Monday, April 30, 2007

Feature of the Week: Relations

Sometimes I want to have some means of structuring my tag cloud. For example, I tag a lot of researchers' home pages with their last names as tag. So I want to have all these last names together in one spot.

Furthermore, why do I have to say event every time when I tag something with conference, just so I can also retrieve it under the more general term?


To solve both problems, BibSonomy has introduced relations. A relation between two tags signifies that one of the tags is regarded as a generalization of the other.

When I tag something with conference, and I have the relation conference->event stored in BibSonomy, I say that I also consider that resource I tagged to be concerned with event in some sense.

Relations can be entered just in the way shown above: just write an arrow "->" or "<-" between two tags. The tag pointed to will be the more general one. This can also be chained: you can tag, say, a page related to pet cats with cats->pets->animal.

We call those tags that are more general than another tag, i.e., those at the pointy end of an arrow, concepts.

Using Relations

Now how can relations be used? First, they appear in your tag box on the right hand side. Note the upward and downward arrows next to all tags that are concepts. Clicking on an upward arrow shows the relations of that concept, clicking the downward arrow hides them.

Second, you can use concepts to retrieve posts. Note that when on a tag page, such as, you will be offered the possibility of seeing the tag linux as a concept. That way, you will also see those resources not tagged with linux themselves, but with a direct subtag thereof, for example ubuntu (assuming I have the relation ubuntu->linux in my relations).

Editing Relations

Entering relations can be done on the fly, with the arrow notation shown above. They can be browsed under the myRelations link. If you want to edit your relations, hit the edit tags link in the top right corner. You will be offered the option of adding and removing relations. Furthermore, note that when renaming a tag (say, you've made a typo and spelled ubutnu instead of ubuntu), there is an option on the edit tags page to update relations containing that tag, too.

Have fun,


Friday, April 27, 2007

Feature of the Week: Information Extraction supports the Import of References from Homepages

Todays feature of the week post will point you to one of the hidden features of the system. As most of you certainly know one way to acquire the meta data of a publication is to use the screen scraping facility of BibSonomy. A list of supported sites can be found here and is extended constantly. Today we released a new scraper for Highwire and LibraryThing. It's also possible to write your own extension. A description of the internal scraper interface is provided here and allows you to implement scrapers for BibSonomy.

At the end of the list you find the IEScraper which is not designed for a special web page but rather supports you in general by the import of "usual" formated publication metadata like the following one:

Emma Tonkin and Marieke Guy. Folksonomies: Tidying Up Tags? . D-Lib,volume 12(1), January 2006.
which you can find at:
To use this scraper you have to highlight the text of the reference you like to copy and then press the post_publication button. What happens in the backgroud is: The marked reference is send to the BibSonomy server and as no other scraper is able to process this kind of entry the IEScraper processes the entry and tries to find the different parts of the reference like: author, title, or year. You end up in the publication input mask where you find a prefilled form containing all information the scraper was able to extract. Now you can add your tags and adapt the entry. As an example the above entry in BibSonomy:

Unfortunately the information extraction technology is not able to process all entries correctly. For the following entry:

Philipp Cimiano, Andreas Hotho, Steffen Staab. Comparing conceptual, partitional and agglomerative clustering for learning taxonomies from text. Proceedings of the European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI'04). 2004.

title and authors are extracted correctly but the booktitle is wrong. It contains the missing year, too. You have to correct this mistake manually. We are logging this correction and using this kind of information to tune the IEScraper. Currently we have to start the training process manually but we are working on an automatic learning setup.

We hope that this feature supports everybody who finds references not at the common digital archives but rather at homepages of researchers. As the IEScraper is not perfect it takes over a reasonable amount of the work and we hope you find this feature useful.

Have fun!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Feature of the Week: Groups and Friends

If you have bookmarks and publications, that you want to share with specific people only, you can define them as being your friend (on the friends page). Then you can post selected bookmarks and publications to your friends only. On your friends page, you can see whom you have declared being a friend up to now. You will also see if others have declared you being their friend.

Groups extend this idea of collecting and/or sharing resources. There are two aspects of groups. First a group can be used for aggregating the entries of a specific group. An example is which collects all entries that are tagged with "myown" by at least one person of our research group, and which we use for generating our publication page Second you can restrict access to posts to your group. If you select a group when posting, only members of that particular group will be able to see that content.

The posts still belong to the original user. This means that if the user leaves the group, or cancels her account, the information gets lost for the group. In order to prevent the loss of group knowledge, posts can be automatically copied to one or more groups which the posting user is a member of by attaching the special tag "for:username" to the post. This causes the post to be copied automatically to the respective group, with an additional tag "from:username". This function is also useful if you need a mechanism for finally committing entries to someone else, eg as project deliverable, see (which is reused here) for an example.

For turning a normal user account into a group account, write an e-mail to . We will then make this user the group admin.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Feature of the Week: Keep and collect interesting publications in your basket

For collecting publications from other users, BibSonomy offers a basket function. To add entries to your basket, a pick function has been attached to each BibTeX entry. If you are interested in a specific BibTeX entry, you can choose the pick option and the entries are added to your basket.

Your basket can be displayed with the basket button at the right menu. On the following page, you can select or remove items from the basket, and export the final list as BibTeX and EndNote format. Additionally, you can update the tags of your BibTeX entries in a batch mode. This option disregards BibTeX entries, which are not your own to avoid changing tags from foreign BibTeX entries.

Try our basket option and have fun, Miranda!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Feature of the Week: Customizable Publication Exports

Many of you may already be using the export facilities for publication entries that BibSonomy offers; until recently, there were options to export your BibTeX as RSS, RDF, Endnote, or one particular plain HTML format.

Now we've revamped the export facilities by including the export layout engine from the great JabRef stand-alone BibTeX manager. Clicking on the more button next to the publication column header will take you to a list of publication output formats that are now available—right now there are 17! These include an RTF export for standard text processors such as Word, CSV which is easily imported to spreadsheets, as well as fancy HTML tables with sorting capabilities that you can integrate right into you web site.

Here are some examples:
If there is still a layout missing that you need for your particular application, you can make your own! The JabRef documentation describes how custom export filters can be written using a special markup language. Once you've written your filter, you can upload three files: the piece of markup for formatting each entry, plus a custom header and footer; thus, you can get a complete, valid HTML page with your custom publication list out of BibSonomy which can directly be linked to without further processing. The URL scheme for these layouts is as follows:[filter]/[rest of BibSonomy URL] e.g. if I want to format my own publications of 2006 with the html filter: See also Mark Schenk's page for some great examples of JabRef layouts.

Have fun!