Monday, September 19, 2005

Del.icio.us for biology

This month's Nature Cell Biology makes the science debut of connotea, a social bookmarking application like del.icio.us or flickr. The hope is that scientists will use the tagging system to link all sorts of web pages together.

Connotea seems to have been in beta since late last year but this is the first that I have heard of it. This description provides some startup help.

The NCB rollout article tries to address worries that sharing ideas in a community site(even as innocuous as linklists) might cause loss of a competitive edge. My bias is already against that concept, but I'm not sure they would convince a scientist who didn't want to share.

In the end the system will fly if it gets lots and lots of users. I personally would like to see the emergence of a system which is attractive to non-scientists as well. I have to emphasize: I'm a little confused even about delicious, so I'm just happy with the principle. Oktoberfest is going now, so I'm not sure when I'll do the mind-meld necessary to get started.

I think I would be remiss not to mention citulike , which is also a tag-based online library system. I've heard of this one, and done a few clicks, but I just haven't hit threshold yet.


John Hawks touches on related developments in anthropology toward the end of this post.

UPDATE on information theft in competitive situations: Via The Daily Transcript, I had forgotten the recent New York Times article about an ethical brawl between two groups of astronomers over discovery of an object orbiting outside Pluto. Apparently one group did some snooping deep in the web-based logbooks of the other just prior to announcing their discovery.
I assume that everything in this blog is on Google's servers for eternity; I guess I should assume the same about connotea information.

No comments: