Thursday, August 18, 2016

BioStor updates: nicer map, reference matching service

BioStor now has 150,000 articles. When I wrote a paper describing how BioStor worked it had 26,784 articles, so things have progressed somewhat!

I continue to tweak the interface to BioStor, trying different ways to explore the articles.

Spatial search

I've tweaked spatial search in BioStor. As blogged about previously I replaced the Google Maps interface with Leaflet.js, enabling you to draw a search area on the map and see a set of articles that mention that area. I've changed the base map to the prettier "terrain" map from Stamen, and added back the layer showing all the localities in BioStor. This gives you a much better sense of the geographic coverage in BioStor. This search interface still needs work, but is a fun way to discover content.

Screenshot 2016 08 18 14 04 03

Reference matching

In the "Labs" section of the web site I've added a demonstration of BioStor's reconciliation service. This service is based on the Freebase reconciliation service used by tools such as OpenRefine, see Reconciliation Service API. The goal is to demonstrate a simple way to locate references in BioStor, simply paste references, one per line, click Match and BioStor will attempt to find those references for you.

This service is really intended to be used by tools like OpenRefine, but this web page helps me debug the service.


BioStor is part labour of love, part albatross around my neck. I'm always open to suggestions for improvements, or for articles to add (but remember that all content must first have been scanned and in the Biodiversity Heritage Library). If you are involved in publishing a journal and are interested in getting it into BHL, please get in touch.