Oh my god, this may be the awesomest thing to hit academia since, uh, the web. (Yes, I’m prone to extreme enthusiasm, but really, this is pretty cool.)

CiteULike is like except for academic papers. You create an account (free), drag a bookmarklet to your toolbar and henceforth, every time you encounter an interesting looking paper online you click your CiteULike bookmark instead of (or as well as) your bookmark. CiteULike enters the link to the paper in your “library” and lets you add tags, note whether you’ve read it and whether it’s high priority to read it, and add freeform public or private notes if you like. It generates the citation and lets you download the references in your library into Endnote and a couple of other reference managers. You can sign up to watch other users’ or groups’ papers in a watchlist, and you can join or create groups where all papers registered by members go into the group pool, and you can surf tags the way you do in Flickr or Here, for instance, are papers tagged with the blogs tag.
I have one request from all of you. Look:

At the moment the database is dominated by biological and medical papers, but there is no reason why, say, history or philosophy bibliographies should not be equally prevalent.

Please please please sign up, use it and let’s totally infuse this place with new media and blogging and literature and games and internet research papers! I want a watchlist that will show me papers that people who read the papers I read read!!!

[Update: OK, so Seb Paquet and Many2Many wrote about this back in February. When I in my fresh head-of-dept-mania had no time at all to blog or read, so I never saw it. Seb points out that most of the content is behind horrid password-protected schemes unless you’re surfing from a university network and a rich enough university to have subscriptions. I’ve already noticed that CiteULike automatically grabs metadata from selected sources – unfortunately those sources are the subscription-only ones. That means it’s ever-so-much-easier for me to add papers from subscription-only sources to my library, because for the others, I have to type all the bibliographical information in by hand.

Of course, at home I don’t have access to the subscription-only sites. (Uh, I could if I could figure out how to combine VPN, a mac, a wireless thingy and this annoying ISP home office system we have.) And so many people, even at colleges and universities and libraries, don’t have access either. That sucks.]

09. March 2005 by Jill

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