What is BibServer? What happened to Bibliographica?

Time for another clarification on what work we are doing, and what various different acronyms mean.


BibServer is the software we are now working on; the aim of it is to provide a tool that enables individuals and small groups to quickly and easily share their collections.

Imagine you have a collection of metadata perhaps in a bibtex file, or in a spreadsheet (CSV) file, or from a reference management tool such as mendeley – or maybe even you do not have such a collection yet, but you know you need to create one. Well, BibServer would enable you to take that collection and build a search web page onto it, with nice features like faceted browsing and visualisations.

As opposed to reference management tools, the focus of BibServer is not on managing your collection; instead, we presume you have another way to do that – as most people do, such as your particular software, or a file on your local network where access is already controlled to particular staff members as required. Rather than duplicating all that effort, BibServer just functions at the point where you want to expose that collection.

BibServer is open source software. You can run your own. You can (soon) pay us to run a service for you. Or you can have a go on our example service.

If you want to make suggestions for new features, parsers or datasets, or offer to help in creating them, please see our software website and repo.


Bibsoup is our name for the general aggregation of all bibliographic records floating around in the world. When they are pulled together into a particular collection that someone cares about, they form a small bibsoup. Our example BibServer service is up and running at http://bibsoup.net, and there you can see some of our example collections. You could also create your own!


Bibliographica is the example service we set up during year 1 of JISC Open Bibliography. It demonstrates how to share a large collection such as the British Library British National Bibliography as Linked Open Data. It runs on the open source openbiblio software, which is available for anyone wishing to run such a service.

We will soon be porting the content of Bibliographica into a BibServer, to focus on maintaining the BibServer code base.


A quick note about BibJSON – our BibServer code works on indexes based on data in JSON format. This is in line with the aim of enabling people to quickly share their data online in a simple manner, as JSON is ubiquitous on the web and fits well with development of AJAX services. BibJSON is simply a way of describing what we expect to see in a particular JSON file, that allows us to easily share some attributes about collections and entries in collections. We are considering the value of further work on specifying BibJSON, and this will depend on feedback from the community.

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2 Responses to What is BibServer? What happened to Bibliographica?

  1. Pingback: Final report: JISC Open Bibliography 2

  2. Pingback: Final report: JISC Open Bibliography 2 | archaeoinaction.info

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