History and overview

This bibliography, an ongoing project whose goal is to offer a reasonably complete database of publications in computational geometry, came into existence in 1986 when two lists of publications were merged into one and it was decided to continue from there. One of these lists was a compilation (by Edelsbrunner and van Leeuwen) of papers that was kept up to date until 1982 and which was published in 1983. At that point it contained 871 entries. The other was a more private list (by Guibas and Stolfi) of publications, which contained 913 entries when it was used to get this project started. After that quite some effort was put into cleaning up what we had, adding new publications (with help from Ronse, Smith, and Forrest), and beginning to augment entries with descriptive keywords. A first version was printed in October 1987 (another dated June 1988 was included as an appendix to Alok Aggarwal's MIT lecture notes) and copies were distributed with the intention that people use the bibliography for their work, correct it, add new papers, update manuscripts, reports or conference papers that appeared in journals, and send the corrected versions back for editing.

Through its early years, the bibliography was maintained through this paper-based system, first by Herbert Edelsbrunner and later by Joe O'Rourke. In 1990 we changed to an on-line approach to distribution and updating because of two observations. First, that the bibliography's value depends on how directly we in the community can use it in our day-to-day work of researching and writing. Second, that any method requiring updates to be edited one by one, by a single volunteer, cannot scale well beyond some critical rate of publication: the clerical work becomes onerous, and either quality or coverage must suffer.

Many hands make light work, and if those hands are editing electronic versions of the same document, version control software can merge their changes with little clerical overhead. Bill Jones has been coordinating the on-line form of the bibliography using such a distributed-maintenance strategy. The current version of the biblio can be retrieved via anonymous ftp as <ftp://ftp.cs.usask.ca/pub/geometry/geombib.tar.gz>. As with earlier paper versions, you are encouraged to use it actively, make additions and corrections, and send those changes to the coordinator (jones@cs.usask.ca) for integration into a new revision.

After unpacking the archive, you should preserve the original biblio source file of geom.bib in some read-only form (called geom-old.bib, say) and make a writeable copy for your actual changes. At merging time, you should send your changes in the form of a context diff ("diff -c geom-old.bib geom.bib") between the old and new files. Changes to any other file in the distribution can be reported in the same manner. At this end the patch program uses the diff to reconstitute your changed file, and RCS then combines it with others' contributions. If you have no access to a Unix system, you are updating only a few entries, or your contribution consists entirely of entries which are unknown to this bibliography, you are welcome to send them unadorned. Otherwise, you should please edit geom.bib yourself and send a diff -- there have been over 1800 entries changed in a single release and a one-person clerical bottleneck is as infeasible in electronic form as it was on paper. diff form is particularly important when changing any existing entries, since it ensures subtle corrections will be incorporated rather than being mistaken for duplicates and discarded.

You will also find an assortment of software tools in the archive, and a softcopy formatting of the bibliography is available in the ftp directory as geom.ps.Z (postscript, ~250 pages). David Johnson's STOC/FOCS bibliography inspired various aspects of the formatting, including author cross-referencing. However, you should note that we do not attempt special-case processing of authors' names: initials and diacriticals are printed as they were entered. The ftp directory also contains the file o-cgc19.ps.Z, which is the issue of Joe O'Rourke's computational geometry column discussing the bibliography. Another interesting item is <http://www/cs/princeton.edu/~dpd/Papers/Talk.ps>, slides from a talk reflecting on our field's origin, growth, and directions, with illustrative data drawn from this bibliography.

There are now several servers offering a web search interface on top of biblook, a combination first constructed by Otfried Schwarzkopf. The current list can be found through Jeff Erickson's geometry pages at

When an entry has been annotated with a URL field, some of the servers will recognize this and allow you to download the network object pointed to, e.g. a Postscript copy of a techreport. (You can find some examples by looking for "ftp" in "any" field.)

This and other bibliographies are also web-searchable via AT&T's netlib at < http://netlib.att.com/netlib/search.html> which also offers an email interface: send a message with a line like

find chazelle triangulation polygon
in the Subject: or message body to compgeom-request@research.att.com. The contact for this service is Ken Clarkson, clarkson@research.att.com.

There is a new Project BibRelEx on top of the database geombib. Its intention is to help the user to explore a bibliographic database by visualizing content-based relations such as "cites", "succeeds", "improves with respect to" among its entries. BibRelEx is run by Christian Icking, Rolf Klein, Britta Landgraf, and Hildegard Schmidt, FernUniversitaet Hagen, and Anne Brueggemann-Klein, TU Muenchen. You can get more information on BibRelEx from their German-language web page <http://wwwpi6.fernuni-hagen.de/wwwpi6/Forschung/BibRelEx/>.

Surendar Chandra (surendar@cs.duke.edu), provides geombib to refdbms users on port 4117 from refdbms.cs.duke.edu. You can get more information on refdbms (a distributed bibliographic database which propagates updates to all sites) from ftp://ftp.cse.ucsc.edu/pub/refdbms/refdbms.README.html.