How ’bout it, codemonkey? One for all you web app wizards out there.

A great opportunity has opened up for a code-savvy free culture type to earn a little good karma. Here’s the thing:

  1. Bora Zivkovic’s Open Laboratory project is way cool
  2. the more submissions they get, the cooler it is
  3. they have a badge that blogs can display for one-click submission access to the submission form, but no bookmarklet

Now, a bookmarklet seems to me even better than a badge, because it’s independent of the blog you’re reading, right there on your browser toolbar. When you think to yourself “this is such a good post that I should submit it to The Open Lab”, rather than finding the submission form and filling it in or looking to see whether the blog has a badge, you can just hit the bookmarklet. Even better, the bookmarklet can be set up to autofill at least your details, and perhaps to extract information from the page you’re on as well. In any case, the various submission mechanisms are not mutually exclusive: there’s no reason not to have badges and bookmarklets and anything else the community can think of.
I could build one, in principle, since I’ve hacked around with js a little, but it would take me literally days of screaming frustration to do a half-assed job. Surely there’s some web app wizard out there who could whip up something over their lunch break?
So — how about it? Help the Open Laboratory, help the science blogging community in general: build Bora a bookmarklet.
For those not familiar with it, some background on The Open Laboratory: in 2006, Bora was approached by print-on-demand web publishers about the possibility of putting together a print anthology of science blogging. Being the community-centric type, Bora posted a call for suggestions and arranged a panel of reviewers to help him edit the resulting list of blog posts. I was privileged to be on that panel; here’s what I said at the time about the first edition:

As Bora intimates in his introduction, blogs are conversations and so they lose a certain liveliness when embalmed in a blook (blog + book; don’t blame me, I didn’t coin it!) like this. Nonetheless, there is some excellent writing in this thing, it is as perfect an introduction to science blogging as you’re likely to see offline, and it’s a fun read all on its own. True to the open nature of the original medium, you can of course surf over to Bora’s blog and find the anthology entries listed there. No one will mind if you do, but I hope you will also consider buying the blook — which, after all, unlike the internets, you can carry with you on the bus and leave on the break-room table at work. It’s priced at cost and any incidental proceeds will go towards next year’s edition.

Since then, there have been two subsequent editions, 2007 and 2008, and what I said of the 2006 incarnation remains true (except that incidental proceeds now go towards the Science Online conference). (Incidentally, if you follow those links you can read not only the posts that made it into each anthology but all the entries as well.)

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