Testing dynamic bibtex plugins

Keeping publication lists up to date is a constant problem. One thing is to just manage to keep track of things myself, another is to publish the list on my personal web page, various project web pages, etc. I have done this manually up until now, but that just does not work any longer.

I have to register all my research activities (publications, lectures, interviews, etc.) in the Norwegian report system Cristin. While they manage to extract data from Cristin on my personal UiO page, the code is not (yet?) available to integrate with other web pages.

That means that I will have to figure out another way to get to the data as well. Since I already use BibTeX for handling my reference database, including my own publications, this would be the best way to start. For NIME 2011 I used the bibtex2web script to generate the proceedings listing. That worked fine, when I finally figured out all the different options. Creating a static set of HTML files is not a problem for a conference. However, my own publication list changes quite often, and then it makes more sense to have a dynamic solution. So I have looked at a few different solutions. The main goal has been to find something that minimizes the time needed to both maintain the script itself as well as updating the BibTeX content. So far I am testing two different solutions.

Since my personal web page is using WordPress, it was easy to start with the bibtex2html WordPress plugin. It is really easy to use: upload the php files to the WP plugin folder, and copy BibTeX code directly into any post/page. The parsed result can be seen on my publication list. I only did one minor tweak to the plugin, removing the two dots (..) that appeared after each link in the bibtex2html.php script.

However, since we also need to create a dynamic solution for our fourMs group, I have also tested bibtexbrowser. This is still just a php script, but it has some more formatting options, and can be more easily and flexibly embedded in other web pages. So this might be a good solution for our group. A few tests can be found here, here and here. A positive thing about the bibtexbrowser is that it also integrates Google scholar metadata. Unfortunately, though, I cannot get the UTF-8 support to work, so all Norwegian characters look funny. Another issue is that it creates its own publication categories based on the titles of publisher, e.g., it has created a separate “workshop” category. So I guess I will have to tweak this plugin quite a bit for it to be useful.

Conclusion: I like the simplicity and dynamic approach of both bibtex2thml and the bibtexbrowser, but since they do not work perfectly out of the box I will have to tweak them to get what I want. Also, none of these two php-based solutions support the display of abstracts. So all in all I think the bibtex2web script that I used for the NIME 2011 proceedings looks better. For now I will try the bibtex2html WP plugin on my personal web page, but I will probably suggest that we use the bibtex2web script for our group page.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.