Wednesday, November 30, 2011

[Feature of the Week] BibSonomy Forecast: Partly (tag)cloudy!

Since its beginning, BibSonomy has undergone several changes - layouts were modified (who of you can still recall the early style from 2005?), new functions were added, internal modules were restructured to enhance performance, and many more. However, throughout these times, the very core of BibSonomy remained the same - namely to be a system to collaboratively annotate (bookmark and publication) resources using freely chosen tags. Despite the fact that the "Web 2.0 hype" is declining since quite some time, the usefulness of free social annotations is reflected e.g. in the usage of tags to organize questions at stackoverflow. So to use a pointed formulation, one could say that tags and their aggregation into tag clouds are a bit like the "heart" of BibSonomy as a social bookmarking platform.

Taking a look back in this way, we decided to polish up our tag clouds a bit. Since the last release, you will have noticed a slight but noticeable change: We've tried to make our tag clouds a bit "cloudier" and nicer. Mainly we've fixed the way how tag sizes are computed (as usually, larger and more visible fonts correspond to more frequently used tags; but we're scaling differently to convey a clearer picture), and changed the alignment. Here is how it looked before:

And here's the new look:
As you can see, it's no revolution, but just a bit nicer and cleaner. But because tags are to close to BibSonomy's (and of course our) heart, we're happy about this neat improvement. We've basically done this for all clouds - this means also for personal or group tag clouds. So we hope you like the new style as much as we do, and you can be even a bit happier when tagging :)


Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Release (2.0.20)

Yesterday we deployed our monthly release of BibSonomy - we're at version 2.0.20 now. The new improvements and features of this release are mainly of internal nature; in addition, we fixed a lot of bugs in order to make your overall usage experience better. Specifically, this release contained the following improvements:
  • First embedding of metadata to facilitate a structured access by search engines
  • fixed Delicious importer
  • fixed sphere dialogues
  • fixed authorization issue via Typo3 plugin
  • fixed layout problems on BibSonomy's mobile view
  • many further small bug & layout fixes
  • added new scraper for Google Books
  • repaired scrapers (Amazon, PubMed, Cell, CiteseerX)
  • adapted database indexes for faster response times
  • added support for synchronization to REST-API
In December, we will take a break from our monthly release cycle, to be prepared to start the new year 2012 with the next release. Until there, stay tuned, and happy tagging!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Short down time today

A short explanation on why BibSonomy was down this morning: Actually, BibSonomy was running fine but one of the routers which connects our university building with the internet was down. Unfortunately, we have no influence on the infrastructure which usually works very good. It took two hours before the router was working properly again. Sorry for this and lets keep our fingers crossed that the router will not go down again.

Feature of the week: Add new publications by ISBN

This week we present a small but - we think - nice feature and we hope it will save you a lot of time. While searching for interesting and new papers the boring part is often to collect all meta data for storing the new entry. We try to make this part as easy as possible and several earlier blog posts describe the bookmarklet or the underlying scraping service which extracts important information for you. If you do not have the necessary bookmarklet, you have to add it to your browser. The scraping service can also be utilized to add a publication identified just by its ISBN or DOI.

There are two ways to do this: The first way is directly via our web service. You start by clicking post publication in the menu and select the ISBN/DOI add dialog which looks like this:

Then you enter your ISBN or DOI and all the information is gathered for you and your are done by entering some keywords (tags) to describe the content. Try it e. g. with the following ISBN: 978-3898383325.

The other way is more common. Imagine, you were searching the web for something new and found a book you would like to remember. Unfortunately, the book you found was on one of the pages that we do not offer a scraper for. But on the page is an ISBN like on the publisher page of Robert's dissertation. Just highlight the ISBN and use your bookmarklet and all data will be collected. Before you press the button, your browser should look like this:

So, that's all for today and I hope this best practices helps you to save time and collect a lot of references for your work.

Happy tagging

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Feature of the Week: Discussion Statistics Box

This week's post is about a small addition we have made to the sidebar of BibSonomy's discussed-post-pages: a collection of some basic statistics describing discussion and review habits.
As you probably know from your own experiences people tend to have very different approaches when it comes to rating something. Even if they agree by trend in liking or disliking a resource, they might have very different ideas of how to express such an opinion. This makes it particularly hard to objectively compare two ratings - a problem that is known as inter-rater reliability.
For illustration consider some fictional (extreme) examples of BibSonomy users, rating a publication with 4.5 out of 5 possible stars:
  • jock: Jock assigns top scores to everything he doesn't particularly dislike. His rating of a publication with only 4.5 out of 5 indicates that there must be something seriously wrong with it.
  • g.rumpy: For him "I like it" means 2 out of 5 stars. Full score is not even an option and a score of 4.5 probably means, that it's the best stuff ever written.
  • mr.normal: Well, Mr. Normal is very normal and so is his rating distribution.
It is quite clear, that for each of those three the value 4.5 out of 5 means something very different. The new statistics box provides some information that can be used to interpret a user's rating by summarizing his previous ratings. Here is, what the statistics box could look like for our three characters:

The statistics box can be found on the discussed-posts-page of any user, e. g. here for user sdo:
Each box shows the rating distribution, the total number of ratings and the rating average by this user.

Another such box can be found on the general discussed posts page
Here, the statistics cover all ratings to any of the discussed publications or bookmarks displayed by any user.

Enjoy the new possibility to learn what other users might think about resources of your interest.

Happy Tagging!