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Mission. The mission of iMechanica is
- to use the Internet to enhance communication among mechanicians
- to pave a way to evolve online all knowledge of mechanics
Management. iMechanica is hosted on a server at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Volunteers--mechanicians just like you--serve as architects and moderators. iMechanica is free: writers are free to post, and readers are free to read.
Read. You can read every post, download every paper, email a post to a friend, locate recent posts, browse user list, and subscribe to RSS feeds. You can do all these without registering. You can be an Anonymous User.
Write. To write in iMechanica, you need to be an Authenticated User by registering for a free account. You can post findings in your lab and observations of a working day, exhilarating or otherwise. You can post advertisements of conferences, jobs, and funding opportunities. You can upload preprints of your recent papers, a practice permitted by most journals. You can even post a preprint of a paper already published in a journal, so that your paper gets one more chance to find its readers. You can post your lecture notes and project reports. There are plenty of reasons for you to post original ideas on iMechanica. You can also write comments on posts of fellow iMechanicians. A thoughtful comment benefits everyone, especially the author of the comment. Really, you can post anything you see fit, so long as it may interest fellow mechanicians and you obey the copyright. Be creative. What you post is a decision of yours. Learn more about how to write in iMechanica.
iMechanica runs as a common, like Boston Common or Central Park. A common belongs to no one in particular, but belongs to whoever uses it. There is time to relax in a common, there is time to build one. Both bring you enjoyment. The best way to help building iMechanica is to think what is good for you. Let software and the collective behavior of all users take care of the community.
Or, shall I paraphrase a better known Bostonian? And so, my fellow mechanicians: ask not what you can do for iMechanica - ask what iMechanica can do for you.
Register. Even if you do not write anything, by registering you make a statement: you encourage fellow mechanicians to explore a new mode of communication, a mode that is faster, opener and more interactive. And it is free for all writers and readers. A large, active user list will attract more and better posts.
Features in iMechanica are powerful yet simple to use. However, they are difficult to describe in words, just as it is difficult to describe how to ride a bicycle by an email. So, why not be brave and explore? Stop reading this post for now, and go straight to register.
Registering takes less than 1 minute. All you need is your name and your email address. (Your email address is invisible to other users. iMechanica will never abuse your email address.)
iMechanica is a multiblog. After you register, you will have your own blog. Within 2 minutes, you should have posted your first entry. Posting an entry in iMechanica is similar to sending an email: all you need is a title and a body of text. The rest is optional.
For example, you have the option to either tag your post with visible tags like research or opinions, or just keep your article in your own blog with no tag at all. You can do anything in between. For example, you can tag your posts within a small circle, using phrases such as chen group or suo group research. If you do not understand tags, just ignore them for now. All tags are optional.
You can create your profile, with your photo attached. You can even create your own home page in iMechanica. When many users create their profiles, iMechanica will look like a social network of mechanicians. All items in the profile are optional.
You can upload images of mechanicians or mechanical phenomena. Once you do, the images join a pool of images that will appear randomly on the left side. It is a way to build a web of mechanicians and to promote intriguing findings in your lab.
If you are concerned that your posts may not be worthwhile for others to read, perhaps you should learn some basic economics of the Internet by reading a recent book The Long Tail.
If you are concerned that you may not find useful things if everyone is posting, you should try the search engine of iMechanica, or just Google. Perhaps it is also time for you to discover RSS feeds and del.icio.us. With all the creative energy pouring into the technology of the Internet, it is safe to say that the development of the Internet will far out pace that of mechanics. If a post is worth finding, you will find it, provided you learn a few new tools. If you find a new tool, please share with fellow mechanicians by posting it with the tag tips.
Together, we can shape iMechanica into a helpful and pleasant common for us all. Please register now.