Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Feature of the week: Firefox integration

BibSonomy offers several facilities to retrieve bookmarks and publications from personal or public collections. An example is the fulltext search mentioned earlier in this blog. For everyday work, it is of great use when these facilities are integrated tightly into the usual working environment, e.g. into the accustomed web browser.

As most of BibSonomy's retrieval features can be accessed via a specific URL structure, the built-in keyword replacement mechanism of Mozilla Firefox provides an elegant mechanism for this purpose. To give an example, if you want to search bookmarks or publications inside your own collection that were tagged with a particular tag, you would have to do the following:
  1. Create a new bookmark inside Firefox (via the usual Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager facility)
  2. Enter the following details:
  • Name: Search My BibSonomy
  • URL:[your_username]/%s
  • Keyword: bs
Once this is accomplished, the personal collection can be searched directly via the Firefox address bar: Jump to the bar (e.g. by pressing CTRL + L), and type "bs" (i.e. the keyword that you just specified when creating the bookmark), followed by a space-separated list of the tags you would like to search for, e.g.

bs myown 2006

to retrieve all bookmarks and publications tagged with "myown" and "2006".

This method is obviously rather flexible and can be applied analogously to integrate e.g. global fulltext search. For this purpose, the URL in step (2) from above would have to be specified as

In combination with the keyboard shortcut to post a bookmark, a tight integration into Firefox is accomplished that eases every-day publication and bookmark management with BibSonomy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Feature of the week: OpenURL

Though users can provide URLs to access electronic publications, seamless linking of referenced articles is not always possible: publications might be hosted on different servers having different access permissions. Following a concrete link in BibSonomy, contributed by a specific user, does not consider the access rights of other users. For instance, she might be using her university's network benefiting from the specific subscription rights the university's library has.

OpenURL aims to solve this 'appropriate copy' problem by providing a link to a copy of a work the user has a valid subscription to or to an open access version. BibSonomy allows to redirect requests to an OpenURL resolver chosen from the user. You can include the address of your resolver in the OpenURL field at your "settings" page.

For instance, the library of the University of Kassel is a member of the OVID LinkSolver having access rights to about 18.000 journals. If you want to include the resolver, the corresponding URL would be

Each publication entry has then a link named "OpenURL". If you click on this link, a request will be sent to the given LinkSolver, added with the metadata of the publication. For instance, if you click on OpenURL of the publication "Fast Random Walk with Restart and its Applications" the following URL is constructed and sent to the linksolver.
First part, link to link resolver:
Second part, metadata:

The resolver checks the document, your specific subscriptions and allocates the most appropriate document copy for you, if it can find one.

If you are not sure which OpenURL resolver to enter into your settings page, you can find more information at

Overview 1
Overview 2

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Feature of the week

This weeks feature is a simple but pretty useful one: the fulltext search. You can access it by entering the search string into the textbox in the upper right corner of BibSonomy and then hitting the return key or pressing the search button.

The fulltext search finds words contained in URLs, titles, descriptions and especially all BibTeX fields like author, editor or bibtexkey. Hence you can use it to search for authors of publications. This is one of the features we will improve in the near future, such that searching exclusively on authors and editors will be possible.

There is already another feature available: you can restrict the search to the posts of a certain user by adding user:USERNAME (i.e., user:jaeschke) to the search. Hence, you can search inside your own posts e.g. for a publication with a specific bibtexkey. This has been automated by Christoph in the small Perl script which downloads all references from BibSonomy which are contained in a LaTeX *.aux file. This is a convenient way to add all references to an article.

By the way: the table for the fulltext search is only updated four times an hour, hence, your new posts might appear after some minutes only.

Best, Robert