How to proceed with the development of the Docear4LibreOffice add-on?

More than half a year ago, we started a call for donation to pay a freelancer who wanted to develop an add-on for LibreOffice and OpenOffice, comparable to Docear4Word. Originally, we estimated that it would take about 2 months before the work was completed, or at least a decent demo version was ready to released. Well, that estimate wasn’t quite precise – the developer hasn’t finished even an alpha version yet. In addition, we are still missing a significant amount of donations to fully pay the developer ($1,000 are missing).

The question arises, how to proceed? We see the following options:

1. Just wait 

The freelancer is still working on the add-on. So, most likely he will finish the add-on some day – maybe in 2 months, maybe in 6 months, maybe in a year. However, I have to point out that my satisfaction with the current progress and outcomes are not overwhelming. Personally, I have some doubts that the final add-on will meet the quality expectations I have, and that probably most Docear users have.  However, I suggest you get an idea of the add-on yourself. The freelancer sent me a demo version that you can try out. To do so, download the add-on, store it on your hard drive, and open the downloaded file with LibreOffice or OpenOffice. This should open an installation dialog, and you need to confirm all messages in the dialog. After the installation, you should restart Libre/OpenOffice. If you are using OpenOffice, you will have a Docear entry in the menu and in the tool bar (see screenshot below). If you are using LibreOffice, you will only have an entry in the menu.


Docear 1.1.1 Beta with Academic Search Feature

As you may know, Docear features a recommender system for academic literature. To find out which papers you might be interested in, the recommender system parses your mind maps and compares them to our digital library with currently about 1.8 million academic articles. While this is helpful and might point you to papers relevant for your general research goals, you will sometimes have to find information on a specific topic and hence search directly.

Based on our knowledge about recommender systems and some user requests, we decided to implement a direct search feature on our digital library. I am very grateful to Keystone, who supported me in visiting Dr. Georgia Kapitsaki at the University of Cyprus (UCY) in Nicosia for a full month to work on this idea. Dr. Kapitsaki’s has already supported us in our work on Docear’s recommender system in July 2013. Her knowledge about the inner mechanics and her ideas on the the search engine were essential for the implementation and the research part of the project.

How to use it

You can access the search feature from Docear’s ribbon bar (“Search and Filter > Documents > Online search”) or by double-clicking the “Online search” entry in Docear’s workspace panel. Since both the recommender system and the personalized search engine make use of your mind maps. you need to enable the recommendation service in Docear.

Screenshot from 2014-07-07 15:19:39

After opening the search page, you will see

  • a text box for your search query,
  • a “Search” button, and
  • several buttons below the text box reflecting search terms you might be interested in. If Docear does not have enough data to decide about your interests, this part remains empty.



Docear’s new workspace and workflow concept: We need your feedback!

In the past years, Docear evolved to a powerful software for managing literature and references. However, we have to admit that Docear is still not as user friendly as we would like it to be. This is mainly caused by the workspace concept which is not very intuitive. We are aware of this problem and we would like to fix it. Therefore, we spent the last weeks with a lot of brainstorming and discussions, and we came up with a new concept. We believe it to be more intuitive, and more similar to the concepts you know from other reference managers. In the following, we would like to introduce our ideas for the new workspace concept and some other changes and we ask you for your feedback. Please let us know in the comments if you like our ideas, and how we could make the concept even better.

This is how the new workspace panel would look like after you freshly installed Docear and sorted a few PDFs including annotations (click the image to enlarge it).

There are four main categories in the workspace panel (left).


Who wants to develop Docear4LibreOffice or Docear4OpenOffice?

Docear4LibreOffice and Docear4OpenOfficeA few months ago we released Docear4Word. Docear4Word is an add-on for Microsoft Word that allows you to insert and format citations and bibliographies very easily in MS Word. Many of our users love Docear4Word. However, not all of our users are using Microsoft Word but many are using OpenOffice or LibreOffice. One of them is Stephen from Uberstudent which is a Linux distribution for learners. Stephen, as many others, urged us to develop an add-on, comparable to Docear4Word, for Libre of OpenOffice. Unfortunately, we don’t have the expertise to do this.

Therefore, we would like you to help us. Do you have experience in developing add-ons for LibreOffice and/or OpenOffice? Then, please contact us. We have prepared a description of what Docear4Libre/OpenOffice should be able to do. Read it carefully, and tell us how long you would need to implement it. And don’t forget to tell us how much money you would want for it. Exactly, we are not expecting you to do it for free. We would be willing to pay something for it. Once we found an appropriate developer we will ask our users to donate for Docear4Libre/OpenOffice and give a good amount ourselves. Also Stephen will ask the users from Uberstudent to donate.


Three new research papers (for TPDL’13) about user demographics and recommender evaluations, sponsored recommendations, and recommender persistance

After three demo-papers were accepted for JCDL 2013, we just received notice that another three posters were accepted for presentation at TPDL 2013 on Malta in September 2013. They cover some novel aspects of recommender systems relating to re-showing recommendations multiple times, considering user demographics when evaluating recommender systems, and investigating the effect of labelling recommendations. However, you can read the papers yourself, as we publish them as pre-print:

Paper 1: The Impact of Users’ Demographics (Age and Gender) and other Characteristics on Evaluating Recommender Systems (Download PDF | Doc)

In this paper we show the importance of considering demographics and other user characteristics when evaluating (research paper) recommender systems. We analyzed 37,572 recommendations delivered to 1,028 users and found that elderly users clicked more often on recommendations than younger ones. For instance, users with an age between 20 and 24 achieved click-through rates (CTR) of 2.73% on average while CTR for users between 50 and 54 was 9.26%. Gender only had a marginal impact (CTR males 6.88%; females 6.67%) but other user characteristics such as whether a user was registered (CTR: 6.95%) or not (4.97%) had a strong impact. Due to the results we argue that future research articles on recommender systems should report demographic data to make results better comparable.


Docear at JCDL 2013 in Indianapolis (USA), three demo papers, proof-reading wanted

Three of our submissions to the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) were accepted. They relate to recommender systems, reference management, and pdf metadata extraction:

Docear4Word: Reference Management for Microsoft Word based on BibTeX and the Citation Style Language (CSL)

In this demo-paper we introduce Docear4Word. Docear4Word enables researchers to insert and format their references and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, based on BibTeX and the Citation Style Language (CSL). Docear4Word features over 1,700 citation styles (Harvard, IEEE, ACM, etc.), is published as open source tool on, and runs with Microsoft Word 2002 and later on Windows XP and later. Docear4Word is similar to the MS-Word add-ons that reference managers like Endnote, Zotero, or Citavi offer with the difference that it is being developed to work with the de-facto standard BibTeX and hence to work with almost any reference manager.