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Lightbeam for Firefox: find out who’s tracking you online

29 Oct, 13 | by BMJ

As the internet continues to evolve, issues surrounding privacy remain a common cause for concern. There is growing anxiety among internet users of how their online activities are tracked for commercial purposes. The business model behind this is generally to aggregate a large number of users in order to sell that audience’s aggregate attention, usually in the form of advertising.  After all, “If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”


BrainSpace: building a social brain

23 Nov, 12 | by BMJ

BrainSpace, a potential solution to outdated search technology, was demonstrated at this year’s SpotOn London. Launched by PureDiscovery, a big data startup, its goal is to let users find information that matters without having to actually look for it. Instead, the technology is designed to bring data directly to the user.

 BrainSpace is already well-established in the world of archived content; it powers semantic search across more than 350 million documents for LexisNexis. PureDiscovery, however, has set its sights much higher. By not only determining relationships between documents, but also between between people, and people and documents, it is gearing up to create a ‘social brain’ which will revolutionise search. more…

Crowdbooster: when is your best time to tweet?

15 Nov, 12 | by BMJ

In a very popular ‘Assessing social media impact’ session at SpotOn London this week, a number of social media tools were discussed. Twentyfeet cropped up (mainly due to the visibility of its automated weekly updates on free accounts) along with Klout and PeerIndex, with varying degrees of enthusiasm from participants.

The most interesting take-away for me personally was an introduction to Crowdbooster. It’s a free tool that lets you pull together statistics for one Twitter and one Facebook account. (If you want to add multiple accounts, you’ll need to pay).


Scholar Updates: helping authors to make new connections?

30 Aug, 12 | by BMJ

A common goal of academics is to read all relevant publications within a particular field of expertise. Locating these materials is a challenge (to say the least) and the task is becoming more and more difficult as the number of papers published annually increases year-on-year.

Earlier this month, changes were made to Google Scholar to encourage the serendipitous discovery of new research during a scholar’s routine activity. The new service, Scholar Updates, conducts a search on the author’s behalf and provides a list of recommended publications. It builds upon existing research alerts offered by Google Scholar, similar in nature to those of ISI Web of Science and other academic databases.


BMJ Learning gets social

11 May, 12 | by BMJ

It’s been a long time in the planning, but we have finally released a whole new group of features in the BMJ learning site.
The ratings, reviews and recommendations project has several factors.

Anyone who has ever been in a meeting discussing improving a website will have heard someone say, “can’t we make it like Amazon?”. We’ve added star ratings, which are displayed at the top on each module intro page.



‘Rate this article’ – user voting launched on BMJ Case Reports

21 Oct, 11 | by BMJ

User rating is a very common feature of websites, whether for films, books, washing machines or blog posts. What these user rating systems allow is a quick and easy survey of a community opinion. Despite the obvious advantages to busy readers trying to get to grips with a vast amount of literature, this simple system hasn’t been much applied to scholarly papers. PLoS notably introduced their rating five star system back in 2007, which has had a mixed response from the publishing community and a low rate of participation.


What do Facebook’s “new breed of apps” mean for publishers?

14 Oct, 11 | by BMJ

The Guardian and Independent recently became the first UK newspapers to launch new style Facebook apps.  These are a “new class of apps”, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and “have the ability not only to change the way we think about news but have the ability to change the way the whole news industry works”. They encourage “frictionless experiences”, where users opt in once and avoid being repeatedly asked to agree to allow their friends to see which articles they are reading, enabling “realtime serendipity”, as Zuckerberg put it.

“As we worked with different news organisations there were two camps: people that wanted to bring the social experience onto their sites, like Yahoo [News] and the Independent; and those that wanted the social news experience on Facebook, like Guardian, the Washington Post and the Daily,” director of Facebook’s platform partnerships Christian Hernandez stated. more…

“Readers who liked this also liked this”: online recommendations and scholarly publishing

30 Sep, 11 | by BMJ

“Hello David Payne. We have recommendations for you.” Think of online recommendations and Amazon springs to mind. The store that started with books, launched the Kindle e-reader, and is now the Internet’s answer to John Lewis, is widely credited with getting recommendations right, based on what I and other customers have bought.

I see the logic behind their suggestions. Amazon is currently suggesting I buy 17 books. But does it work for scholarly publishers?


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