Science Blogging 2008

sciblog-2008-logoFirst off, just to say thanks to everyone who made sciblog2008 possible, already looking forward to its successor. It was fun to put faces to names of many of my fellow science bloggers and others out there who were at the Ri on Saturday. Quite amazing how so many look as young as their avatars! The conference, the breakouts and the unconference were fun and informative albeit if a certain keynote speaker was wont to use rather too many expletives (is that how conferences are these days?)

Anyway, speaking of how conferences are “these days” it was interesting to see just how much of the interaction at the conference went on online – through liveblogging – even between delegates sitting in the same room. Funny to see someone type and another raise an eyebrow in response. It was a bit like passing secret notes around the classroom, except the whole science blogosphere beyond the hallowed halls of the Royal Institution [why cerise seatcovers, why?] was reading those notes.

In particular, several bloggers were commentating on happenings via the sciblog08 FriendFeed room. Me, I didn’t even have my mobile phone switched on the whole day (it was Saturday, after all). I’ve no intention of duplicating the efforts of those Feedfriends nor of the various Nature bloggers and staff who have reported, blogged, and podcast the event and will soon be vidcasting it. Great logo by the way Euan, been there, done that, got the teeshirt.

However, I do want to raise the possibility of a mashup that occurred to me during the unconference thread on tracking conversations through the blogosphere. Cameron Neylon mentioned (previously known as, and their DOI-citation capture system. Egon Willighagen and others mentioned Chemical Blogspace (Cb) and Adie’s Postgenomic (Pg) together with the Zemanta plugin and Mozilla Ubiquity. Willighagen has already written a post-conference script to act as a handler for DOIs, I see.

But, it was the unconference discussion that got me thinking that a science-specialised version of Zemanta and/or Ubiquity could monitor your latest blog post and on the basis of the names and keywords it sees as you type could suggest likely literature references. It would be a straightforward matter to display the titles of all relevant papers and as you blog you could add a star to the main paper about which you’re righting and tick any others that might be worth citing in the post.

A blog plugin could then fetch the formated reference and paste into the foot of the blog post automatically, perhaps flagging your post once you hit “publish” in Connotea too. This way you would not have to remember to visit nor have to be able to locate the DOI for pasting into their citation wizard the Science-based Zemanta tool would do the job for you.

4 thoughts on “Science Blogging 2008”

  1. David, I love it! Even better if it recgonised relevant data files – this is a great route not just towards connecting up the blog posts but connecting up the published literature as well – autocomplete as part of the paper template?

  2. Many thanks for the offer and the insights into Zemanta Jure. I’ll see if any of my more technically minded readers can see the way forward with this concept and whether they think it valid or indeed worthwhile.

  3. Very interesting idea. For current direction of Zemanta this might be a bit too specialized, but we’d be interested in helping. We already have publicly accessible API, that returns a lot of meta-data for given text (like ISBN numbers and freebase references), and upcoming versions will allow to customize a lot of recommendation sources. This should allow you to start building pieces to create this tool around and we can try to help you if you get stuck (and a lot of Zemanta is open-source anyway).

    If you want to develop this further, visit our developer forums – or just drop me a mail – .

    Jure Cuhalev, Zemanta

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