Friday, February 22, 2008

Science journal feedmixes

The topic of literature review came up at a recent group meeting. Our advisor receives a number of print subscriptions to journals, but these often languish in some forgotten corner. Even when they are brought out of the depths, it seems a daunting task to leaf through them to find articles of interest to each student. Since everyone is on the interwebs, it is much easier (and complete) to get updates on relevant articles through a website or email, peruse the titles and blurbs online, and then decide what to actually sit down and read. There are a few problems with this, however.

  1. Getting alerts from journals, search engines, or aggregators like Faculty of 1000 still usually produces too many articles to sift through.
  2. To limit the amount of junk you get, you provide keywords - but, if you're like me, you will browse through unlikely articles in Science or Nature or PLoS ONE on a regular basis because they look interesting, so keywords will filter these out.

I've set up a feedmixer for science journals and related information using Feed Digest. It's little more than an aggregator right now so it doesn't really address those problems. If anyone knows of any cool tricks to help sift through the ridiculous amounts of information we're supposed to keep up with, without losing the unexpected gems, I'd love to hear it!

Update: A new tool called Persai claims to learn your preferences through what you accept and what you reject (review on Slate), and filters your feeds accordingly. I'm not sure it will help with issue #2, but it's probably just an irreconciliable trade-off between #1 and #2. Perhaps the solution is to have a couple different pages set up with Persai - narrow ones for specific fields or interests, and broader ones for the science "pleasure reading"!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You could always give Yahoo Pipes or Dapper a try. Definitely one way of getting things aggregated