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Monday, February 25, 2008

NFAIS 2008 Sunday afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I attended the NFAIS conference in downtown Philadelphia. The talks were actually very engaging.

First up was David Weinburger, who co-wrote the "Cluetrain Manifesto", an enjoyable book that I caught on audio book a few years back. His talk was mainly about his new book "Everything is Miscellaneous", which looks interesting based on his talk. His main point was that hierarchical classification systems are not as useful for many systems compared with spontaneous tagging by online communities. He also indicated that information overload was not as big of a problem as many people suggest, something that I definitely think is the case in science.

Lee Rainie's presentation was also well done. He presented the results of the Pew Internet & American Life project. I thought the most interesting portion was at the end, where he described the 10 different types of people, classified according to their attitude towards technology. Hopefully his report will be available shortly along with the rest. (In the meantime, Bryan Alexander took some good notes on this session.)

I presented at the next session on "The Emerging Culture of the New Information Order" on Open Notebook Science, which was a good fit, giving a laboratory researcher's perspective of Web 2.0.

My co-panelists included Chris Willis from Footnote.com and Bryan Alexander from NITLE. Chris gave many good examples of the power of community tagging, including a new project bringing relatives of Vietnam veterans together on a massive digital "wall". Bryan also gave a stimulating talk but he was so addicted to his social software that he was recording video blog posts as we were waiting to speak :)

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Scholar 2 Scholar Meeting at Drexel

I am co-organizing the Scholar 2 Scholar conference with Jay Bhatt and Anita Chiodo on the morning of April 16, 2008 at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Anyone wishing to attend add your name to the participant list on the wiki.
Drexel University Libraries’ Scholarly Communication Symposium
Scholar 2 Scholar: How Web 2.0 is Changing Scholarly Communication as We Know It

Web 2.0 technologies are more than just web-based games and social networks; these virtual environments are building communities of thought and practice which have very real implications for education and research in academia. How do educators, administrators, and librarians use or repurpose these tools to their advantage? What are the implications for teaching and research? Is the return on our investment of time and energy worth the engagement? How well do students learn through these collaborative avenues? What are the true benefits for scientific research? What are the potential conflicts or roadblocks? We will explore these questions and many more.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Open Medicine Editorial

The Journal "Open Medicine" has published a very thoughtful editorial on "Open science, open access and open source software at Open Medicine" by Sally Murray, Stephen Choi, John Hoey, Claire Kendall, James Maskalyk and Anita Palepu.

Not only are they writing about it but they want to get their hands dirty as well:

Open Medicine is an open access journal because we believe that free and timely access to research results allows scientific knowledge to be used by all those who need it, not just those who can afford expensive journal subscriptions or user fees for individual articles. But is access to the final polished version of research enough? Could we do more to en­courage the collaborative reuse and reanalysis of existing data, or the verification of analyses? Could we move from open access to open science?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Virtual Poster Session on ACS Island

The American Chemical Society will be offering a virtual poster session in Second Life from selected posters at the Sci-Mix session taking place April 6, 2008 at the next national meeting in New Orleans.

I'm helping out with that effort and I'm pleased to say that we have our first submission from Jodye Selco, Mary Bruno and Sue Chan: "Safe and economical chemistry inquiry for the K-12 classroom".

ACS island has the same shape as its logo of a phoenix, thanks to the skilled hand of Eloise Pasteur who carved out the Drexel island's dragon shape. The posters will be placed on the right wing, next to a "chemistry museum" area, also under development.

ACS island is currently open to everyone - feel free to stop by and explore as we develop the area (Andrew Lang, Hiro Sheridan in SL is also on the project). Gus Rosania has been a very active "resident scientist" - you can see his activities on drug transport near the middle.

Kate Sellar (Finola Graves in SL), who spearheaded this initiative at ACS, has just started a blog where she will chronicle activities on the island.

The easiest way to find the island is to type ACS in the Map search box in Second Life.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chemical Heritage Foundation Podcast

Drexel Island and my teaching of chemistry on Second Life is covered in a recent Chemical Heritage Foundation podcast "Distillations". Cyrus Farivar interviews me and my student Charles Sineri.


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