Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Feature of the week: interactive tutorials and new help structure

On 12th April 2007 it is BibSonomy's birthday :-) Two years of design, development and the contribution of its users have enhanced the system constantly. In order to show BibSonomy's features and support users starting to work with the system, we have changed our help-websites.

* A general overview of all help functionality we offer can be found at:

* A special highlight are the interactive tutorials making basic and complex actions in BibSonomy easy to understand (thank you Christian!):

* Users who want to get the most of BibSonomy can find tips, tricks and useful tools at:

* Finally, we want to give more background information on what is going on behind and around BibSonomy:

With the new help features, we hope to improve BibSonomy's usability. We are happy to get your feedback if important information is missing or if you have more ideas ...


Monday, March 19, 2007

Feature of the week

Today I want to start a series of blog posts which explain features of BibSonomy which may be not so well known or understood but nevertheless be helpful for our users.

I'll start with a feature we added last week and which enhances the possibilities when uploading BibTeX files to BibSonomy. Often your BibTeX entries already contain tags inside keywords or tags fields. BibSonomy then adds these tags to your entries. Unfortunately, sometimes the tags in these fields are not separated by whitespace but by comma or semicolon. Hence we implemented the option to use another delimiter than whitespace as tag separator when uploading a BibTeX file.

You can find this option below the file upload form on the post bibtex page. Next to the upload button you can find now an options link. When you click on it the following options appear:
  • character encoding
  • viewable for
  • tag delimiter
with the latter being the one I'll explain here. There are essentially three things you can change for this option:
  • The checkbox allows you to enable or disable this feature. By default this option is disabled, which means that tags contained in the BibTeX fields tags or keywords are assumed to be separated by white space. If you enable this checkbox, you can configure with the dropdown box the character which separates the tags.
  • The dropdown box allows you to choose between comma and semicolon as separator. Picking the comma, for example, means that the string contained in the keywords or tags fields of the file's BibTeX entries will be cut into several strings at each occurrence of a comma. This results in several tags which still may contain whitespace because the string "computer algebra, math" would be cut into "computer algebra" and "math". Since BibSonomy does not allow whitespace within tags we have to take care of the space in "computer algebra". Leaving it as is would result in the three tags "computer", "algebra" and "math" -- which may be appropriate or not, depending on the users choice. But the next options allows us to control this behaviour.
  • The last input box allows to specify a character which will be used to join several words of one tag into a one word tag. The default is "_" resulting in "computer_algebra" for the preceding example. Removing this character completely would result in "computeralgebra" and entering a space would give us two (!) tags "computer" and "algebra". Hence this little input box gives you some power regarding what your tags will look like.
I want to finish with the remark that this option may look a little bit complicated which results from the power it has. Therefore I propose to use it first only on small examples to understand how it works. If you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to comment in this blog or contact us.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Recent Changes

Today we migrated BibSonomy to a new server to increase hardware redundancy. Furthermore we incorporated the following updates:

  • Changing the tags of a post with one of the tag edit functions (e.g., basket or edit tags) does not change the date of the post any longer. Hence, changing tags of posts does not cause them to arise in the post list.

  • If you have forgotten your password you have now the option to recover it by filling out a reminder form.

  • Resource pages (e.g., like this one) now have a tag cloud, too.