Some thoughts on ScienceBlogging.org

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Gad Zooks, They’ve done it! shouted the mad scientist from his laboratory…

Last week I posted my call for a more meta-blogging approach to the whole science blogging malarky with my post; Can we have a “Meta-Blog-Network” please? and I was surprised by how well it was received (even garnering a link from Bora Zivkovic – an acheivement I am secretly kinda proud of), the article seemed to strike a chord with some although as usual with this blog there was little conversation to be had after the fact.

Today though an excellent reposte was given to the concerns I expressed in that post with the coming online of a new Science Blogging aggregator at ScienceBlogging.org which looks at first glance to be the answer to every science blog reader’s prayers. The site provides a central place from which you can get to all of the major networks (including many I didn’t even know existed!) and therefore to all of the most popular among the science blogging community.

Anton, Bora and Dave have also trumped any others considering doing this by including the Blog Carnivals (another new one on me) as a separate entity within the site, a definitely positive move as unless you are au-fait with the blog carnivals you may not think to look for them.

Yet another positive for the site and something I’m sure my friends over at Science3point0 will be very pleased with has been the very open request from the founders for the input of the rest of the science blogging community, something that everyone should welcome and get invloved in (for example @sandygautam has already posted a nice list of requests over at Free as in Science).

Now, having showered glory on this new and exciting venture I will bare the concerns that I do have with it:

  • I worry that this is going to fail because of “information overload”; by which I mean that having such a great clearing house as we now have for the science blogging community, it is quite a foreboding thing to look at on first turning up on the site. Without some kind of searchability or sub-categorisation of posts into (for example) sub disciplines I fear that people will just not know what to look at first.
  • Independent Bloggers are essentially excluded under the current set up of the site, and there are a lot of great independent bloggers out there who are excellent writers (I’m not one of them) and I don’t want to see them drowned out because in place of the one-big-all-consuming-network we now have lots of smaller-all-consuming-networks and a meta-infrastructure built between these and only between these, leaving the independents to join a network or stay out in the cold.
  • This site is a fantastic start, but you still have to go back to it to get different “appropriate links” to the blog post you may have initially started from – leaving the central idea of my initial post standing at the moment; though that may change with time.

These quibbles aside though, I wish to extend my congratulations to the three man team over at ScienceBlogging.org for getting this up and running, as this is an excellent place from which other projects can begin, and I look forward to seeing what they – and others – do next!

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this Post: http://wp.me/pFUij-6l

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6 thoughts on “Some thoughts on ScienceBlogging.org

  1. Pingback: Drumroll, please! Introducing: Scienceblogging.org | A Blog Around The Clock

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    1. Benjamin Brooks Post author

      Thanks for the comment Anton, I’m glad you found my opinions useful and I hope that the science blogging community isn’t giving you such a long list of ideas that you have to take a sabbatical year!

      Reply
  3. mhahnel

    Great stuff Ben, its such a simple idea – I mean realistically I could have a similar setup running here in a day, I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing that but then again the site needs to develop oin the way which people are asking for. I’d love to have what the 3 guys running the site have to say as to whether this is going to be the case. With regards to independent bloggers, I thought there was an option to do this, no?

    Reply
    1. Benjamin Brooks Post author

      Hi Mark,
      It may be a simple idea, and believe me if I knew anything about web-programming above and beyond “hmm… what if I change this variable… oh good that’s fixed it” then I would have given the whole concept a shot myself. I don’t so I didn’t.
      As I said in the above I think it’s a fantastic start and can’t wait to see what other suggestions are given to the ScienceBlogging.org team and how they run with them, indeed how any piggy-back projects might work out.
      As to the “indy” bloggers, as Bora and others have pointed out they can be aggregated “second hand” via blog carnivals, guest posts and sites like ResearchBlogging, which is great. I reckon there must be a way of getting them in of their own right without causing information overload, but far be it from me to say how.
      Ben

      Reply

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