some scienceblogging tools

1. A comment on Pedro’s post about Bora’s post about scienceblogging led me to Stew, and reminded me about Postgenomic, which is Stew’s creation. PG is a feed aggregator, but it’s a feed aggregator with big ideas:

Postgenomic aggregates the feeds from life science blogs in order to do useful and interesting things with them. It’s kind of like Technorati crossed with a really big hot papers meeting.

Its main uses – hopefully – are to:

  • List the current top life science news stories and the hottest recent papers (or the papers most often cited by bloggers, anyway)
  • Store and index reviews of papers
  • Store and collate reports from conferences
  • Help bloggers to share their expertise and, flipside of the same coin, to find useful papers on a given topic

Hopefully, as the site develops and the database grows the fourth point can be accomplished by organizing the papers by topic (perhaps using MeSH terms, or keywords, or the Technorati tags from the posts containing links to them). If you’re looking for papers on, say, Bayesian networks in molecular biology but don’t know where to start then you could fire up your browser, click on the appropriate tag in the Postgenomic index and be presented with a list of relevant papers and the blog posts that talk about them.

This is a great idea, and dovetails nicely with the current scienceblogconversation about what scienceblogging is, and what it might be good for. (You can add your blog to the postgenomic index by emailing Stew, and here are some ways to make sure the indexing goes smoothly.)
2. In the comment that sparked this post, Stew pointed to WebCite:

WebCite is an archiving system for webreferences (cited webpages and websites), which can be used by authors, editors, and publishers of scholarly papers and books, to ensure that cited webmaterial will remain available to readers in the future. If cited webreferences in journal articles, books etc. are not archived, future readers may encounter a “404 File Not Found” error when clicking on a cited URL.
A WebCite reference is an archived webcitation, and rather than linking to the live website (which can and probably will disappear in the future), authors of scholarly works will link to the archived WebCite copy on

This not only provides a solution to the dead links problem,it also provides external timestamp authentication (which, as discussed elsewhere, is an issue when using blog posts to stake out academic/intellectual territory and avoid being scooped).
3. Stew found WebCite via Alf of HubLog. Alf discusses various solutions to the dead links/timestamp problem, including using Spurl (which is how I backup my Simpy archive) and his own cite bookmarklet. The bookmarklet allows you to grab a timestamped blockquote from another page, like so:

<blockquote cite=”” title=”HubLog: Creating a citable archive of a web page on Sat Apr 22 2006 15:59:48 GMT-0700 (Pacific Standard Time)>Academic papers or weblog posts often need to refer to external web pages; generally, you want people to see the external pages as they were when you wrote about them.
The simplest way to do this is a standard hyperlink, combined with a quote of the appropriate section of the text. If you’re referencing long pages though, lots of lengthy quotes could get out of hand.</blockquote><cite><a href=””>HubLog: Creating a citable archive of a web page</a></cite>.

Note: the original text included a link, which the bookmarklet doesn’t preserve, but it’s no big deal to add those back in (you could use “view selection source” if there were lots of links).

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