Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Release 2.0.17

Today we updated BibSonomy to 2.0.17. The publicly available libraries are available at our Maven repository.
As always the release included some internal restructuring and clean-up. We also included two new features:
  • The Hidden SystemTag: A tag that is visible only to you: sys:hidden:<mySecretTag>
  • OpenID Quicklinks: We added the three most frequently used OpenID providers as links to our sign-in page.
In August we'll take a (summer-) break from releasing. However, we are already busy developing new features including the restructuring of author and editor names.
We'll also continue to blog about BibSonomy features in our feature-of-the-week series during that time.

The next release is scheduled for September 2011.

Happy tagging!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sort your Bookmark Lists

In June 2011 we presented to you the functionality of arranging your publications by
year, month, day, author, editor, entrytype, title, booktitle, journal, school in ascending or descending order (see blog entry). Now it is also possible to sort bookmarks by date and title. For example if you want to sort all your own bookmarks with the tag localization by title in ascending order, you just need to use the URL parameters sortPage and sortPageOrder.

With sortPage you can control whether you want to sort by title (sortPage=title) or date (sortPage=date). With sortPageOrder you can control whether you want to sort in ascending (sortPageOrder=asc) or in descending (sortPageOrder=desc) order.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A note on problems with Google-based OpenID logins

Recently we got mails from users that can not login to BibSonomy using their Google OpenID. Today we traced at least one of the cases down to a problem with Google's OpenID service.

There are two types of OpenID's Google supports:
There are quite some web pages that discuss the different types (e.g., this discussion, this explanation, or this article) and even more forum posts that describe problems (e.g. this one).

The thing is, that recently the profile page OpenID's cause problems. We were not able to login or register using these at BibSonomy. After trying to find out why this does not work, we found out that the problem is Google itself. Google's profile web pages do not contain a resource descriptor that OpenID4Java can discover. We could not even find one manually. This basically means, that the type of OpenID is broken.

By the way: not only BibSonomy has problems with Google's profiles OpenIDs, other web pages have them, too. We tried to register at Stack Overflow using and got the error "Unable to log in with your OpenID provider: No OpenID endpoint found."

Until Google fixes this issue, we can only suggest to use the other type of OpenID, i.e., to sign in to BibSonomy.

To make this easier, we enhanced the OpenID login page to include quick-links for three major OpenID providers: Google, Yahoo!, and

We will stay tuned with this problem and see, if Google will fix it!

Have a nice weekend and enjoy tagging ...

Update (2011-08-02):

Since last Friday (2011-07-29), we had problems with OpenID login caused by an incorrectly installed SSL certificate. This was fixed today. Thus, OpenID login with providers such as Google, Yahoo! or works, again.

With, however, we still face problems. The reason seems to be that the root certificates for the certification authority uses (StartCom) are not contained in the JVMs truststore (bug entry on openid4java). We imported them manually but this did not solve the problem. We will try to find out what's going wrong.
<update> OpenID with works now. Importing certificates with Java's keytool command is quite cumbersome. It ask's for a password but does not complain that no keystore was specified. :-(</update>

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feature of the Week: Reviews and Discussion

Two important aspects of working with literature are the process of sharing it among your colleagues and the exchange of ideas and thoughts about it. Facilitating the first aspect - sharing - has always been a core feature of BibSonomy. However, this weeks blog post is all about the second aspect: Discussion!

BibSonomy's new and easy to use discussion feature is your forum to communicate your thoughts about publications and websites quickly to your friends and colleagues. Using the typical thread structure of forums users can add reviews or comments to publication and bookmark posts or reply to previous statements by other users.

Where can I discuss?

If you take a look at any page in BibSonomy with a post list (e.g. home), you'll find a link reading "discussion" right next to each post's copy link and a five star rating below each post. Clicking on either takes you to the discussion page of that web page or publication, that the post is about.
You may discuss about any posted resource (web page or publication) even if you did not post it yourself! Keep in mind, that several posts (e.g. from different users) can be about the same resource. Since the discussions are always about the resources (never about specific posts) the discussion links of such posts all lead to the same discussion.
As an example, take a look at a short discussion about an html5 web page.

How can I discuss?

There are two ways to start a discussion or to add to one. For both of them you will have to be logged in.
  • Reviews: Reviews are designed to let you state your opinion. Each review contains a rating of up to five stars. (Yes, we allow the assignment of half stars and even of zero stars for the worst case!)
    Additionally you can enter some text to explain your rating. You can add at most one review to a discussion. However, you can always edit or even delete your review.
  • Comments: Use comments to enter some text without assigning a rating. Choose to comment on a posted resource directly or reply to previous reviews or comments. Basically, you can comment as often as you like and edit or delete your comments at any time. To create a comment just click the blue create comment button. To comment in reply to another user's statement use the reply link below that statement.
Who can read it?

Both, comments and reviews come with two visibility settings.
  • The first controls the visibility of your user name. If you check anonymous, nobody (except you) will see who made the statement.
  • The second option is similar to the viewable-for option during the regular posting and controls the visibility of the complete review or comment. You can set your statement viewable for anyone (public), for a group or for your friends (other) or only for yourself (private).
Everyone can discuss everyone's posted resources. Thus, the fact that you might own a post which has a rating, does not imply that you where the one rating it.

What do the stars represent?

When writing a review, the stars you assign represent your personal opinion about the publication or web page that is discussed.
The stars displayed next to each post represent the average rating over all reviews. The discussion page also shows a distribution of all ratings. The average also includes the ratings of reviews that have a limited visibility (and thus might be invisible to you).

What should I write?

The discussion feature is intended enable a lively online discussion about published literature and web pages. From a simple one-liner to your full-blown and detailed scientific review everything is welcome.
We hope, that the new feature will facilitate communication and improve the exchange of thoughts and ideas about news, trends and the state of the art in science.

Happy reviewing, rating, commenting, discussing and (as always) tagging!

Release 2.0.16

With some delay, today we upgraded BibSonomy to 2.0.16. We also updated our publicly available libraries at our Maven repository.
We are happy to announce, that this release includes the first version of a new major feature: Discussions and Reviews. We'll go into detail about that in our next blog post. But take a look at the stars you'll now find at the bottom right of every post and the new discussion link under each post.
Furthermore, new are:
  • two new hidden system-tags: sys:unfiled and sys:jabRef:<someArgument>
  • the extended functionality of the URL-parameter sortPage (sorting bookmarks is now possible)
  • more allowed file types for your private document upload.
The next release is scheduled for July 27th.

Happy tagging!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The structure of author/editor names in publications

As many of you have noticed, BibSonomy stores author (and editor) names in the order "First Last", e.g., "Donald E. Knuth".
For most names that is no problem, but there are also names that get broken by this "feature". For example, for the name of our colleague Beate Navarro Bullock the first name is erronously detected to be "Beate Navarro" but it really is only "Beate".

Such names can be handled correctly by storing them in the "Last, First" order, e.g., "Navarro Bullock, Beate" as it is understood by BibTeX and many other publication management systems.

Therefore, we plan to change BibSonomy's person name handling to always store author and editor names in the "Last, First" format.

For you as our users this has the following consequences:
  • Regardless of whether you enter your names in the "First Last" or "Last, First" format, they are always stored as "Last, First".
  • The post publication form and the BibTeX import will support both "First, Last" and "Last, First".
  • BibSonomy's BibTeX export will contain names in "Last, First" form.
  • All input and output of the "REST-API" will be in "Last, First" form.

There are certainly other things that might change and problems that we might find - we will post them in this blog.

We plan to introduce this change in our after-summer relase in September. We would be very glad to hear your comments or problems you expect.

What happened to some posts in our blog?

As you might have noticed, some recent posts (namely, from yesterday, 4th of July) seem to be older. That is true! Yesterday, we cleaned up the tags of our earlier blog posts and thereby also fixed some headlines. Unfortunately, that caused the posts to appear under yesterday's date. So just ignore them or read them again, if you like. :-)

Our next release is scheduled for this week and will include something very new many of you have been waiting for!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Feature of the week: a quick look into 2010

Complementing last week's review of 2009, we briefly look at our roadmap for 2010.

Posting Publications

An all-new redesign of the layout for and the process of posting publication references will be released in the beginning of 2010. We are currently testing the new implementation with a special emphasis on improved usability. With the help of two screenshots we want to give you some insights into the new posting dialogues.

The new entry page for posting without using the bookmarklet consists of four tabs which separate the four different ways of posting references to BibSonomy:
  • manually entering the details for one publication reference,
  • uploading a text snippet which contains references in EndNote or BibTeX format,
  • upload a file with references in EndNote/BibTeX format, or
  • entering a ISBN or DOI and let BibSonomy gather the publication metadata.

In particular the process of posting several publications at once will be improved. For example, you will be able to select which posts should be stored and correct errors. The dialog for posting one reference will be similar to the bookmark posting dialog with the important BibTeX fields title, author, year, etc. on top and the additional fields below the tag and group selection:

Full Text Search

We will migrate our full text search from MySQL to Lucene. This will improve the response time, add boolean search options, and allow you to search for words with less than four characters.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

As part of our efforts in the PUMA project, we are currently implementing a curriculum vitae page which allows you to show your profile information together with your latest publications on one page. That page can act as an entry page to your scientific work and possibly augment your homepage.

Major Release with improved performance and new features

Good news everyone - since this morning, we have successfully deployed a major new BibSonomy release! Usually, we try keep the release cycles small and release each feature separately; but as we optimized a lot of internal code in the last weeks and months, we built the new features on top of the updated infrastructure and released all of them right now.

All optimizations and new features were powered by PUMA, a German DFG-funded project. The internal migrations onto a more stable and cleaner framework should be transparent for you as our users - the only thing which you (hopefully) might experience is that everything runs faster and smoother. Apart from that, we added or updated the following functionalities (we just briefly describe them for now, and will present more details in followup posts in this blog during the next weeks):
Surely you've experienced the same problem as we did - sometimes you find a bookmark or a publication which is interesting for one of your friends. From now on, you can directly "send" these posts to other BibSonomy users - just add the tag 'send:FRIENDNAME' to the post, and it will appear in your friend's inbox!
CV page:
Another common requirement is that you want to have an easy-to-maintain CV page, featuring your personal details and publications. Have a look at my CV - BibSonomy supports you from now on in this task!
Enhanced filtering methods:
When retrieving posts, you can now add the tag 'sys:entrytype:ENTRYTYPE to filter the publications by their BibTeX entrytype. As an example, the following page shows you all publications of the user 'dbenz' which have the entrytype 'inproceedings':
Automatic DOI-Linking:
If a publication reference contains a DOI, a "DOI" link is now shown in publication lists.
New tag cloud controls:
Now you can limit the number of tags shown in tag clouds to the top x tags only! This feature is activated for all users to the top 50 tags and can be set back to the old behaviour (showing only tags that have a certain minimal frequency) on the settings page.
Improved user interfaces / dialogues:
We migrated several input dialogues onto a new internal framework, which results in an improved usability. Among them are the settings page, the post and edit publicaton page and the batch-editing of tags.
We performed intensive testing of all released features - if you should still encounter some anomalies, we would be highly grateful for any feedback or bug reports - just send us an email to In any case, we hope you enjoy the new features as much as we do!

Feature of the week: TagCloud

Today we are going to present you the brand new TagCloud, implemented in the newest BibSonomy release.
While using BibSonomy your TagCloud grows bigger and bigger and easily becomes unattractive.
To avoid this fact and additionally give you a better view about your most used tags, the new TagCloud will now be able to show only the top X tags of you.
Where X can be set in your settings page and has an default value of 50 (Pic. 1).

Pic. 1: Your new TagCloud settings.

So this means instead of a 2-page long TagCloud, you will have a small and clear TagCloud containing your top tags (Pic. 2 & 3).

Of course you can still use the old TagCloud, if you feel fine with your current TagCloud behaviour and dont want to change it. The TagCloud can be set back to the old behaviour in your settings page by setting
choice of tags to min Frequency.

Let's see it in action:

Feature of the Week: Next steps in BibSonomy

As all of you have probably noticed we are actively working on BibSonomy, releasing constantly new features and improvements. We are not only in the process of developing and implementing new features but we are also discussing the goals and features which we would like to achieve in the next one or two years, triggered by the current projects "PUMA - Academic Publication Management" and "Informationelle Selbstbestimmung im Web 2.0 - Info 2.0" both funded by the German research foundation DFG. With this post we would like to share our ideas with you and we hope for feedback from you. Some of these ideas are more concrete others are relatively vague. So, feel free to comment on all of them.

One of the next features which will be released soon will allow our users to rate bookmarks and publications within the system. We will make this rating information available for external systems like search engines. Thus such information is available to everyone as early as possible – similar to ratings e.g. in results of an online search for hotels. Following this line we plan to add a discussion functionality in form of tweets or comments in the usual way. It is also planed to extend BibSonomy to a full open reviewing system. The idea is to allow everyone to do all kinds of reviews – ranging from a simple comment for a web site to a full blown scientific review for publications.

Another potential direction we are thinking of is the better integration with eLearning systems. We will start with export functions but the plan is to find some way to allow for users of an eLearning system to add new posts to BibSonomy from within their eLearning platform.

With PUMA we started a first clone of BibSonomy together with our university library. It has a slightly different functionality but the core is the same. To be more flexible we will add open social features which will not only allow for a better integration of BibSonomy data into other systems (such as iGoogle, or many of your social networks) but also for a more flexible adaptation of our system's design. Another major feature will be the availability of synchronization options among systems to allow easy accessibility of your and everyones posts from any system (BibSonomy or one of the PUMA instances). We are working an a lightweight version within PUMA but the big solution is the goal we would like to reach in the future.

One current hype comes from the massive use of smartphones. We are thinking of developing apps for the most popular smartphone systems: Android and iPhone. One of the core challenges is the adaptation of the BibSonomy design for the small devices. However, we would not only work on improvements for small screens but also on the design for our regular web site. We are thinking about the improvement of the design and usability of the system in cooperation with professional design and usability experts.

Besides all these new features we will of course constantly work on the improvement of the system's speed, on the improvement of its current functionality and on fixing bugs.

We hope you will like the new features and we are looking forward to your feedback. Please let us know your wishes and we will try to find a way to incorporate them into the system.

Happy Tagging

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