[openbiblio-dev] Tutorial on BibJSON

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Sun Dec 18 19:01:04 UTC 2011

On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 6:22 PM, Karen Coyle <kcoyle at kcoyle.net> wrote:

> Quoting Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk>:
>>> I think we should accommodate both approaches. Many people who compile
>> bibliographies are not going to be able to disambiguate authors - e.g. the
>> main search engines. I am one of the few people who can be easily
>> disambiguated (there are only 9 Murray-Rusts) unless grossly mangled.
>> BibSoup tells it as it is and allows people to normlaize or not.
> I agree with this. I'm still wondering what is intended by "object". It
> looks like it means that each name will be a separate value, rather than
> their being a string that can contain anything. Right?

This is useful for me as I am trying to get these ideas across in the video.

The basic syntax is
name : value

To distinguish the various uses of the word "name" we can call this:
key : value

key is always a string and either one of the allowed keys in BibJSON or a
namespaced string from elsewhere. A value can be EITHER a string OR an
object. So we can have:

"author" : "Murray-Rust"

but we can also have

"author : {
    "id" : "pm286",
    "name" : "P. Murray-Rust"

where everything inside the { ... } is an object. In this case it has  just
two compenents (id and name), but it could be more complicated:

"author : {
    "id" : "pm286",
    "name" : "P. Murray-Rust",
    "address": [
      "Chemistry Department",
      "Lensfield Road",

where the [...] contain a LIST of strings or objects. This is not
necessarily the most precise design (we could have city, country, etc.) but
will be adequate as we can usually parse geography well.

These structures can be nested indefinitely and the BibJSON software has to
be able to deal with it. We will create default behaviours for various
types of objects, for both string and object values.


Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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