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Online Journal Club on Flexible Electronics

For many years, people accumulate personal collections of academic publications of interest in paper form. As such collections grow with time, more file cabinets and book shelves are needed for storage. First, space becomes a problem. Second, finding a specific paper could be a headache, even if the collections are well categorized.

As more and more publications become available online in recent years, people gradually switch to collect electronic versions, e.g. PDF files of papers. These files are often stored in local hard drives. Space is not an issue anymore. But again, locating a paper from hundreds of files in tens of folders still might be a heck of efforts.

Besides the difficulty in searching, other common shortcomings include:

  • Locally stored, limited access flexibility.
  • Personally owned, not easy to share with other people. As a result, the scale of personal collections is often limited.
  • Redundently collected. Consider this: a same gem paper is manually archived by thousands of people individually.
  • Statically and passively maintained. Lack of interactions among people sharing common interests.

Any better idea? Here comes Web2.0, which is all about online collaboration. Among the numerous tools enabled by Web2.0, CiteULike could be the one able to solve the above issues for us. A previous post in AMN explored the possibility to form online journal club based on CiteULike. Here is an example.

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CiteULike: Your online library of scientific literature, and more...

CiteULike is an online service to help academics to share, store, and organize the scientific literature. When you see a paper or a book on the web that interests you, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details (e.g., title, authors, abstract, and DOI). Currently, it supports more than 30 pubishing websites, many of which are of interest of mechanics community, e.g., ScienceDirect, AIP Scitation, Science, Nature, SpringerLink and Amazon.

Searching in your CiteULike library can be very easy. The surnames of all authors in your library are automatically tagged. You can also tag the papers and the books in your library as you like. All these tags appear in a tag cloud. Therefore, locating a paper in your library will be only one or two clicks away. Also, because your library is stored on the web server, you can access it from any computer.

You can also form a group, and integrate every member's own library to a group library. CiteULike also allows everyone to add note on papers or books. By combining the group and the note functions, you can easily form an online journal club among colleagues, collabarators, students, or any group with common interests, no matter how far away from each other.

Programmed by Richard Cameron and generously hosted by the University of Manchester in England, CiteULike is a free service to everyone. You just need to register to use its full functions. It all works within your web browser, no extra software is needed. So give it a try and enjoy.

Note: Nature publishing group also provides a similar service named Connotea. After experimenting both of them, I share the same feeling of many other users: while more attractive at the first sight, Connotea currently offer less flexible functions than CiteULike. I personally vote for CiteULike. You may want to share your experience with CiteULike or Connotea by commenting this entry.

Update on 4 July 2006:

Macroelectronics Journal Club, an online journal club focusing on flexible electronics and running on CiteULike platform, has been launched by www.macroelectronics.org. See a brief introduction here and detail announcement here.

Update on 14 July 2006:

By default, CiteULike stores links to papers. To get full access of a paper, you often need to locate the paper within the subscription of your institution, instead of its original link. By using a scalable bookmarklet, now localizing the paper links can be only as easy as one click away. See a recent iMechanica entry for details.

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What can mechanics community learn from the success of Google?

A cartoon in The New Yorker magazine shows a boy asking his dad a question. The dad, reading a book, replies, “Go ask your search engine.” The cartoon was published in Feb. 2000, three months before Google officially became the world's largest search engine with its introduction of a billion-page index — the first time so much of the web's content was made searchable. If the boy asks again today, his dad will say, “Go ask Google.”

At $6 billion a year in revenue and $7.6 billion in cash, Google is a success. What’s more important to the rest of us, Google is running its business in a way that may change the world. Through its never-about-average products (i.e., Google search, Google Earth (and Mars too), Google Map, and more recently, Writely), Google is radically redefining the ways we obtain, organize, use, store, and share information.

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Review Articles on Flexible Electronics

[img_assist|nid=46|title=|desc=|link=url,http://www.materialstoday.com/2006_issues/april.htm|align=right|width=75|height=100]The cover story of the April 2006 issue of Materials Today features Flexible Electronics. This issue also includes two review articles in this emerging field of research. Access to full text articles is free of charge at http://www.materialstoday.com.

Review Article:

Material challenge for flexible organic devices, by Jay Lewis

Review Article:

Organic and polymer transistors for electronics, by Ananth Dodabalapur

Cover Story:

Jet printing flexible displays, by R.A. Street et al.

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