The BibSoup is our metaphor for an ocean of open bibliographic records represented in BibJSON, and freely available in bulk for reuse.
The use of lightweight technology has allowed us to create a radically new approach towards the collection of Open bibliography. Conventional wisdom would suggest that all bibliographic records should be normalised and validated by a central authority. In BibJSON, we take the view that any Open bibliographic record (with its provenance) is potentially valuable, even though there may be duplicates referring to “the same bibliographic object”. The question of determining whether two records relate to “the same object” is difficult and controversial and BibSoup deliberately avoids this. It consists of a number of collections of bibliography (initially in STM areas) united by a common syntax. It is left to humans and machines to develop annotations and equalities between the components of these collections. Thus, for example, various records for “the same paper” may be found in arXiv, DBLP and possibly even Medline.
The BibSoup approach encourages the contribution of Open bibliography without the overhead of de-duplication at contribution time. We expect that, as it grows, services will develop that help users and maintainers to manage the information. De-duplication into a central repository may be one solution (with the presumed platonic identity of STM bibliographic entries), but we also expect that software based on RDF will allow tools to manage alternative representations of bibliographic data, leaving the choice to the user as to what strategy they take. In short, current STM bibliography is a distributed mess. BibSoup takes this as a starting point and, where the political will and financial support is available, offers methods for tidying this up.
So a BibSoup is just a collection of bibliographic records represented in BibJSON and made available to other people. It may be on one instance of BibServer, in a file, or all of these combined; it is just a matter of scope.
We have made some BibJSON collections available via our own instance of BibServer at http://bibsoup.net.