Biblioscape 8 beta release

Dear Biblioscape Users,

Biblioscape 8 beta release has been made available at

Installation: For the beta release, we didn't package files inside a standard Windows installer. Instead, all required files are inside a self-extracting WinZip file. You can run bsp8.exe and unzip it to an empty folder. To run Biblioscape, double click the Biblioscape.exe file. To remove it, delete the Biblioscape folder. For Windows Vista users, do not unzip Biblioscape under "C:\Program Files\" because Vista doesn't allow programs to write to any file under that folder and sub-folders. Please unzip it to "C:\Biblioscape 8\" or any other place.

History: Since the version 7.0 release, we have added several new features in the subsequent 7.x releases. The most important one is the introduction of the new composition module which is designed for writing a thesis or book. In version 8, notes versioning support is added. The initial version 7 release changed the folder reference relationship from many-to-many to one-to-many. In version 8, the concept "Collection" is introduced. A reference still has to reside under one folder only, but it can be added to many collections. Version 7 laid the foundation for many useful features to be added in future releases.

Warning: We call this release an beta version for two reasons. First, the application is not fully tested. It will take another 3-6 months to make it a stable release. Therefore, do not use it in a production environment. This release is only meant for testing and learning, so hardcore Biblioscape users can provide us with feedback to polish and improve it. Second, there is no updated documentation yet. For version 8, we will move away from online documentation as experimented with during the version 7 release. A traditional off-line documentation will be added when version 8 is formally released.

Upgrade: If you are a current user of Biblioscape 5, 6, 7 and want to test this new release against your existing database, please install and run Biblioscape 8 first. Then make a copy of your existing database folder. Run Biblioscape 8 and go to "File | Open Database". Select and open the *.bsl file in your copied database folder. Biblioscape 8 will convert the database to the version 8 format. This process is time consuming. If your existing database has many thousands of records, the database upgrade process will take hours, so it is best to do it before you go to bed or leave your office. When converting version 5 or 6 databases, Biblioscape 8 will put all references under the folder "References" and change all existing folders to collections, so all the many-to-many relationships in your database will be maintained.

Features: Now it is time to talk about the things you really want to hear. What are the new features? Built on top of the milestone version 7 release, some interesting features have been added to make adding new references very easy. I will briefly describe the major changes under the following sections:


  • The folder panel is now called "Projects". Under the projects panel, users can add folders as well as collections. A record (reference, note, etc.) can reside only under one folder, but can be included in many collections. Both folders and collections are designed to represent a research project you need to work on.   
  • Inside the projects panel, you can go to all the following modules: references, notes, tasks, charts, categories, composition, library, deleted, links, and internet.
  • After clicking on a folder or collection, Biblioscape will display the number of records under that folder or collection so you can easily see how many records are under each folder and collection.



  • The Online Search tab has been added, and searching and capturing references has become very simple. Under the "Web Search" tab, two popular search engines are included: Google Scholar and PubMed Medline. Under the "Z39.50" tab, more than 2,000 sites are included, most of which are university library catalogs. For both "Web Search" and "Z39.50" search, users only need to enter a search string; the hits will be captured automatically into the "Online Search" folder. Users can then drag and drop them into other folders.    
  • When users browse to a reference, Biblioscape will automatically look for the full text of the selected reference using major search engines.
  • When users browse a reference, Biblioscape will automatically look for related references of the selected reference using major search engines.
  • If the full text of the selected reference is available, it will be displayed inside Biblioscape wether the file is in PDF or HTML format.
  • The following fields have been added to the reference table: Original_pub, Custom_date, Custom_number.
  • Users can now organize references under a folder or collection in a parent-child relationship. For example, you can put all book chapter references under the book reference.


Online Search allows users to search against major web search engines for references, as well as Z39.50 sources for university library catalogs.

A PDF file in the Attachment field will be displayed inside Biblioscape.

A web page in the URL field is displayed inside Biblioscape. Biblioscape searches the Web if the full text is not available in the database for an existing reference and displays it in the URL or PDF tab.

Biblioscape searches the Web to find the most relevant references to the currently selected reference.


  • Notes versioning support has been added. You can select a note and create a snapshot, then compare snapshots side by side. You can easily revert back to a snapshot.
  • Notes under a collection can have an independent parent child relationship as well as independent ordering. For example, note A can be the parent of note B in a folder, but when both notes are included in a collection, note B can be made the parent of note A.



  • When linking to a categories folder, if the link type is "Metadata", all the categories under that folder will be linked. This can be used to add metadata for a record.


  • The composition module is designed to help users write long research papers, theses, or books. The compiled final draft will include formatted citations and a bibliography, a Table of Contents, a formatted suggested reading list, a glossary, and an index. The composition module is only available in the Professional and Librarian editions.

Support: You are welcome to make suggestions and report bugs at the Biblioscape Beta forum ( We prefer you use the forum instead of email for bug reports and feature requests, so our communication can benefit others and provoke further feedback. Please post all issues with running alpha and beta releases at the Beta forum instead of other forums.


Version 8 looks very interesting.
1. Will there be a way using the Z39.50 to adjust what fields are imported? I import book searches from my university in version 7 and include the library call number so that I can quickly locate the books or send messages to my teaching assistant.
2. Will there be any way distinguish between searching for an author, or searching for a topic, title, etc.
(I currently use the various search options on our library page and then use capture feature when I find individual titles that work. This has been a very nice feature of version 7 although I can see that most people might have trouble configuring the parameters for the capture feature. Will that be dropped from version 8?)
I have had the same problem others reported getting a check mark to indicate which libraries I want to search.

Dr. Robert Masson

1. The import filter used

1. The import filter used is called "MARC 21 XML". You can edit it. The Call Number is already mapped to a field. So if that info is available, it should be imported.

2. Yes. If you click on the third button, an advanced search panel will be shown. So you can limit your search term to a field that is supported by the Z39.50 server. You can still use web browser to search your university library. That feature is not dropped. Z39.50 based search is added in versioin 8.

3. The mark column is removed. It is not meant to indicate which library is to be searched. It is meant to mark which sites are the favorite. Now only favorite sites are displayed. You can double click a site to show all the sites and mark you favorite sites.