within your next publication. TalkRadar will give you more information about the current talk, such as additional information about the presenter, his or her publications, etc. It will also recommend upcoming talks. Last but not least, TalkRadar stores the talks that you have actually attended.

All conference participants who want to join the service will be provided with an RFID-Tag

that is worn like a name tag. The tags communicate to readers that are installed at the walls, and also communicate with each other. In this way, the system can determine the room you are actually in, and the people you are currently talking to (more precisely: the people who are face to face with you). The hardware we use was developed within the Sociopatterns project, whose generous support we kindly acknowledge.

The world premiere of Conferator will take place at the workshop week "Lernen - Wissen - Adaptivität (LWA 2010)" of four special interest groups of Gesellschaft für Informatik, the German Computer Science Association. LWA 2010 will take place October 4-6 in Kassel, organized by the Knowledge & Data Engineering Group of the University of Kassel. If you are nearby, please drop in and give it a try!

You can find more information about Conferator here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Feature of the Week: 'Socializer'

Today we released BibSonomy 2.0.9 containing mainly bug fixes and some more visibility for BibSonomy's social features:

  • We restructured the navigation links to the inbox, the basket, and the edit tags page. They are now not in one line at the top right corner of the header but in two lines. We are thinking of a larger restructuring of the navigation, but this needs some time.
  • We fixed an annoying bug: if you set your profile visible for friends only, you could not see your uploaded photo.
  • We added JSON support to our REST-API. This is experimental, not documented, and subject to change. If you want to try it: add an "Accept: application/json" header to your requests (e.g. this query) and you get JSON (in roughly the same format as the XML). Similarly, you can upload JSON using the "Content-Type" header.

The biggest change you will probably notice are the new buttons in the header and in the sidebar. On every user page (i.e., /user/USERNAME) you can now see the user's real name and a link to his or her CV - if both are visible to you. I.e., either the user's profile is public or visible for friends and you are his or her friend. For example, if I visit the page of my colleague Andreas Hotho, I get the following header:

Furthermore, in the sidebar the new socializer allows you to easily add a user as your friend, follow him, or get a personalized view of his posts.

The stars in the friends and follow buttons indicate, if you have added the corresponding user to your friend or follower list. In the example above, the user is my friend but I'm not following him.

As always, parts of the source code are available in our maven repository.

Feel free to test the new features and give us feedback!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Feature of the week: Automatic crossref linking

As we all know, metadata is a little bit like muscles: Everybody wants to have it, but it's hard and tedious to create ;-) but of course, nice bibliographic tools can do a good job in helping you with your daily metadata workout. A built-in mechanism of BibTeX itself to alleviate the bibliographic metadata management is the crossref-mechanism: Typically, all BibTeX records of a certain event or journal (e.g. a conference or a workshop) share some metadata fields, e.g. the editor list or the ISSN. Instead of re-typing this common fields in each entry of the event, one can use the crossref-field and reference to a "parent" bibtex entry, which contains the common fields. When BibTeX processes the entries, all relevant fields are overtaken from there. Hence, one has to enter the common fields just once, instead of several times for each entry.

As an example, the following entry:


crossreferences this entry:


So far, all the magic is done by BibTeX itself. But since the latest release, BibSonomy helps you to keep track of who references whom: On the BibTeX details page of an entry which contains a crossref field, we introduced a link to the crossreferenced entry at the top:

This neat little feature is meant to assist you in getting the most out of BibTeX and finally to enhance your everyday efficiency in dealing with your bibliographic collection. Have fun!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Feature of the Week: A picture for your CV

For the German LWA conference our institute is hosting in October we are using BibSonomy as central tool to manage the accepted papers. We also offer interesting services to the conference participants which are partially based on BibSonomy.

Therefore, we released some intermediate features today in a smaller release (the next regular release is scheduled for September 22th):
  • Publications having a crossref field are now linked to the BibTeX key that is referenced. E.g., this post references the post with the key eisterlehner2009ecmlpkdd.
  • On BibSonomy's web pages the authors of a post are now separated by "," (instead of "and"). Only the last author is separated by "and".
  • All textareas now have a bar at the bottom with that you can resize them.
  • You can now enter an "institution" for your profile which also appears on the CV page.
  • Two new links in your myBibSonomy menu: myPrivatePosts and myCV.
  • And last but not least: you can now upload a photo for your CV.

Longer explanations of those new features will follow in the next weeks, for now I will quickly explain how to upload a photo for your CV.

Just go to the settings page and there to the section a picture for my cv. With the file choose dialog select a photo from your local file system which shall represent you in BibSonomy. Then press the upload button. The photo is then visible on your CV page - for you only, for your friends or for everybody - depending on the setting of profile viewable for on the settings page. Here you can see as an example Andreas' CV:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Feature of the Week: Export Bookmarks to "electronic"-BibTeX

In our previous post we have discussed six new BibTeX entry types that have been implemented in BibSonomy. This time we will focus on one of those types: “electronic”. The type "electronic" allows you to store references to resources on the web as BibTeX.
Of course the more natural (and comfortable) way of storing references to such resources in BibSonomy is using bookmarks. To make those bookmarked references available as BibTeX we have included a BibTeX export for bookmarks:

Simply add “/bookbib” to any BibSonomy URL to get BibTeX entries of all bookmarked resources of the page. For example while http://www.bibsonomy.org/tag/puma shows you a collection of bookmarks and publications with the tag “puma” http://www.bibsonomy.org/bookbib/tag/puma
will give you all BibTeX entries to all the bookmarked resources of said collection.

Here is an example of such a bookmark exported to BibTeX:
title = {PUMA :: home},
url = {http://puma.uni-kassel.de/},
biburl = {http://www.bibsonomy.org/url/e51e87299fc3778064426991cb36633d/sdo},
keywords = {PublicationManagement kassel puma webService},
added-at = {2010-09-03T15:35:58.000+0200},
description = {Puma erleichtert Ihre tägliche Arbeit mit Publikationen und Lesezeichen},
interhash = {e51e87299fc3778064426991cb36633d},
intrahash = {e51e87299fc3778064426991cb36633d}

The referenced URL is naturally stored in the “url” field of the entry. The URL's host serves as BibTeX key. The fields “title” and “description” are determined by the title and description of the corresponding BibSonomy bookmark post. As usual “keywords” holds the post's tags, “added-at“ tells you when the the post was added (or last modified) and “biburl” is the link to the bookmark-post.

We are looking forward to any suggestions of further BibTeX fields that could be included in the export.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Feature of the Week: New BibTeX Entry types

When a publication is posted to BibSonomy one of the most important fields of that post is the publication's entry type. There are 14 regular BibTeX entry types - e. g. “article” or “book” being the most common ones.
BibSonomy has supported 13 of those types and in our last release we have added the missing 14th: “conference”.
Over time, there has been great demand for a new BibTeX entry type that allows posting presentations. We are happy to announce that “presentation” is one of six new non-regular (!) entry types, that we have implemented in BibSonomy. Here is a list of the new types:
  • electronic: references electronic publications like articles on the web or blog posts
  • patent: references patent documents
  • periodical: references magazines or other regularly appearing publications
  • preamble: references preambles
  • presentation: references slides from your talks, seminars or lectures
  • standard: references documents describing norms, guidelines, etc.
The new types can be selected during the publication posting.
Our system tag “sys:entrytype:” can help you search for publication posts of a desired type. E. g. searching for “sys:entrytype:standard” returns only publications of type “standard”.
One final remark before you start posting your new BibTeX type posts: Those six new types are non-regular types. That means, they are used in BibSonomy and other applications but they do not belong the the 14 canonical types that are usually understood by all BibTeX styles. Depending on what style you use for your literature references you might sometimes have to adjust either the entry type of the reference or the BibTeX style.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feature of the Week: BibSonomy and Ubiquitous Barcode Posts

The issue of this week introduces a feature that is especially helpful for users of BibSonomy who often use mobile devices. Then, it is often the case that an interesting book (with a barcode) needs to be bookmarked. Using an appropriate barcode scanner application, this step can be conveniently (semi-)automated, for a more 'ubiquitous' BibSonomy experience!

Below, we will demonstrate this with an Android application, however, this can probably also be accomplished using similar devices.

1) First of all, you need a suitable barcode scanner. For that (and for my Android phone) I applied the well-known "Barcode Scanner" application. With this app, scanning a barcode is easy, as shown below.

2) After scanning, you need to initiate the product search in order to gain access to the publication data.

3) If the Bibsonomy settings have not yet been added to the system, you need to configure the 'custom search URL', in the settings menu. Otherwise, skip to Step 4.

4) Next, query the configured (BibSonomy) custom search provider.

5) Finally, you can tweak retrieved publication data in the usual BibSonomy edit dialog. The screenshot below shows the 'normal' dialog, however, we are currently working on a mobile version of the BibSonomy user interface in order to enhance the user experience for mobile devices.

In my opinion, this is a really cool feature! So, play around with it, and we are happy to get your comments, suggestions, and further ideas.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feature of the week: Configurable displayed resources

Today we are going to introduce the small new feature that allows you to preselect the resources which are shown at our resource pages.

In general when you look at our homepage you see both resources, bookmark and publication.
There you have the option to fade out one of them by clicking on one of the symbols at the top right over the publications.

But every time you reload the site you have to redo your selection.
Now you have the option to preselect the resource of your interest at your settings page

When you deselect one of the resources and go back to our homepage only the selected resource is shown.

Of course you have also the possibility to fade the other resources back in by clicking at one of the previous mentioned buttons at the top right.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We did it again...

We just released BibSonomy's version 2.0.8.

The new release mostly incorporates small bug fixes and some feature enhancements. Some improvements will be visible, such as the possibility to export your bookmarks to BibTeX-Entries on each bookmark list.

We also extended the list of supported BibTeX entry types which now consist of
  • article
  • book
  • booklet
  • conference
  • electronic
  • inbook
  • incollection
  • inproceedings
  • manual
  • mastersthesis
  • misc
  • patent
  • periodical
  • phdthesis
  • preamble
  • presentation
  • proceedings
  • standard
  • techreport
  • unpublished

We continuously look at our log files for spotting possible bugs - but we need your help for steadily improving BibSonomy. If you happen to encounter a bug or have an idea for a new feature, please don't hesitate inform us (email).

Apart from updating the running system we've updated our Maven repository with the latest version of our open-source libraries.

Stay tuned to our next release planned for the end of September!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Feature of the week: References to tag pages in the sidebar

As of the last release there are some small changes in the sidebar, namely in the section where you find the references to other tag-related pages. You may already know that there are links to both tag pages and concept pages, for all users and for the requested user/group or logged-in user, respectively.
What's new is that we have added a counter for the posts and you can see subtags of a concept when pointing on the latter. Also, usually in those cases where the linked page would contain no posts at all, the link is hidden.

Let me show you how it works by using an example. The search for 'linux' as a concept yields this sidebar. (Here you can find a reminder of what concepts and relations are.) Note that the counter is only visible when the user is logged in. Here, there is no link to the user-tag page, because the user 'ak' does not have any posts tagged with 'linux'. Neither does this user have a relation where 'linux' is the supertag, so the link to the user's concept page is hidden, too.

Of course, you can search for more than one keyword. As an example, consider the search for both 'mathematics' AND 'algebra' as tags, which yields the following sidebar. The search term is split up into the single keywords and for each one there is a link to the corresponding concept page (if the result set is not empty) and there is one link for the whole search term (although this query might yield zero posts). You may expect a reference 'algebra as concept from ak', but like in the previous example, the user 'ak' has no relation in which 'algebra' is the supertag, so this link does not appear.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feature of the week: simple and advanced modus

This week we would like to present to you a small new feature, which you can use to adjust the appearance of your "edit-bookmark" and "edit publication"
page. To be more specific, on your "settings-page" you can choose between two modes, the "simple" and the "advanced" one.

settings page

In the "advanced mode" all options of the "edit-bookmark" and
"edit publication" page are displayed, whereas in the
"simple mode" some expert options are hidden. These expert options would for example be the "viewable for" and the "relevant for" fields, which you can use to determine which group your post is available and interesting for.

edit-bookmark page: simple modus

edit-bookmark page: advanced modus

edit-publication page: simple modus

edit-publication page: advanced modus

The default setting of existing users is the "advanced mode". New users get the "simple mode" by default.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Release: BibSonomy 2.0.7

We are still on track with our monthly release cycle. Two days ago we released BibSonomy's version 2.0.7. Since then we accurately looked at our log files to spot potential bugs as soon as possible. This release of BibSonomy mainly consists of internal code cleanup and restructuring as preparatory work for pending new features. Additionally we addressed some minor bug fixes. Nevertheless you will notice some improvements:
  • On your user settings page you can configure for most resource lists (e.g., in search results) which resource types (bookmarks and/or publications) should be displayed.
  • Also on your user settings page you can hide certain advanced features, which are relevant only to BibSonomy's power users.
  • Your exported BibTeX-snippets now contain a field which indicates the date you posted the corresponding entry to BibSonomy.
  • Most tag related pages (e.g., user-tag pages) contain on the sidebar's beginning references to corresponding tag or concept pages which now also contain counts for the correspondingly matching posts.
Apart from that, we've updated our Maven repository with the latest version of our open-source libraries. We're always happy to see other people using BibSonomy features! As usual, if you encounter any strange behaviours or errors, we are grateful for a little email notice, and we'll do our best to fix the issues. In any case have fun with the new release and stay tuned to our next release planned for July 28th!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Feature of the week: New help pages

As some of you may already have noticed, BibSonomy has a new help page, which provides you with the information needed for exploiting the riches of our platform. Our main focus was the improvement of the design and usablility. The content itself has not changed much though. So next to the new interface description section, where all views are explained to you in details, you will find the new accordion style in large text sections coming in handy, because it offers you a much better overview:

E.g., have a look at our guide for your first steps within BibSonomy.

Another new feature is that you can now use the translation functionality. So if you want to read the help of a certain page in German, just click on the appropriate flag at the bottom of the content area and you will directly see the text in the requested language. You can find the new help pages under the very same address as the existing ones, so all your previous bookmarks will still get you, where you expect them to link to - or at least very close, so finding the content you need won't be much of a problem.

For the technically interested BibSonomy-blog readers: We constructed this help with a JSPWiki in the background and adapted it for our needs.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Feature of the week: The new System Tag sys:title:tag allows for partial Search

Today we introduce a small new feature which will hopefully be useful for you as our user. In one of the last releases we introduced the new system tag sys:title:tag.

As one can guess from the name of the system tag, it can be used to search for a word (only one word) in the title field of publications. An example search for the word "Restful" is http://www.bibsonomy.org/tag/sys:title:Restful. Searching for two words is possible as well by using the system tag twice. As you can see from the URL the search is made over the entire database. The system tag can be used in the user environment, too. Again we look for "Restful" but in this case for the user hotho: http://www.bibsonomy.org/user/hotho/sys:title:Restful. This two search request are not really novel but for the system tag we added the possibility to use the wildcard *. By adding * at the end of a word or even of a part of a word a search for the beginning is made. An example could be the search "Rest*" in the collection of the user hotho http://www.bibsonomy.org/user/hotho/sys:title:Rest* and it works for the entire database as well.

For interested users: To make this feature available we setup a special index in the search part of our system. Lucene is the basis of our search engine framework which is very fast for search engine like queries and allows for partially search requests, too. With the help of the system tag we redirect the request to the corresponding index. We use the system tag internally for other features like the auto completion but this will be the topic of one of the next features of the
week. In the near future we will be able to offer more system tags as we are currently working on a new framework for such tags.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feature of the Week: The CV page

For enhancing the social features of Bibsonomy, the system now features a CV page, powered by PUMA, a German DFG-funded project.

While the feature will soon be improved and prominently included in the upcoming social features menu, currently it is available using the myCV link (in the myBibSonomy menu) and can be enabled for each user (URL).

An examplary CV page is shown below:

The page information, i.e., the "profile" can be customized via the settings options of your account. As an example, consider the settings page below:

The "profile viewable for" option controls the accessibility to the profile: "friends" only allows users marked as friends to view the profile, while "public" enables public access to the CV.
As shown above, the CV contains some personal information, scientific interests, hobbies, and bookmarks and publications marked with the "myown" tag.

Planned extensions concern the upload and display of a user image; additionally, we plan to extend the CV page with wiki-features, such that arbitrary information can be added in a flexible way.

Feel free to play around with the feature, and we are happy to get your comments, suggestions, and further ideas for the CV page!

Friday, May 28, 2010

BibSonomy 2.0.6 up and running

As announced roughly one month ago, we are currently establishing a monthly release cycle. We're sure you couldn't wait - since this week, you can experience our latest release. We are running version 2.0.6 right now, and hope it makes your BibSonomy experience even better!

We've fixed several bugs (some scraper issues, problems when searching autors, and other minor fixes) and cleaned up internally some code; besides that, there are some new features:
  • When posting a publication, we now offer an autocompletion in the 'title'-field, which matches against all publications in our database. If you find the right one, you'll get the rest of the metadata (authors, year of publication, ..) such that you don't have to retype that stuff again.
  • In order to prevent misuse of our system, we now integrated an activation email in the BibSonomy registration process; you can't have access to our system until you've clicked that link.
  • As we're all humans, errors occur naturally during editing a publication (e.g., a forgotten author). We've worked over the way how these errors are presented to you - now the error message automatically disappears as soon as you type something into the correct field
Apart from that, we've updated our Maven repository with the latest version of our open-source libraries. We're always happy to see other people using BibSonomy features!

As usual, if you encounter any strange behaviours or errors, we are grateful for a little email notice, and we'll do our best to fix the issues. In any case have fun with the new release and stay tuned to our next release planned for June 30th!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Feature of the Week: The new publication editing dialogue

Our latest major release brought up completely redesigned publication posting and editing dialogues. The changes in the underlying backend system are even bigger than you as end-user might notice. With this week's feature I want to introduce the new dialogue for editing publications.

You can test the dialogue yourself, by copying this post. The emerging web page will look similar to this screenshot where I have highlighted the five main parts I will explain in the following:

general information

This box contains the main fields you must fill out for every publication in BibSonomy: entry type, BibTeX key, title, author(s) or editor(s), and year. For the entry type you can choose among a list of the types supported by BibTeX, i.e., "article", "proceedings", "phdthesis", etc. The BibTeX key uniquely identifies the publication reference in your document and is used to cite the reference (e.g., with the \cite{key} command in LaTeX).

The small blue button next to the BibTeX key allows you to generate a new key - if the one which has been extracted is not easy to remember, for example. We use the first author's last name, the year and the first longer word from the title to generate the key. In the example above the generated key would be "haveliwala2003topicsensitive".


Here you can enter tags (freely chosen keywords) to describe your post and ease later retrieval of it. Since tags are the main ingredient of a social bookmarking system, they are a required field, too. Our tag recommenders help you to find meaningful tags - just click on one of the recommended tags to add them to your post. Hint: you can also click on the tags in your tag cloud on the right side - they are then added to your post, too.


The following two boxes entitled viewable for and relevant for are part of BibSonomy's support for (research) groups.

viewable for
You can restrict which users can see this post. Either everybody ("public"), only you ("private"), or your friends ("friends"). If you are member of a research group, you can also allow only members of the group to see the post. We will soon allow posts to be visible for several such groups.

relevant for
As member of a group you can explicitly state that the post is relevant for this group. Such posts then appear on the /relevantfor page, e.g., for the group kde on the page /relevantfor/group/kde.

More on this feature in this blog post.

detailed information

All other metadata that belongs to a publication is stored in these fields. Note that only the fields that the typical styles for BibTeX use for the selected entry type are shown. You can show all fields by clicking on the respective link at the top of this box.

comments and notes

Here you can enter personal notes or comments about the publication. Why three fields for that?
Well, the first field (description, comment) is not a feature of BibTeX but the description field every post has in BibSonomy - also the bookmarks. Just enter your notes, comments, thoughts on the publication into this field.
The second field (private note) contains your private comments - only you can see its contents.
And the third field (note) is used by BibTeX. Typically, everything you write there is inserted into the publication reference in your literature list.

scraper information

Actually, sometimes there is a sixth box that is not shown in the above overview screenshot:

This box only appears if you used one of our screen scrapers to post a publication to BibSonomy directly from another digital library like the ones from IEEE or ACM.

The box shows you which scraper extracted the data from which URL and how the extracted BibTeX entry looks like.

To sum up ...

In our opinion, the new dialogue is much cleaner and easier to use than the old one. All the important facts about a publication are grouped together at the top of the page. Furthermore, now the two dialogues for editing bookmarks and publications have a consistent layout which eases usage of the system.
Feel free to comment. We are very interested in what you think about the new layout.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Feature of the Week: The Inbox

Have you ever tagged a publication or website in BibSonomy that you'd have liked to show to a fellow user? BibSonomy now offers a simple way to do exactly that with the new inbox!

Let's say Anton has a nice post, that (he thinks) Berta should know about. Hence Anton tags his post with „send:Berta“ and the post will be sent to Berta's inbox. To let Anton know, that the post was delivered the tag changes from „send:Berta“ to „sent:Berta“.
The next time Berta logs on to BibSonomy, she notices the counter in the upper right corner that tells her, she's got a new post in her inbox.She is curious and clicks on the counter to get to her inbox. There she finds the post Anton has forwarded to her, only her post is tagged with „from:Anton“ to let her know who sent it.

Note that the post has not been added to Berta's regular post collection yet. Berta can now decide to keep the post permanently and therefore use the copy link below the post. When the inbox post has served its purpose it can be deleted from the inbox with the remove link below the post.
Berta could also decide to delete all her inbox posts at once using the „clear inbox“ link in the sidebar.

To protect our users from spam we have restricted the use of the send tag. I. e. Anton is allowed to send his post to Berta only if
  • there exists a BibSonomy group that both Anton and Berta are members of or
  • Berta has added Anton as her friend.
Note, that the latter is not the same as „Anton has added Berta as his friend“.
It is our hope, that this new feature will help you to actively communicate interesting sources to your friends and colleagues.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Feature of the week: TagCloud

Today we gonna present you the brand new TagCloud, implemented in the
newest BibSonomy release. While using BibSonomy your TagCloud grows bigger and bigger and easily becomes unattractive. To avoid this fact and additionally give you a better view about your most used tags, the new TagCloud will now be able to show only the top X tags of you. Where X can be set in your settings page and has an default value of 50 (Pic. 1).

Pic. 1: Your new TagCloud settings.

So this means instead of a 2-page long TagCloud, you will have a small and clear TagCloud containing your top tags (Pic. 2 & 3).
Of course you can still use the old TagCloud, if you feel fine with your current TagCloud behaviour and dont want to change it. The TagCloud can be set back to the old behaviour in your settings page by setting choice of tags to min Frequency.

Let's see it in action:

Pic. 2: old TagCloud.

Pic. 3: new TagCloud.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today's release 2.0.5

Starting today, we want to establish a monthly release cycle, releasing a new version of BibSonomy on the Wednesday before the last Thursday of the month.

The latest release fixes some bugs, e.g., on the newly introduced inbox, title-/description-autocompletion when posting bookmarks, adding/removing user's from groups, and various scrapers (IOP, APS, etc.).

New features include

We also updated the source code in our Maven repository to version 2.0.5.

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, May 26th, 2010.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Feature of the week: Relations

The last major release included some overhaul on the relations-page.
Everything is now better-arranged and more beautiful. Especially the representation of the sets of subtags as tagclouds improves clarity. The tagsize of a subtag indicates the frequency with which it is used in relation with its supertag. A counter on each tag tells that frequency exactly. Respectively, counter and tagsize of a supertag tell you how many of our users consider this tag a concept.

For those of you wondering what relations are and how to use them:
In BibSonomy, a relation consists of two tags, SUBTAG -> SUPERTAG. On the relations-page you'll find e. g. the following relation: 'algebra' -> 'mathematics'. It means that 'mathematics' is the supertag (also called a concept) of 'algebra', and the relation could be read as 'algebra is a subdiscipline of mathematics'.

You can define and manage your own relations on the edit_tags-page. Or you can enter a relation in the tag field while posting or editing a bookmark/publication. Just use SUBTAG->SUPERTAG (without any white space) as a tag.

As a matter of fact, relations are quite a useful tool in retrieving resources.
Let's stay with our example. Say you are interested in posts to the field of 'mathematics'. Then searching for 'mathematics' as a tag will find you all the posts explicitly tagged with 'mathematics'. Searching for 'mathematics' as a concept, however, will find in addition all the posts tagged with a subtag thereof (in our case e. g. algebra).

Furthermore, you will be able to distinguish whether you are interested in relations of only one specific user or in everybody's relations via
Of course, navigation via hyperlinks is also possible! Try e. g. clicking on a conceptname on the relations-page and then note the sidebar.

Relations allow you to widen your search and tag in your own hierarchical way.
So give it a try!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feature of the week: DOI

Since BibSonomy is available, it is possible to add DOI to publications. However, these has not been used in the system. But recently we implemented a tighter integration of DOI links into BibSonomy. As you may already know, a DOI name uniquely identifies a digital resource over its lifetime. In addition, the DOI-System provides an up-to-date URL for the resource. BibSonomy now checks if the publication reference contains a DOI. If this is the case a "DOI-link" is automatically created in the publication list. If this is not the case the DOI name can be inserted into the "misc fields". The DOI entry always needs to have the following format:

  • doi = {DOI name} (for example "doi = {doi:10.1145/1379092.1379123"})
  • doi = {URL/DOI name} (where the URL points to a DOI resolver and leaving out the term "doi:" in the DOI name) (for example "doi = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1379092.1379123"}.

Have fun with this new feature !

Friday, April 9, 2010

Feature of the week: New system tag enables you to filter publications by their entry type

I am glad to present to you a new way to filter publications within a BibSonomy search. As you may already know publications can be classified by their type - there are books, articles, proceedings, etc. BibSonomy currently supports 12 types of publications:

  • article
  • book
  • booklet
  • inbook
  • incollection
  • inproceedings
  • mastersthesis
  • misc
  • phdthesis
  • proceedings
  • techreport
  • unpublished

When adding a publication to your BibSonomy account manually, the first thing to decide is what type of entry it is. No fixed classification scheme can be complete, but BibTeX provides enough entry types to handle almost any reference reasonably well.

With our new feature of the week we introduce a new system tag, that filters publications
by their entry type. The general structure of this tag is as follows:


The variable type can be one of the elements listed above, so that the whole tag might be for example sys:entrytype:masterthesis.

This enables you to create your own publication lists for your website ordered by entry types. If you are not familiar with this, you can find helpful instructions here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Digging up Resources - Fulltext search in BibSonomy

For a while now we were redesigning BibSonomy's full text search backend and now we decided that it is mature enough for mastering all of BibSonomy's search requests.

Our old backend was based on MySQL, using the MyISAM storage engine. But with all your Posts enlarging the search index each day, we nearly reached our server's capacity. Looking for a more efficient way of implementing full text search, we stumbled upon Lucene, a highly optimized search engine library, which is incorporated by the Apache Jakarta Project family since September 2001.

Now all of BibSonomy's full text search queries are handled by two redundant Lucene indexes, which are alternatively updated every 5 minutes.

Impact on your daily "BibSonomy-Experience":
First of all, switching to Lucene was an important step for preparing our servers to deal with even more users joining the BibSonomy community, as the search task now is separated and can be distributed among several independent machines. Secondly we hope to decrease BibSonomy's already small response time. But finally we now support more sophisticated search queries like "collaborative AND (b*marking OR ressource*)".

If you have any suggestion or encounter any problem, please contact us.

Happy Tagging!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stop thinking, start tagging - Tag Semantics emerge from Collaborative Verbosity

Maybe you've asked yourself from time to time "What are these BibSonomy developers doing the whole day?" Of course the first answer is simple - we develop BibSonomy :) - but apart from that, most of us are researchers, running experiment, discussing results, writing papers - and the latter is sometimes rewarded: Our work "Stop thinking, start tagging - Tag Semantics emerge from Collaborative Verbosity" got accepted at this year's WWW conference in Raleigh, USA!

As you can guess from the title, the paper is basically concerned with emergent semantics. This term is often used to describe semantic structures that "grow" in a bottom-up and uncontrolled manner within collaborative tagging systems. For the case of emergent tag semantics this means that despite people are free to choose arbitrary tags (which leads to typical language-related phenomenons like homonymy, polysemy, ..), one can successfully extract meaningful tag relations from the aggregated mass of tagged content. As an example, different people might use different tags to describe the web2.0 paradigm, possibly "web2.0", "web-2.0", "webtwo", "web20", "web.2.0", and many others. By using the appropriate tag relatedness measures, one can identify those cases and extract a semantic "concept" web2.0 which all these users are talking about.

Up to this point, there's nothing too new - the question we asked ourselves then was how the characteristics of individual users influence the quality of the learned semantic structures. One possibility is to distinguish users according to their tagging motivation into "Categorizers" and "Describers" - the first group uses a small and systematic vocabulary, wherby the latter uses a wealth of different keywords for annotation. Simply spoken, describers can be seen as the "verbose" users tagging with many keywords. So we splitted up the whole folksonomy dataset into several partitions containing different mixtures from categorizers and describers. And here is an interesting thing we found:

On the x-axis, you see the percentage of included users. The y-axis depicts the quality of the inferred semantic tag relations (measures by grounding against a thesaurus; as we used the JCN distance, smaller values indicate better quality). The green line depicts the semantic quality obtained from the full dataset. The interesting thing is now that already with 40% of the "talkative" describers, one can reach the semantic precision of the full dataset! The best quality is found for 70% of describers. So the claim that "mass matters" holds only partially - a crucial aspect seems to be from which kind of users the mass is composed. The collaborative verbosity of describers seems to have a positive effect on the emergent semantics. On a more general level, this exhibits a causal link between tagging pragmatics (how people tag) and tag semantics (what tags mean). If you're interested in further details, we'd be happy to discuss with you on WWW2010!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feature of the week: New Firefox-plugin released!

For some weeks now the first version of our BibSonomy-Firefox-Addon is available for Download.
This new feature integrates your BibSonomy bookmarks into your Firefox browser, thus offering comfortable use and storage of your bookmarks without visiting your BibSonomy account. You might also want to synchronize your list of local bookmarks with the ones in BibSonomy.
All you need to get started is the new plugin, your user name and your API-key as password.
  • The blue star button indicates whether or not a page is already bookmarked. Clicking it opens the dialogue for storing or changing the bookmark of the current web page.

  • To the left in your navigation bar you'll find the quick link to your BibSonomy page and the hide/show button for the sidebar.
    The sidebar displays the cloud or list of your bookmark's tags and your tag relations. Much like in BibSonomy bookmarks are retrieved by clicking on one of its tags or using the full-text search.

  • Our Addon is fully customizable and also allows to remove the standard yellow Firefox-Star-button from the browser. Moreover the settings feature the option to import your Firefox bookmarks into BibSonomy and vice versa.

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