SCIO11: A science blogging aggregator

Dave Munger, Anton Zuiker, Bora Zivkovic, Mark Hahnel (sp?), Jessica Heckman (?)

Fragmentation of the blogsphere started by Pepsigate but continuing with people leaving Nature Network, etc. gathers feeds from various aggregators. Science 3.0 collects posts from hundreds of science blogs in real time – but ends up being a little bit slow. He also has these very cool statistics.

Paul Groth analyzed the information from Mark’s site and made a map of the connections (VOSviewer). What people were talking about last week – based on the titles of the blog posts.

Their new site is

Central feed has topic areas – sort of like twitter with the headline, name of the blog, time posted, the subject category of the blog. It’s arranged by topic, not by network so doesn’t disadvantage newbies.

Q: how were the topics determined

A: they had to come up with some but bloggers will eventually be able to pick others. they started with research blogging, but added in ones for gender, academic life and other non-research blogging topics. there are about 50 now.

Descriptions for each blog in the database but not shown because they don’t have them all.

Claim this blog – for the purposes of letting bloggers edit the description and topics. You can submit a blog, too.

Where did the initial list of 400 blogs come from? They are all from the networks – no indie blogs were added, they need to be submitted. Then an editor will verify that it’s a science blog.

They have an etherpad site for getting feedback.

Posts by blog topic, not post topic.

Q: how will the editors do the selection

A: very difficult to determine a strict boundary – political blog with a science post, science blog with a lot of political posts? Editors will review the site and will make a call – might bring in other editors, experts.

Q: how does this relate to nature blogs

A: nature blogs has some better things about the interface and more functions, but doesn’t let you scan across the posts.

Q: others of this type let you vote things up or down

A: there’s disagreement on the team about this.

Q: discussion about taxonomy

Q: where’s the financial support come from

A: all volunteer so far – should never be a for profit, would have to be very transparent and make sure there’s editorial independence

Q: role of editors – top posts, selections?

A: not so far

Q/comment: so far making this easier for people who write and read and are already interested in this topic

A: already looking at popularity of posts, could also pick out posts more appropriate for lay audiences and feature them in a specific way.

Q: other uses – for researchers trying to get credit for their blog or for journalists looking for specialists on a topic

A: that’s an important next step – to make new ways to filter.

Q: would you be willing to open up the data from the backend like an api or even just a data dump of the content of site monthly.

A: Dave is open to it but Anton says it depends on the support of the site. From Paul – the software isn’t all that, it’s about the data and the contents.


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