Starting a reading list for Goobledygook

All science bloggers do a lot of reading for background information, or write blog posts based on a (newly published) paper, blog post or news item. So I thought that it would be a good idea to collect those references in a single place.

Day 14 - Visual Representation of a Reading List

Flickr photo by margolove.

Reading lists are perfect for this, and they are easy to create and maintain with web-based reference managers. Reading lists are used in teaching, e.g. to provide a list of required reading material for a class. But I can also see a number of benefits for science blogs:

  • they help the blogger to organize his background material for writing
  • they help the reader find and keep referenced material
  • they can provide additional reading not mentioned in the blog post

There are several good tools for reading lists. I decided to use CiteULike, because what I really want here is a social bookmarking tool that understands references. My Goobledygook reading list is here, the RSS feed is here, and the most recent items in the reading list are also shown in a new sidebar to the right. I started with references to papers, but plan to also include blog posts and other web resources.

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10 Responses to Starting a reading list for Goobledygook

  1. AJ Cann says:

    I like this very Much martin, and have subscribed to the RS feed, which is very useful – thanks. In fact, I like it so much that I’m going to steal the idea for MicrobiologyBytes :-)
    However, I do think you need to explain the basis for your decision to go for CiteULike – why not Mendeley, or both?

  2. Martin Fenner says:

    AJ, I would feel honoured if you start a reading list at MicrobiologyBytes. It might write a delurking blog post (where I ask readers who they are) in return.

    Mendeley Collections would in fact be a good alternative. I decided against them mainly because they don’t look so nice when you are not a Mendeley user (with big Sign Up & Download signs). You should be able to use reading lists without having to sign into a service.

  3. AJ Cann says:

    That’s a good point. Ideally I’d like to run parallel lists on both CiteULike and Mendeley until a winner emerges, but unless there a simple tool to do that (a bookmarklet should suffice, but even that’s beyond my primitive skills), the workflow of maintaining two lists is too much.

  4. Mr. Gunn says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Martin. I’ll pass that along to the team, but I want to make sure I understand the issue first. There’s currently no signup on the collection pages at all, even when logged out. Are you talking about the signup box that appears below the article on article pages?

    I’m not sure if you got a look at the new design for the groups feature that should be coming out in a few days, but I would be happy to give you a look at it. AJ has already seen it, I believe.

  5. Martin Fenner says:

    William, yes I mean the signup box on the articles page. Collections work fine without Mendeley user account, but that signup box is too intrusive for my taste. I would of course be interested to look at the redesign.

    AJ, not only can you synchronize CiteULike and Mendeley, but you can also export your citations from CiteULike and use them with your reference manager of choice. This means there is no risk if you later switch to a different system.

  6. That’s a great idea – I should put references to things I blog in a CiteuLike list… hmmm.

  7. Martin Fenner says:

    Christina and AJ, I would be very interested in feedback if you try this out. Among the things to consider: should only the blog author be allowed to add references (my current setting), or can our blog readers make suggestions? Should we add the references to the reading list before or after we publish the blog post?

  8. AJ Cann says:

    At the moment, I’d make it a read-only list that I curate, I’m not thinking about a collaborative project at this stage, which is why Mendeley Collections are probably overkill for what I want. A simple CiteULike tag or group would be fine.
    I know Mendeley is supposed to sync with CiteULike but I seem to have a problem with this which William is kindly trying to help me with.
    As to when to bookmark, I’d prefer to do it at the time the blog post is published, but in reality I have to do it either in advance (gives the game away 😉 or somewhat retrospectively to fit in with my workflow.

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