Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best practices on selecting entrytypes (bookmarks and publications) within BibSonomy

While several specialized social sharing systems exist, a feature that distinguishes BibSonomy from most of them is that it combines two kinds of entrypes, namely bookmarks and publications. This was and is intentionally designed to support knowledge workers in keeping all relevant information (mostly web pages and scientific papers) in a single place. However, we're also observing some users which use only one of the entrytypes, e.g. only publications to keep their papers organized, or only bookmarks just like a "traditional" social bookmarking service.

In both latter cases, one might think that the other (unused) entry type may be experienced by those users a bit like a "millstone around the neck" - as most BibSonomy pages contain two columns, one for each entrytype. However, this is actually not the case - because BibSonomy allows a persistent individual selection which entry types are to be displayed. Simply click on your settings page, and you'll see two checkboxes
  • show bookmarks
  • show publications
as you can see here:

When unchecking one of them, you won't be bothered by the corresponding entries any longer. So in fact, this setting allows for a specification of BibSonomy into a "bookmark-only" or "publication-only" system. However, maybe even then there may be certain situations when one is interested in both entrytypes. We also offer a solution for that: On the top right corner of each page, you find the resource type switches:

When clicking on them, you can override the resource type selection from your user settings for the current page. The same is accomplished by appending the parameter resourcetype=bookmark and/or resourcetype=publication to the URL. Please note that this choice is not saved - once you reload the page without the parameter, your user settings will apply again.

Finally, there exist some pages which just don't make sense for certain entrytypes - e.g. the authors page cannot contain bookmark entries, as web pages usually don't have explicit authors. Currently, these cases are not yet checked automatically, but we rely on our user's perception of consistency in order to avoid incompatible parameter combinations. In summary, we hope to provide a good level of adaptation to each user's needs by these features - let us know if we can do better!

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