|My name is Olaf Winkelhake. |
For a living I am professor of health economics at the RheinAhrCampus located 30 miles south of Cologne, Germany.
I'm the guy who created the great-great-grandfather of Bibliographix about 20 years ago (1990) when I started working on my Ph.D. thesis in economics. Over these two decades the application evolved from a rather simple cardfile thing to a full blown reference manager with word processor integration. The following paragraphs are some personal remarks that try to describe the "philosophy" of Bibliographix and my "philosophy" developing it.
You may have already guessed it: Bibliographix has never been much of a really commercial application.It helps keeping my coffee machine running and it helps paying the mortgage of our family's home but I never thought about quitting my job, doing this full time, hire people and earn heaps of money. I love my job too much to do so and in addition economists usualy make bad business people ;) Talking bad business: Bibliographix is a free software, with "free" as in "free beer". So what keeps the coffee machine going? Support.
Although I strongly disagree on many things, Eric Raymond writes in his essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar I am a follower of his rule #1:
Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch.
To me this has always been unique with Bibliographix. I use it all the time and if I wouldn't have the time to read the stuff to feed into Bibliographix anymore, the fun of developing it would be gone.
A major experience I gained supporting Bibliographix users is, that there is an incredible variation in working methods. This means that although the itching is similar to most people, there are many different ways of scratching. It took me a while and several releases of the application to ponder on this.
|I can't help being an economist. We love this kind of graph... We even sometimes dream in them ;)|
Having talked to many users from different faculties I came to the conclusion to agree with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Less is More. At least in terms of reference management. Why is this? It is very tempting to add features and options to an application to fit it better to the needs of individual users. There are some basic features noone wants to miss but as a rule of thumb, 50% of all possible features and options cover 95% of all needs. If you significantly want to go beyond this magic figure, things quickly grow painful.
You may think that it's only an additional 5% to go to 100%. That's right. From your point of view, but not from mine. Your additional 5% might be totally different from mine and the same applies to Alice, Bob and Chris, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. So it turns out we have the choice
between a rather simple to use application (50% of all features conceivable) that covers most of needs (95%) of all users and a rather difficult to use application (twice as many features) that merely cover an additional 5%. Or put it the other way round: You can kick out 50% of the features, thus boosting usability and only loose 5% relevant features.
The philosophy of Bibliographix is trying to be located in the dotted area of the graph. This means I try to include all features that are frequent itches. Drop me a mail to
if you think I'm missing one of these frequent itches.
For the usual blah: Read the Disclaimer.