BibGlimpse Installation

The BibGlimpse package comes with an automated setup script. A standard installation under Linux is hence achieved in four steps:

  1. Download BibGlimpse
  2. Extract the files
    tar -xzf bibglimpse.tar.gz;
    cd bibglimpse;
  3. Configure target directory (using any editor, e.g. emacs)
    emacs BibGlimpse.SETUP;
  4. Run Install script

Upon successful installation, you can then access BibGlimpse from your web browser:


Detailed informations about requirements before installation, the steps performed by the BibGlimpse.SETUP script, as well as how to configure BibGlimpse to work with an existing Apache server are documented below.


BibGlimpse builds on the established Webglimpse search software, which in turn relies on the glimpse search engine. While glimpse is coded in C, BibGlimpse and Webglimpse are mainly written in Perl with some additional BASH scripts to interface with the glimpse executables and the pdftotext converter, that transforms PDF files into plain text. Web access to BibGlimpse and Webglimpse is provided by an Apache server supporting CGI. Your system therefore needs to meet the following requirements, in order to run BibGlimpse:

For examples how to setup your system to meet the BibGlimpse requirements, please refer to the Setup examples page. There, we provide example scripts that automatically install all required packages on the latest 64 bit versions of three of the most common Linux distributions, namely ubuntu 8.04.1, fedora 9 and openSUSE 11.0. Besides, the BibGlimpse.SETUP script tries to warn you about missing components upfront, by testing for these requirements.
Local Apache 2.2.9 installation

In case you do not have an Apache server installed, the BibGlimpse package provides the option to automatically compile Apache 2.2.9 in a non-privileged, local path according to the Apache Installation documentation To do that manually, rather than from BibGlimpse.SETUP, just run

tar -xzf bibglimpse.tar.gz;
cd bibglimpse/apache;
tar -xzf httpd-2.2.9.tar.gz;
cd httpd-2.2.9.tar.gz;
./configure --prefix=/some/local/path;
make install;
cd /some/local/path;

and start the server on a non-standard port, e.g., on port 4080:

mv conf/httpd.conf conf/httpd.conf.old
sed -e "s^Listen 80^Listen 4080^" < conf/httpd.conf.old > conf.httpd.conf;
./bin/apachectl -k start;

Configuring BibGlimpse.SETUP

There are actually only two things that one needs to specify for running the BibGlimpse.SETUP:

Both are defined by editing the corresponding variables in BibGlimpse.SETUP directly:

# Define BibGlimpse installation path
# Install Apache locally ...
LOCAPA='Y'; # [Y/N]
# ... OR use an existing Apache

Required Apache information includes the server name and port, paths to the httpd.conf file, the htdocs/ and the cgi-bin/ directory plus the equivalent URL on the server, as well as the name of the web user running the Apache. Moreover, you need to have permission to write into Apache's htdocs/ and cgi-bin/ directories, both as yourself and as the web user running the server. To this end, you might want to consult the sysadmin in charge of the Apache. Note that all the Apache settings become irrelevant, when a local installation is performed (LOCAPA='Y').

Inside BibGlimpse.SETUP

BibGlimpse extends Webglimpse's PDF indexing feature with automated bibliography retrieval from PubMed and by supporting user annotations.

BibBlimpse architecture

Technically, BibGlimpse consists of three parts:

Glimpse provides the powerful file indexing and query engine to make large collections of texts full-text searchable. It is a command line tool and was first developed by Udi Manber, Burra Gopal and Sun Wu at the University of Arizona in the early 90's.

Webglimpse is a web interface to search and manage archives indexed with glimpse. It has been widely used for over 10 years now and is maintained by Golda Velez.

BibGlimpse adopts Webglimpse's capability to index PDF files to enable its usage as a scientific reprint management tool. It adds automated bibliography retrieval from PubMed (implemented as a MEDLINE retriever Perl script) and supports user annotations.

Setting up BibGlimpse therefore comprises subsequent installation of glimpse and Webglimpse. With BibGlimpse code being woven into the Webglimpse package, some final modifications are then sufficient to enable the BibGlimpse features. Despite all these steps,

being automated in the BibGlimpse.SETUP script, we will nevertheless give a detailed description for each of them below. In addition there is also extensive documentation available from the Webglimpse installation site.

Compiling glimpse

The glimpse source code is included in the BibGlimpse package. It is unpacked and compiled according to:

tar -xzf bibglimpse.tar.gz;
cd bibglimpse/glimpse;
tar -xzf glimpse-latest.tar.gz;
cd glimpse-4.18.5;
./configure --with-file-end-mark='\t' --enable-structured-queries;
make install;

This will try to install glimpse in /usr/local/bin. If you do not have root rights, or if you want to install into another path, you will want to change this using configure with the --prefix flag or according to the Configure and Install glimpse section of Webglimpse. Either way, you need to remember where you installed the glimpse binaries to.

As a short sanity check of your glimpse installation, build and search a structured index for two files including blanks in the filenames with:

mkdir files;
echo -e "@FILE{ test\nfieldA{7}:\tbla bla\nfieldB{3}:\tfoo\n}" > files/test\ 1.txt;
echo -e "@FILE{ test\nfieldA{7}:\tfoo bla\nfieldB{3}:\tbla\n}" > files/test\ 2.txt;
glimpseindex -s -H . files/*;
glimpse -y -H . fieldA=foo;

If glimpse is installed properly, this will find exactly one hit for fieldA containing foo in files/test 2.txt.

Installing Webglimpse

Webglimpse has its own installation script. Interactively, it determines the web server configuration, compiles two short programs and creates the Webglimpse CGI scripts in the appropriate web server paths. A detailed description of all the information prompted is given on the Webglimpse Installation site. Starting from the BibGlimpse package this script can be called with

tar -xzf bibglimpse.tar.gz;
cd bibglimpse;

Note that the BibGlimpse.SETUP executes wginstall with,

cat wgInput.txt | perl wginstall | tee wgInput.log;

such that all handled parameters can be found in wgInput.txt and the corresponding output is entirely logged in wgInput.log. If you happen to encounter a problem installing Webglimpse, these files might thus contain helpful information. Note that these files also define the Webglimpse administrative login and password with the default admin and admin.

Adapting for BibGlimpse

To enable the BibGlimpse features, the standard Webglimpse distribution needs to be adapted appropriately (exchanging some files, setting some flags and paths).

The main purpose of these modifications is to make Webglimpse index PDFs with xpdf's pdftotext command. The 'Indexing PDF documents with xpdf' page describes the procedure to enable this Webglimpse feature in detail. For BibGlimpse, however, the relevant shell script was further extended, such that it does not only convert a PDF to text, but that it also calls the BibGlimpse script to retrieve the corresponding MEDLINE entry for the PDF in question.

To search PDFs and bibliography via Webglimpse's webinterface webglimpse.cgi, the above modifications would be sufficient. For appropriate display of bibliography and online editing of annotations, however, BibGlimpse provides its own interfaces wrsearch.cgi and wrrepos.cgi. The last modifications, hence, enable the usage of these two CGI scripts. Comments and explanations how the BibGlimpse.SETUP makes all these modifications are available in the script itself.

Besides looking at the output from running BibGlimpse.SETUP, you can also manually check if all adaptions have been made properly. In order to do so, search for the following patterns and files in the installations paths $WG2PRE and $APCGILOC, that you previously specified (If you have chosen the local Apache installation with LOCAPA='Y', set $APCGILOC=$WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/apache/cgi-bin for the commands below). Lines marked '#' show the expected output:

grep -rl 'Bioinformatics' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/;
# $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/
grep -r 'pdf' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/templates/.glimpse_filters;
# *.pdf |WGHOME|/lib/
# *.PDF |WGHOME|/lib/
grep -r 'pdf*' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/dist/wgfilter-index;
# Allow \.pdf$
grep -rl '|INDEXDIR| -s -z' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/templates/;
# $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/templates/wgreindex
grep -rl 'FILE_END_MARK = \"\\t\"' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/;
# $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/
grep -rl 'WRREPOS = 1' $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/;
# $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib/
grep -r 'my $WEBGLIMPSE_LIB=*' $APCGILOC/BibGlimpse/*;
# $APCGILOC/BibGlimpse/wrrepos.cgi: my $WEBGLIMPSE_LIB='$WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib'
# $APCGILOC/BibGlimpse/wrsearch.cgi: my $WEBGLIMPSE_LIB='$WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/lib'

Configuring the BibGlimpse archives

Before archives can be configured, the web server port needs to be defined in Webglimpse's wgsites.conf file. BibGlimpse.SETUP uses the sed command to edit this file. To check if the port is correctly set to the $APSERVERPORT you specified (or to 4080 if you chose the local Apache installation with LOCAPA='Y'), have a look at this settings file:

less $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives/wgsites.conf;

If server settings are fine, archives can then be configured via the Webglimpse webadmin interface, or via the corresponding command line tool wgcmd (cf. Webglimpse's 'Configuring an Archive' documents). Like for the Webglimpse installation script, you can call this tool manually with


The BibGlimpse.SETUP runs this tool by piping it a file with the required parameters, from the directory you unpacked the BibGlimpse package to:

cat wgcmdInput.txt | perl "$WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/wgcmd" | tee wgcmdInput.log;

So like for the Webglimpse installation, the handled settings as well as the received output are logged in wgcmdInput.txt and wgcmdInput.log.

Note that the BibGlimpse.SETUP creates two identical archives to enable indexing in background. To this end, BibGlimpse.SETUP moreover replaces the standard wgreindex script with one like below:

rm -f /tmp/.wg*;
"$WG2ARC1"/wrwgreindex \$1 "$WG2ARC2";

Before indexing, it is necessary to make the the archives directory accessible for the web user. If you have chosen the local Apache installation (LOCAPA='Y'), this is already done, since the user running the BibGlimpse.SETUP is identical with the user running the Apache. If you have installed to an existing Apache, this will most likely not be the case, so the BibGlimpse.SETUP will tell you to change the ownership of the archives directory to the web user:

chown -R $APWEBUSER $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives;
chmod -R u+w $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives;

Note that the chown command requires root rights, so you will probably have to consult the sysadmin managing your Apache server. Alternatively, if you can login as the web user, you can also do a work around the chown, with something like

cd $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2;
mv archives/;
sudo -u $APWEBUSER cp -rp archives;
sudo -u $APWEBUSER chmod -R u+w archives/;

Either way, the final step of the BibGlimpse.SETUP is to start indexing. Again, since the archives must be accessible via the web interface, it is important to perform this step as the web user. For the local Apache installation (LOCAPA='Y'), this is simply achieved by

cd $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives/1;

whereas users who installed to an existing Apache will have to run

cd $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives/1;
sudo -u $APWEBUSER ./wgreindex;

By that time, you should have created a file structure like in the example installation.

$WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/prints is the indexed reprints directory, containing PDFs (by default two sample PDFs come with the package) as well as the automatically retrieved MEDLINE and BibTeX entries:

ls $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/prints;
# 15601819.pdf
# v27p1517.pdf

According to your Apache settings, the BibGlimpse search mask will be accessible via:



By default reindexing is triggered upon uploading new files via the web interface, or upon modifying an annotation there. A manual cleaning of the index and reindexing can be triggered by calling:

rm $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/wg2/archives/1/.cache/*.abra;

To periodically reindex the $WG2PRE/prints/ directory, the $WG2PRE/wg2/archives/1/wgreindex command can be called from the crontab (cf. man crontab). As stated before, it is important to run the reindexing command as the web user. Webglimpse provides some additional documentation reindexing from crontab .

User management

To keep installation and maintenance overhead small, BibGlimpse was built without elaborate user management features. Exploiting simple directory tree structures and Apache's .htaccess directory-level configuration files, it is nevertheless easily possible to enable basic user management functionality; just give different users their own subdirectories in the indexed tree and arbitrarily restrict access with .htaccess files inside these directories. Apart from securing the repository from the outside, this will for instance also allow you to list all files of usera with a field search for name=usera# and the last user who changed an annotation will be displayed on the corresponding repository site.

Uninstalling BibGlimpse

To uninstall BibGlimpse you just need to remove the installation directory. If you are still running the local Apache, you have to stop the Apache first:

cd $WG2PRE;
./BibGlimpse/apache/bin/apachectl -k stop;
rm -rf BibGlimpse/;

In case you were using an existing Apache, you will also have to remove the scripts from its cgi-bin/ directory, as well as the symlink to your prints/ directory from the htdocs/ path.

rm -rf $WG2PRE/BibGlimpse/;
rm -rf $APCGILOC/BibGlimpse/;
rm $APHTDOCSLOC/prints;

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