Haven’t done one of these for a bit, so let’s clear out some useful bookmarks:
Another really nice improvement on PubMed searches. Like GoPubMed, ClusterMed provides a variety of categories to narrow down your searches to find the paper you’re seeking. I found this site through Bitesize Bio, which is still consistently one of the best biology blogs out there. Instead of the usual opinion pieces or off-topic rants, Bitesize Bio publishes a constant stream of really useful information and tips for the bench.

A sea of digital cameras
This photo made me feel old, and at the same time reminded me of hiring a wedding photographer, because if you don’t have pictures of an event, did it really happen?

Online Lab Notebooks

Good post by Cameron Neylon looking at the requirements for keeping your lab notebook online. As you can tell from the comment I left, I worry about either the IT overhead this is going to cause, or that we’d be placing our data in the very shaky hands of “the cloud”. Great article on how much you should trust cloud computing here.

Social Networks for Scientists
That post and this one from Richard Grant on the failure of “Myspace for scientists” got me thinking–are there any features unique to the myriad social networks for scientists sites that are useful? Are they offering any tools beyond what you could get on Facebook or LinkedIn that you find valuable?

Costs for e-Books
I think this points out what’s going to be a major problem for the e-book market–price. For us, paper, printing and binding are not the biggest expense when producing a book. The heavy level of editorial input, rewriting, development, design, indexing, etc., are the biggest costs. And those don’t go away when you’re doing an e-book instead of a print one. Will consumers be satisfied with e-books that cost 10% less than paper ones, if that’s truly reflective of the costs of production?

The death of journalism

Lots of recent articles have come out on the death of newspapers, particularly Seth Godin’s one about the real loss, quality journalism. The usually right-on-the-money Scholarly Kitchen responded with this article, which I think is way off base. Blogs don’t come close to replicating real, quality journalism. It reminded me of a recent piece by Warren Ellis, in which he discusses recent events in Mumbai and a talk by David Simon, co-creator of The Wire:

“His argument is that journalism is an honest-to-god job, with skills, that you have to learn in order to do it right. Citizen journalism just doesn’t cut it….Citizen journalism ate it in the US. Dan Gillmor, who had been talking of nothing else for years, launched Bayosphere–because what the world needed, see, was another website about people talking about the San Francisco Bay Area–which fell apart five minutes later. Citizen journalism looks like sites like westportnow.com, whose above-the-fold right now blazes with the hottest news story in town–local church members knitted some woolen caps for charity… The metroblogging sites…are great fun, but at best they’re arts journalism and in general they’re a listings magazine and linkbloggers. They’re very rarely working their own sources, doing original reporting or in broad terms, doing the work of journalists. The five rules of journalism–who, what, where, when and why–aren’t there because people like pissing you off with rules. They’re there because that’s how you learn things and that’s how you explain things, and that, eventually, is how you see that events and people are connected…and that’s how we build up a picture of the world and begin to understand where we are today and what it really looks like.

Linkblogs and Wikis are great for pointing you to original source material, but what purpose will they serve without that source material? A citizen journalist in the early 1970’s at the Watergate hotel might have sent out a tweet that the police were arresting someone for breaking and entering, but would that have led to the downfall of a president? I think good investigative journalism is something of value. But then again, what do I know, I’m a luddite, I still pay for music.