Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lessons and links from science bloggers

Bloggers from the 2008 N.C. Science Blogging Conference have returned from last weekend's chilly event to their homes and keyboards, sharing their presentations, photos and thoughts online. What's so cool is that anyone can continue to learn from this conference from the comfort of their own monitors, wherever they might be, and whenever they can.

In addition, the conference has a heavy dose of participation from the
smart minds at Science Blogs, supported in part by Seed magazine. The networked circle of science represents one new way of aggregating and filtering information beyond the traditional methods of big-company media sites. NYU media professor Jeff Jarvis has made much of Glam for doing the same thing (perhaps with a larger emphasis on advertising and content that attracts ads). Glam doesn't impress me; its college fashion blog can't hold a candle to the Daily Tar Heel's The Good, The Bad and The Fab.

Oh but wait. We were talking journalism and science, not fashion.

I respectfully submit that Science Blogs serves as a better model for distributing, sifting and making findable strong content than sites like Glam. Ads play a supporting role, rather than being the goal.

And conference organizers are also demonstrating a new model of sharing strong content with "reverse publishing," creating a downloadable or paperback book of the best science blog posts of 2007. You can read the background of how the idea came to be at Bora Zivkovic's A Blog Around the Clock. The "publisher" of the compilation is Lulu, and the editors are Zivkovic and Reed Cartright, with input from the readers of Zivkovic's blog.

But back to the conference. The main jumping-off point of the group is a wiki.
Below are random links gleaned from various conference bloggers. They're filtered through what I find interesting and not too far above my head. Most bear a relationship to journalism; some don't. Of course, your mileage may vary.

How to report scientific research to a general audience
From Cognitive Daily, out of Davidson.
(Alternate title: How to report anything to a general audience.)
My favorite line:
"Visuals need the same treatment as words."

Peer-reviewed research
(How to dig through all the crap to find the ponies.)
(Or how wearing a badge can change the life of your blog.)
Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research
Research Blogging

Citizen Science

(Who knew? We thought it was all about us, the journalists and citizen journalists.)
Purple loosestrife detectives and reporters, at the U.S. Geologic Survey.
Cornell University's Citizen Science toolkit from a citizen science conference.

Public Library of Science and one of its online peer-reviewed journals, PLOS One.
Again, who knew?

A ring of science blogs
(Fix a big cup of something and stay awhile).

Questions for the next president.

PDF organization
Organize all your pdfs and papers as if they were songs on Itunes. Unbelievably valuable for people in distance-learning classes, but only if they're smart enough to have Macs. At Papers.

The Institute for Southern Studies

I remember this group from my days as a student journalist in Georgia. It's great to see they're still producing research galore. One of their most recent reports is about the "devastating costs" North Carolina is suffering from war, and it comes after the launch of the N.C. Military Foundation, a public-private entity to lure more defense contracts to North Carolina.
This site is worth digging into, keeping in mind the organization does have an agenda. It's intriguing to think about comparing its research with that available through The Sunlight Foundation and Taxpayers for Common Sense at Earmark Watch Dot Org.

Flickr groups to identify plants
(These will change my life and possibly put my aunt, The Plant Oracle of the Mountains, out of business).
ID Please and What plant is that?

Invasive species blog
(And you thought mussels only stopped development.)
Invasive Species.

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