Windows Live Academic Search and Word 2007

Yesterday, I was talking with Mike Buschman of Windows Live Academic Search and I set myself a challenge: I suggested to him that I could demonstrate the integration of scholarly publication search directly within Word 2007, all during the course of the presentation we were just about to attend (I had already seen the slides so I could code during the talk).

Yes, I did manage to do it within the time limits of the presentation. The screenshot below shows the end-result. The custom taskpane at the right allows one to search for keywords against Windows Live Academic Search. The user chooses a paper from the returned results to insert in the current document’s bibliography (if you haven’t seen Word 2007‘s bibliography-related features, you should check them out). Once the paper is in the bibliography, it can be inserted in the document as usual.

Most of the time was spent on figuring out the format of the XML structure expected by the Word 2007 bibliography-related object model. Since I couldn’t find the related documentation anywhere, I added few entries manually and then, using VBA, displayed them in a debug window. That gave me an idea on how to convert the XML returned by Windows Live Academic Search. The conversion is currently done in code but I would like to write an XSLT to do this. If it wasn’t for this XML translation, the entire effort would have taken just 10-15 minutes!

I will probably be writing more things like this in the future. Perhaps even articles to capture the process.

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