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.


Popular Posts