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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Science Blogging 2008 London was Cool!

Definately not a first post, but here are my experiences of my first blogging conference (see also this and this, the latter using semantic markup for the event): it was fun! My suggested unconference was not chosen, because I, as I usually do, focus to much on how instead of why one wants to do something. Nevertheless, I got to say my things, so I won't complain. While I have not noted a vivid live coverage in blogosphere of the conference, several people were live covering the meeting on FriendFeed. Really nice, because you can comment on statements the speaker makes, while he is talking. People have been using the sciblog tag, which should give you enough hits in the various aggregators and social sites.

The main thing I liked about this conference was the chance to meet fellow bloggers. I am not so much interested in why others blog, and generally not reading blogs about the scientific life. I have written up in the past why I blog, so read that. What does interest me is how we can enhance blogs to make them easier to aggregate, search through, retrieve data, etc, etc. What I'd like to be able to do is read a blog item, note that it is about topic I like, go of into Taverna or Bioclipse (possible via Ubiquity), and hit the get me that data blob button. Now, I don't mind it being hidden behind a paper, being on Google Data, or whatever, I just want to simply hit that button.

Returning readers of this blog that semantic chemistry is something I have worked on in the past, but while Chemical blogspace has a nice people-blogged-about-this-molecule section, it has not really picked up. Main reason is, that people cannot or do not want to add semantic markup. Now, the one thing I like most of the conference discussions yesterday (the pub was too noisy for me to reasonably chat with anyone), was the proposal to use Ubiquity for adding these semantics. So, commands like addSechemticMarkup, convertSMILESIntoInChIKey, that sort of things... The cool thing here, is that it is blogging service independent. It works for anything inside Firefox, including wikis, email, knols, whatever. Now, one obstacle is that Ubiquity involves a command line; and we know how much people dislike command lines, but I'm sure they will come up with Guiquity. Actually, maybe this is the activities that Mike has been talking about...