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Archive for July, 2008

HuffingtonPost starts providing topic pages

HuffingtonPost today announced that, in addition to its usual front-page layout, it’s aggregating its content around 75 (so far) top-level topics. For example, here’s the Barack Obama page. This takes a page (so to speak) from the NY Times Topic pages, which pull together the NYT’s topic on something like 3,000 topics. The NYT Topic pages not only give a centralized place to read about something, they also give people a place to link to, which apparently happens a lot given the strength of those pages in Google rankings. Likewise, the Huffpo “Big News” pages can be linked to and are widgetized.

I’m not sure how the new HuffPo pages differ from the old pages you’d see when you clicked on a tag. Presumably, there’s been some level of hand editing, but I’m not sure

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Turning to the bloggers

When I read something like today’s news that only 10% of American newspaper editors consider foreign news to be “very essential” to their coverage, I instinctively turn to the bloggers who I know will have something enlightening, thoughtful and sometimes profound to say. And that by itself says a lot about how news is changing.

Of course, I did read that particular news in a newspaper, although I was referred there by a blog aggregator. So, I’m not saying that professional news media are unnecessary or add nothing. Not at all. But the news ecology in just a few years has become 100% mixed.


Mygazines, because was taken? is an interesting idea. Currently in beta, it’s designed to let anyone upload any magazine or magazine article, and then share the content, using the familiar elements of content-based social networking sites (or, more accurately, the social networking elements of content-based sites).

The site unfortunately has little information about itself, so I don’t know what they think they’re going to do about the obvious copyright issues. The existing content includes the magazines’ ads, so maybe the site hopes publishers will see some benefit in being scanned ‘n’ read. (As an example, here’s a link to the complete contents of the current issue of The New Yorker.)

While the tool for reading is pretty slick, the process of posting to enable said slickness seems pretty onerous.

I’m interested to see what becomes of it… [Tags: ]

The month in taxonomic writing, taxonomized

Nick Sly has taxonomized the month’s best posts on “biodiversity, taxonomy, and systematics.” Some great stuff in it.

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Kindle is fun but sucks for scholars

I’m enjoying my Amazon Kindle ebook reader, albeit while accidentally pressing the “next page” button as often as everyone else (did they beta test this thing all on the thumbless?), and whining about the rest of the annoyances about which you should not even get me started. Nevertheless, it works fine for pleasure reading and I like carrying a whole bunch of books among which I can switch rapidly. And despite its ugly DRM heart, you can upload books from the Net in PRC, MOBI, or text formats.

But, when it comes to books I read for research, it’s about as effective as it would be as a boat anchor.

First, the note-taking and highlighting are jokes.

Second, it (usefully) lets you repaginate on the fly, but (annoyingly) doesn’t know the original page numbering. How am I supposed to cite a page in a reference? It should let us ask nicely about which physical page the current text came from.

Third, there’s no bibliographic tool.

Obviously, Kindle was not designed for researchers. I understand that, and I would have made the same marketing decision. But for Kindle 2.0, it’d just take some software. (Well, and a change to the Kindle book format to capture the original page numbers.)

There’s a bunch of skeptical Kindle links here.

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