Wednesday, February 29, 2012

BibSonomy Release 2.0.22 - The one with the new Layout

Today, we released BibSonomy in version 2.0.22. The release contains several bug fixes, some internal clean up ...
... and BibSonomy's new design!

If you've read last week's post you already knew, what to expect. Now you can enjoy the real thing. The new layout is based on the design of Daniil Tanygin. All of BibSonomy's functionality has been kept available. Some of it is now more easily accessible: Check out those new buttons we've put above the sidebar for managing your inbox, your basket, your tags, spheres, and settings.
Also new are the preview pictures next to each post. While they tell you the BibTeX type (like article, book, proceedings, ...) as default, once you've uploaded your own copies of publications they will show you previews of them.

We hope, that the new design will make BibSonomy
  • more structured
  • better arranged
  • more comprehensible and accessible for newcomers
  • and simply more beautiful.

For newcomers, there has been the appearance setting in your personal settings, with two options "simple" and "advanced". If you are missing entries from your myBibSonomy menu, this might be because this option is set to simple in your settings.

If you have any comments regarding the new layout please let us know (via e-Mail, Twitter or using the discussion options below this post).
We'll report more on some particular changes in the layout in our following feature of the week posts.

The release also included
  • further allowed file types for the private documents upload (htm, html, epub) and
  • a similar users section on the spheres page.

Enjoy the new look!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feature of the Week: Next Week's release

In the past weeks we were busy implementing BibSonomy's new look we announced in December. In this post we present a preview of the new layout you will experience from the next week on. Let's start with a screenshot of the start page for logged-in users:

As you can see: the general layout is the same: at the top the blue navigation and search bar, to the right the sidebar and to the left the bookmark and publication lists. The most obvious change are probably the new icons on the left of each post:

They show the type of the bookmarked publication, in this case a conference talk ("inproceedings"). In case you have uploaded a document to the post, its preview is shown on some pages (user and group pages). For bookmarks we plan to add screenshots (a student is already working on this). The yellow "sash" highlights your own posts. If you hover with the mouse over a post, it is highlighted by a yellow background and the new action icons appear that allow you to pick the post for the clipboard (formerly "basket"), edit, or delete it.

Actions you can do with all posts on the page are now all accessible at the top gear of each list:

Just hover with the mouse over the gear and you can access the options to export and sort your posts, pick or edit them. Another new menu can be found at the top of the sidebar:

This menu allows you to quickly access some unique features of BibSonomy. The first two icons guide you to your inbox and your clipboard (formerly "basket") and show how many posts they contain. With the next icon you can access your spheres, the edit tags page, your settings, this blog, and the help.

We hope that you will like the new layout and forgive us possible bugs that you will certainly find. Until then we try to decrease your chance of finding a bug by intensively testing the new layout.

Happy bookmarking!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Feature of the week: Discussed pages for groups

In a science group two important aspects of the work with literature are the processes of sharing it and of exchanging ideas and thoughts about it among the colleagues in your team. For the latter, we have introduced the discussion features last year.
With the last release we added a new page, that facilitates discussions within a group. Similar to the general discussed posts page and the discussed posts pages for single users, the new page displays the posts, discussed by members of a group.

It can be reached eiter

The new page gives you an overview about what is going on in your group. It is especially useful in combination with the group privacy setting of discussion contributions (reviews and comments). The combination allows for a group-internal discussion in which the group's members can find out, what colleagues have read and especially, what colleagues liked and disliked.

Using the group discussions can be a real time saver. Before reading a new paper, simply check if someone in your group has not already read it and thus can tell you about it. On the other hand, you can use comments and reviews to tell your colleagues about great publications or warn them about bad ones.

If you are part of a research group, you might also want to take a look at our "usecase group discussion" in BibSonomy's help section.

Enjoy interesting discussions!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Feature of the week: Workover of DIN1505 export format

As most of knowledge workers know, a crucial issue when working with scientific references is how to properly format them when creating bibliographies or publication lists. There's so many possibilities - title first, author first, year in brackets, ... and many more. As Germans typically tend to define some standards and norms in such a case, since 1984 there exists the DIN-1505-2 norm (link in German only), which precisely defines a legible standard citation format.

Experienced BibSonomy users will notice that we're offering this export format since quite a while - but in fact, this was a rather simplified variant. Since our last release, our team member Hagen (thanks again!) meticulously examined the DIN-norm and implemented it as a JabRef export layout. If you want to see it in action, choose the "export button" on top of any publication list:
and choose "DIN 1505" (for the plain layout) or "DIN1505, grouped by year" (for a display grouped by year):
Here are two examples of the layout in action:
For those of you who are technically interested: The export layout consists of "typical" JabRef layout template files, along with a number of custom formatters written in Java. Both are publicly available via our Maven repository. We would be happy to get some feedback, if this filter is useful to you! In any case happy tagging & exporting,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Feature of the Week: OAuth for the API

BibSonomy's API allows you to access all of your posts programmatically. The API's help page describes how you can authorize your requests using your API key and secret. If you want to access BibSonomy within your application in behalf of a user, this approach is not feasible, as users had to store their API key and secret within your application.

OAuth is an established protocol for secure API authorization which allows users to grant third party applications access to their data without being obliged to enter credentials outside of BibSonomy.

How to access BibSonomy from you application using OAuth

1) Request an OAuth Consumer Key and Consumer Secret

Before your application can access BibSonomy's API, both applications must establish a secured communication channel. This is done by initially exchanging credentials, a so called consumer key which identifies your application and a corresponding consumer secret which is used for signing and verifying your requests. Both symmetric (HMAC) and public key (RSA) encryption is supported.
If you want to obtain a consumer key and consumer secret for your application, please write an email to

2) Implement OAuth's authorization dance

If a user grants your application access to his data in BibSonomy, the user is redirected back and forth between your application and BibSonomy for eventually passing a so called access token to your application which can than be used to authorize your requests to the API. This process is explained in detail in the OAuth user guide.

Esentially your application needs to redirect the user to BibSonomy's OAuth authorization page with a previously obtained temporarily credentials given as request parameters (e.g. the user authorizes your temporary credentials, you he will be either be redirected to your side (if you provided a call back url) or the user as to manually switch to your application. This authorized credential can then be used to obtain the access token which authorizes requests.

BibSonomy's OAuth Rest-API client for Java facilitates this process. If you use maven, just add the following to your pom.xml:

<name>Releases von BibSonomy-Modulen</name>



Alternatively you can download the jar files directly. Obtaining a temporarily credential is as easy as:
BibSonomyOAuthAccesssor accessor = new BibSonomyOAuthAccesssor(
String redirectURL = accessor.getAuthorizationUrl();

You now have to redirect the user to redirectURL. Afterwards, the previously obtained temporarily credential is transformed to an access token:

3) Make requests to BibSonomy's API

You can now use BibSonomy's rest logic interface to perform API operations.

RestLogicFactory rlf = new RestLogicFactory(
LogicInterface rl = rlf.getLogicAccess(accessor);

A running example can be found on the corresponding help page in BibSonomy.

If you have further questions, please feel free to write a mail to