Connotea–Reinventing a better wheel?

From the department of social socialness…

For those of you who have followed discussion here about the social bookmarking tool CiteULike, Nature Publishing group has started a new tool for social bookmarking, apparently aimed specifically at natural scientists. From what I can tell from the FAQ, it does not differ from CiteULike except that it is aimed at being domain-specific. Frankly, I find this depressing, since what I like about such services is that they produce surprising connections across domains, rather than allowing us to further sequester ourselves in our specialisms… but there does seem to be a certain kind of depth here that isn’t obvious at CiteULike.


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

3 thoughts on “Connotea–Reinventing a better wheel?

  1. Connotea has been around for quite a little bit and is widely used — I get the feeling it is perhaps better designed than CiteULike (which, after all, Richard maintains on a volunteer basis). The problem with it iirc is that it doesn’t suck up things like JSTOR and other repositories which anthropologists use a lot. But maybe that’s changed?

  2. No, it hasn’t changed. I’ve been tracking it for about a year now and they still only do PubMed and Amazon for most part. It might be worth contacting them and asking them to add support for JSTOR, MUSE, AnthroSource, etc. One thing they do support are OpenURLs. This is very useful, although I wish OpenURLs weren’t necessary in the first place. (They are designed on the basis that information is hidden behind your university firewall.)

  3. Thanks very much for your comments about Connotea.

    We originally billed it as being for scientists for two reasons: i) scientists are a large part of our user-base, and ii) the first sites we supported for automatic bibliographic information import had a decidedly scientific bias…

    However, we’ve always know that Connotea has a wider application, and we like the idea of Connotea being used to encourage cross-discipline communication.

    You can, of course, bookmark any web page in Connotea, and the related tags and users features will work as normal. But we’re expanding the number of sites that Connotea can import infomation for too, and I’ve added your suggestions to my list.

    Look out for new announcements on Connotea News.

    Ben Lund (Nature Publishing Group)

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