20 August 2010

Scienceblogging.org will be one-stop shop for, um, exactly what it says on the tin

And right on the heels of the Carnal Carnival launch, Bora has another big announcement: a new site aggregating online science writing from pretty much everywhere, appropriately located at scienceblogging.org. The site draws from every science blogging collective I follow—ResearchBlogging, Discover Blogs, Wired Science, Field of Science, the still-shiny new Scientopia, and good ol' ScienceBlogs—along with a lot I don't run across as often.

Right now there's a single page listing recent feed results from all these group blogs, and another devoted to science-y blog carnivals, but no independent blogs (ahem), and no particular way of sorting through the contents. It looks more like a starting point than a finished product, and that's just fine—Bora and his co-founders Anton Zuiker and Dave Munger are still looking for input. Says Dave:
The site is really just an aggregator of aggregators. Everything you see on the front page is a feed from some other bundle of blogs. In a couple cases, we made our own bundles using Friendfeed. The site is flexible enough to add additional bundles as bloggers and publishers form new blogging communities. It’s not ideal — I think the ultimate science blog aggregator will allow users to view blog posts by topic, and perhaps have some way of identifying the best posts. But it’s flexible enough that with some input from the community, we might be able to shape it into something really special. Check it out, and let us know what you think.
As a blogger without a network, I'm naturally interested in seeing independent blogs added to the ScienceBlogging.org stream (although, as Bora points out, we're already partially accounted for by including the Research Blogging feed). The large number of indy science bloggers would make this challenging, to say the least, but I think many of the issues are the same ones that show up, in smaller scale, on the new ScienceBlogging.org homepage—how to make it easy for a visitor to sift through a large number of posts to find writing by particular people, on particular topics, written in a particular time-frame.

Maybe what's needed is an analogue to ResearchBlogging that aggregates all posts from member blogs and sifts them into topic-labeled feeds—but that's a whole different class of infrastructure, and effort from member blogs, than what's provided at the new site right now. Still, the value of a true one-stop shop for online science writing should be great enough to justify the effort. In the meantime, I've added a new bookmark, and I'll be keeping an eye on ScienceBlogging.org.

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