Dear Biblioscape Users,
Biblioscape 7 alpha release has been made available at http://www.biblioscape.com/download/bsp7.exe.
Installation: For the alpha release, we didn't package files inside a standard Windows installer. Instead, all required files are inside a self-extracting WinZip file. You can just run bsp7.exe and unzip it to an empty folder. To run it, double click the Biblioscape.exe file. To remove it, delete the Biblioscape folder.
History: In the past, we would normally release a major upgrade every 1-2 years. But version 7 took 2-3 years. There are two reasons. First, in order to implement user suggested features and move this application forward, we have to restructure the database schema. The application has to become a multi-window application instead of a single window application. These requirements mean a major rewrite that is time consuming. Second, we want to add as many features as possible to this release, then, polish them in subsequent releases. Making all the big changes in one release will minimize the upgrade learning curve for future users. Because of these reasons, the release date has been postponed several times. That is why we decided to give all the customers who purchased Biblioscape in 2006 a free upgrade to version 7. The repeated delays have made some users unhappy. I sincerely apologize.
Warning: We call this release an alpha 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 feedbacks to polish and improve it. Second, there is no updated documentation yet. I will add documentation piece by piece at http://support.biblioscape.com/handbooks. Each page is open to comments. If you want to add pages to the online documentation book, you can do it after becoming a TeamBsp member. Sometimes, user added documentation is more valuable to others from the same field or with a similar background.
Upgrade: If you are a current user of Biblioscape 5 or 6 and want to test this new release against your existing database, please install and run Biblioscape 7 first. Then make a copy of your existing database folder. Run Biblioscape 7 and go to "File | Database | Open Database". Select and open the *.bsl file in your copied database folder. Biblioscape 7 will convert the database to version 7 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 better to do it before you go to bed or leave your office.
Features: Now it is time to talk about the things you really want to hear. What are the new features? Because this is the most important release since version 4, the amount of change is huge. I will briefly describe the major changes under the following sections.
- The application has 3 panes: folder, records list, and tabs pane. The tabs pane is new and it is mainly used for querying the records. Both folders pane and the tabs pane can be hidden or minimized.
- You can now manually change the ordering of records in a tree structure. This applies to the folders, notes, tasks, charts, and categories modules.
- Cross module search is now possible. You can enter a search string to search against all the records from references, notes, tasks, charts, categories modules and the links.
- Highlighted search is supported for full text search (not advanced search). All the search words are highlighted in different colors in the hits record preview.
- Individual record is now displayed in a separate window, so you can have both records list and individual records displayed side by side. Or you can switch between them easily.
- Any record from any module can be linked to any other record from any module.
- All the records from different modules can be flagged in 8 colors.
- Color categories feature is added to all modules.
- The meaning of folders has changed. The relationship between a folder and the records under it has become one to many. A record can only be under one folder. The many to many relationship between folders and records in earlier releases are now handled by the categories module.
- In early releases, only references are organized by folders. Now all the records from references, notes, tasks, charts, and categories modules are organized by folders. It is very much like the way Outlook folders work.
- You can now convert any search to a search folder. The search folder can be organized the same way as a regular folder in the folder tree. A search folder can only retrieve records from the same module.
- Notes are displayed in the reference record window. User can now add or edit notes without leaving the reference window.
- Linked records are displayed in the preview pane.
- The folder field can be used as the subject header in subject bibliography.
- Bug fix in reference format and import engines.
- Notes records are now organized by folders. User can manually re-order each note in a notes tree.
- References are displayed in the note record window. User can search, link, and cite references without leaving the note record window.
- An organization chart view is added to display the notes list.
- The note editor formatting features are improved.
- Tasks records are converted from a table structure to a tree structure. So you can have sub-tasks.
- The task orders can be manually changed.
- You can now easily link folders, references, notes, tasks, charts, and categories records to individual chart objects. So a chart can be used to model your data.
- This new module is added for tagging records from other modules.
- Categories module can be used as the center piece for information management. Topic maps like features are supported for knowledge organization and management.
Support: You are welcome to make suggestions and report bugs at the Biblioscape Beta forum (http://support.biblioscape.com/forum/36). We prefer you use the forum instead of email for bug reports and feature requests, so our communication can benefit others and provoke further feedbacks. Please post all issues with running alpha and beta releases at the Beta forum instead of other forums.