I'm searching a tool to visualize connections between bibtex entries, for example same autor, references, same conference etc. The Visual Explorer from Microsoft has this feature, but I want to create those visualizations for my bibliography :-) I can use tags and "intelligent folders" in my management software of course but I prefer a graph visualization.

  • The Visual Explorer you linked looks a little bit like the citation map on webofknowledge.com (but nicer) – matth Feb 1 '12 at 14:43
  • have you looked at the 'Computational Complexity' images on pp73-75 of the tikz manual? – cmhughes Feb 28 '12 at 2:59
  • @cmhughes thank you, I will give it a try... – strauberry Feb 28 '12 at 12:46
  • Where did you want this visualization to output to? Anywhere? Perhaps processing.js could be used for this. – MercurialMadnessMan Mar 2 '12 at 20:15

It looks like a tool that analyzes a given .bib file and visualizes relations between entries like same author or same conference does not yet exist. I could find neither a webservice nor a tool for installation that would do this.

  • Thank you for your answer! I feared someone would say that :-) Would such a tool be interesting for you too? – strauberry Mar 2 '12 at 11:31
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    Yes, that would be interesting for me as well and probably for some more persons. – matth Mar 2 '12 at 11:59
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    In JabRef, we started to work on it: github.com/JabRef/jabref/pull/2041. For very old versions of JabRef, there is the PRRV plugin. – koppor Apr 18 '17 at 8:05

Although I have not used this feature myself, the newest version of biber outputs "to GraphViz instead of .bbl in order to help visualise complex bibliographies with many crossrefs etc."

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    Not really a solution, but at least it something interesting I did not know before. – matth Mar 3 '12 at 12:24

This is possible with the following two tools:

First, import your .bib file into NWB, then extract the authors, pubs, or whatever through the Scientometrics menu. Finally, right-click on the graph this creates and export it as GraphML.

Now open Gephi and import the GraphML file you just created. With Gephi, you can visualize the interrelationships between authors and citations.

  • Both of these are really powerful tools with lots of options, but there is documentation that will probably help with whatever specific scenario you have in mind. For example, take a look at nwb.slis.indiana.edu/community/?n=LoadData.BIB to read more about what NWB can do with BibTeX information. – Ian Dennis Miller Sep 15 '12 at 22:44
  • @Could you please tell how to convert *.bib files into *.nwb – user2536125 Dec 9 '13 at 15:43
  • NWB will import the .bib file natively, through its bibliometrics interface. After you have loaded the .bib file, you can use the NWB's regular save/export features to save in any format supported by NWB. – Ian Dennis Miller May 24 '14 at 15:58

bibliometrix is an R package that incorporates several methods for bibliometrics analysis. It also includes tools for visualizing bibliographic networks. From their introduction page:

Visualizing bibliographic networks

All bibliographic networks can be graphically visualized or modeled.

Here, we show how to visualize networks using function networkPlot and VOSviewer software by Nees Jan van Eck and Ludo Waltman (http://www.vosviewer.com).

Using the function networkPlot, you can plot a network created by biblioNetwork using R routines or using VOSviewer.

Types of networks include:

  • country scientific collaboration
  • co-citation network
  • keyword co-occurrences
  • conceptual structure map
  • topic dendrogram
  • factorial map of the documents with the highest contributions
  • factorial map of the most cited documents
  • historical direct citation network


Taken from their vignette:

Historical Direct Citation Network

The historiographic map is a graph proposed by E. Garfield (2004) to represent a chronological network map of most relevant direct citations resulting from a bibliographic collection.

The function generates a chronological direct citation network matrix which can be plotted using histPlot:

# Create a historical citation network
histResults <- histNetwork(M, min.citations = 1, sep = ";")

## WOS DB:
## Searching local citations (LCS) by reference items (SR) and DOIs...
## Analyzing 8702 reference items...
## Found 49 documents with no empty Local Citations (LCS)

# Plot a historical co-citation network

net <- histPlot(histResults, n=15, size = 10, labelsize=5)

Historical Direct Citation Network

##  Legend
##                                                                  Label Year LCS GCS
## 1                  DEGLAS F, 1986, LIBRI DOI 10.1515/LIBR.1986.36.1.40 1986   2   8
## 2              BROADUS RN, 1987, SCIENTOMETRICS DOI 10.1007/BF02016680 1987   5  38
## 3           BROADUS RN, 1987, J EDUC LIBR INF SCI DOI 10.2307/40323625 1987   2   2
## 4               PERITZ BC, 1990, SCIENTOMETRICS DOI 10.1007/BF02020148 1990   2   5
## 5               SENGUPTA IN, 1992, LIBRI DOI 10.1515/LIBR.1992.42.2.75 1992   4  20
## 6                   CRONIN B, 2000, J DOC DOI 10.1108/EUM0000000007123 2000   4  20
## 7            HOOD WW, 2001, SCIENTOMETRICS DOI 10.1023/A:1017919924342 2001   2  71
## 8  KOSTOFF RN, 2002, J POWER SOURCES DOI 10.1016/S0378-7753(02)00233-1 2002   4  34
## 9            KOSTOFF RN, 2005, ENERGY DOI 10.1016/J.ENERGY.2004.04.058 2005   2  39
## 10    HOLDEN G, 2005, SOC WORK HEALTH CARE DOI 10.1300/J010V41N03\\_01 2005   5  22
## 11    HOLDEN G, 2005, SOC WORK HEALTH CARE DOI 10.1300/J010V41N03\\_03 2005   4  34
## 12         ABRAMO G, 2009, RES POLICY DOI 10.1016/J.RESPOL.2008.11.001 2009   5  43
## 13        ABRAMO G, 2011, SCIENTOMETRICS DOI 10.1007/S11192-011-0352-7 2011   2  35

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