In this post I want to explore two use cases where social bookmarking tools might be helpful, and to seek advice on how to take these ideas forward. The two cases are:
- getting input from the community on curation tools and resources worth investigating
- extending a proposed bibliography on data curation.
In the second case, I have been building an extensive bibliography of books, articles and reports relevant to research data curation, management and preservation. We can load such a bibliography onto our web site in a variety of formats, including simple web pages for reading, and downloadable BibTex, RIS or other formats. But that leaves the bibliography as a static resource, and the responsibility for maintenance and enhancement lies entirely with us. And if someone identifies a good candidate, there’s no easy way to feed it into the bibliography.
Now there are a few social bookmarking sites that are specifically oriented towards managing references, including Connotea. But I can’t work out how to use them in this way. I had a go at using Connotea a year or so ago, but have largely given up because it wasn’t very good at extracting the metadata for the kinds of resources I was bookmarking (so I had to do all the work anyway), and while I could do a download once from Connotea into the reference management tool I was then beginning to use on my desktop (a commercial product I won’t name), I couldn’t work out how to do incremental downloads. I had another poke around today, and while there clearly is some way of sharing, it didn’t feel like the simple act that social networking requires. And I couldn’t see much value in other people’s tags.
Today after reading an interesting article (Hull, Pettifer, & Kell, 2008), I experimented with Mendeley, which looked interesting. I’m not sure it works a lot better for me, for various reasons (although the metadata extraction works a bit better), but it was hard to be convinced it would be useful for this use case, given relatively low usage. I also remembered that I played with CiteULike a while ago; again I couldn’t quite work out how to use it as I want to, either personally, or in this use case.
I’m hoping that there is some way, with one or other of these tools, to load up the bibliography, maybe tagged in some way such as
Hull, D., Pettifer, S. R., & Kell, D. B. (2008). Defrosting the Digital Library: Bibliographic Tools for the Next Generation Web. PLoS Comput Biol, 4(10), e1000204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000204