Publishing a large bibliography on the web, with a faceted search interface?

I'm posting this to gauge the interest of the Zotero community in publishing bibliographies on the web, and making them searchable through a user-friendly, yet powerful faceted search interface. Here's the URL of such a website, that I have recently developed for a community of researchers that wanted to publish a bibliography of 11k+ items: http://quescren.concordia.ca/en/search. The data is stored in a group library on Zotero.org, and the software uses the Zotero API to sync the data into its own search index.

The first four "facets" in the search interface are actually separate collections in the library, and the hierarchy under each facet corresponds to the hierarchy of subcollections. This structure takes advantage of Zotero's capability to put the same item in multiple collections. The remaining facets are based on specific item fields. Bibliographic metadata is embedded in search results pages and individual item pages, letting visitors easily copy items into their own bibliography with a tool such as Zotero Connector.

The software is built in Python with the Flask framework. With some more work, it could be made generic and customizable enough to be useful to other people or organizations, open sourced, and supplemented with a proper test suite, proper documentation, etc.

The questions are: would you or your organization...

- want something similar?
- fund the development of something similar?
- rather host the software on your/its own servers, or subscribe to the software as a service?

Let me know what you think! If you'd rather reply in private, please write to david@whiskyechobravo.com.

Best,
David.
  • edited 6 days ago
    David, this is good work. I would be interested in more information regarding how this could be useful for a group bibliography to be published so the research community can benefit. Thus, there is no organizational interest or funds.

    There are other examples of similar effort, see http://www.firstworldwarstudies.org/bibliography.php
    This example might be built using https://wordpress.org/plugins/zotpress/ (but I'm not sure of that).

    See this discussion, https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/36304/examples-of-zotero-group-libraries-published-on-websites

    My bibliography organization is focused on tags and not collections. I would like to hear how your product is better than the current online zotero library.
  • @gurdas, thanks for the feedback. Yes, http://www.firstworldwarstudies.org/bibliography.php seems to have similar goals to http://quescren.concordia.ca. The main target audience for the tool I'm suggesting would probably be research groups like these.

    I can't yet speak of a product, as some work would be required to make the software generic enough for use in other projects, but say we have an open source product, pros and cons over sharing a bibliography directly through zotero.org might be as follows.

    Pros:

    - A user-friendly faceted search interface that accommodates both expert search and exploratory search needs. Keywords and filters can be combined in any order to refine or expand search results, helping the discovery process. Filters are only offered when they would return actual results, and the simple fact that the number of items associated with each filter is displayed may help the user quickly grasp what's in those search results.
    - Possible to choose the bibliographic style for search results. Search results look more like a bibliography and less like a database table.
    - Seamless integration into a larger website, or custom "branding" for the bibliography, though customization of the web design.
    - More detailed item view, showing the collections an item belongs to.
    - Some extra features such as printing, direct link to search on WorldCat, etc.
    - Possible to develop new features (thanks to the open source license).

    Cons:

    - Installation and customization require web development skills.
    - Self-hosting requires some software maintenance and has a cost.
    - Might be affected by future changes to the Zotero API.
    - Some features are missing, such as exporting items to files, but that could certainly change in the future. A lot more could be done; see last item under "Pros". ;-)

    I'm probably missing other pros and cons!
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