QR codes – barcodes for the internet – have been around for decades and the technology is increasingly being used in everything from street advertising to museum object labels. QRpedia takes the concept one step further to allow a single QR code to send you seamlessly to the mobile-friendly version of any Wikipedia article in your own language. This system is unique to Wikipedia because no other website has manually created links between languages across such an incredible breadth of topics.



Delicious.com update

Delicious, my favorite bookmark site, has (finally) been updated. Introducing the concept of “stacks”, a collection of bookmarks related to a topic.

Select some related links, plug them into a stack and watch the magic happen. You can customize your stack by choosing images to feature, and by adding a title, description and comment for each link. Then publish the stack to share it with the world. If you come across another stack you like, follow it to easily find it again and catch any updates

Interesting concept, but a bit tedious if you want to create stacks from scratch and have a looooong list of bookmarks. They clearly focus on sharing, more than organizing your own collection.  The homepage now looks a lot like Flipboard.

I don’t like the way tags are presented now. Only a few of them appear on the right hand side, which makes it more difficult to navigate through your collection. I’ll dig around to see if there is more. I guess they made this choice to favor the stacks.

First impressions of Google Scholar citations

A first feedback, although it’s not open to everyone, yet. Since I heard about this upcoming service some time ago, I tested Google Scholar again, and I have to say I am very impressed with the progress they acomplished, the results seem to be much more relevant and precise. I stoped using it 2 or 3 years ago, Scopus becoming my favorite source.  I might reconsider it.

Wikipedia article traffic statistics

Just discovered this site, where you can get the traffic statistics for individual wikipedia articles. A list of the most consulted articles has been computed (not up to date, though), but I am more interested in the traffic of highly specialized articles, like scientific ones. An example of alternative metrics ? I long for the day when we will replace the impact factor with the usage factor.

(Soure: Hacker News)

Computing giants launch free science metrics

Hope for a free alternative to Scopus or WoK ? Will this only be a metrics tool ? If that’s the case, I don’t really care…. What they (Google and MS) need is to improve the accuracy of their database and search tools; I have always found Scopus to be far more accurate and relevant than Google Scholar, so far. I’m curious to see how it evolves.

I was not aware of the Microsoft Academic Search. Materials science is not covered yet, alas.


Elsevier launches “Apps for Science” challenge

That sounds a lot like Mendeley’ s initiative. From their press release:

Elsevier is challenging developers in Australia, Germany, India, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States to create fully operational applications for the SciVerse platform. In combination with third party APIs and open data, applications can be created utilizing content APIs which enable integration with Elsevier’s full text article database SciVerse ScienceDirect and abstract and citation database SciVerse Scopus.

Always good to see publishers and alike fighting to improve their products. Looks like the opening of API to the public is all over internet, these days. Whether they will truly open their database remains to be seen. I’m curious to see what they will come up with.

Papers 2.0

Out today. Completely rewritten from the ground up, with lots of much needed and welcome improvements. Check out the website for the complete list of new features and improvements. Worth mentioning: Papers is becoming more and more a document manager, in addition to a reference manager, you can now store many different file formats. Papers is  taking advantage of all the underlying technology of Mac OSX, the user interface is a delight to use (the opposite of Endnote, if you ask me). The integrated search tools (up to 25 search engines combined) are certainly a great time saver. The deal-breaker will be the integration with word processing document, which is where I find Endnote still superior, so far. We’ll see how it goes. I also hope they finally improved the metadata extraction (that’s what they claim), which is where Mendeley really shines.

Alas, as I am bound to a PC in the lab, I am turning to Mendeley as my sole reference manager software. It syncs seamlessly between computers at home and in the lab. I only using Papers on the iPad to carry my papers with me, but keeping two libraries up to date is a pain. The annotation tools are keeping me with Papers so far. I’ll switch to Mendeley for iPad when:

  • I can sync all my library without paying additional fees (my library is larger than the 500Mb free limit, with around 800 papers), and access it without a network.
  • Annotation tools are added on the iPad version, and sync with the desktop version.

Competition is welcome in this domain anyway. If I was the Endnote developers, I’d be really worried.