Week 7 Tools: blinklist, citeulike, & connotea
I started to take a look at these social bookmarking tools in the order they were posted. My initial response to BlinkList, was ‘WOW this seems easy’. It told me right away what it can do, it gave me a brief idea of how exactly it worked and it offered a more in-depth tour showing in greater detail how it works. I thought it was great that it had a specific section geared towards those teaching classes and “what BlinkList can do for you!” and your class. They made getting started quite easy but if you weren’t sold on its ease, they show you samples of Resent activity, and let you click on some popular tags to see what it will look like. I checked out the link to the Web2.0 tag from the main page, and I liked how it was sorted by tabs for “most recent”, “Hot Now”, and “Popular”. I also liked how it shows you a star rating, based on votes, and a screen shot of the actual website. Sign up was as easy as it said it was, and importing my browser favorites easy. The step by step “how to” was straightforward, clear and appreciated. I haven’t imported my del.icio.us files as yet, I want to give BlinkList a test run before I make any decisions to import everything and choose one bookmarking tool.
The main page of CiteULike wasn’t quite as appealing as BlinkList, however it clearly stated the purpose of the tool, what it can do for you, and really focused on citation aspects, as well as the academic community. It felt more serious, more professional, and a little less fun, but it seemed like a worthy enough tool for a test run. Just like BlinkList it gives you a list of the most popular tags in the right hand tool bar. Their presentation of tags was quite neat, as it displayed the tags in a random scattering, with the most popular sized accordingly, the way extisp.icio.us did for our own del.icio.us tags. Further because of its rather professional tone and appearance, the tags seemed quite academic and relevant. The site, while it was not wild and crazy and terribly exciting, it did have reasonable navigation and it was quite obvious and easy to use. Just as BlinkList it provided sample posts and articles so you could get a taste before you signed up. Once I signed up I was disappointed to find (at least from my quick investigation) that I could not import/export from my del.icio.us or browser favorites quite as easily as I could from BlinkList. From my quick browse through, it seemed that I could only easily import/export from BibTeX (free) or EndNote (commercial). However, that aside posting an article was quite easy, and searching an article was even easier. I like the ability to mark it “very likely to read” or “might read”, etc. on its way in, and I like the ability to let the article posted be public but to keep the notes portion private if you so choose. I think this tool definitely lends itself well to academic research because of its compatibility with BibTeX, etc. and it defiantly makes obtaining citations quite easy. Connotea’s site was a little livelier than CiteULike, and a little busier than BlinkList, however it was straightforward and walked you through the steps of registering and how it works relatively well. I like that it listed the top 5 reasons to use Connotea, but you have to click separate tabs to read about Connotea, latest news, site guide, community pages, etc. I think I would have liked to taste a few more of its features right from the main page. As for the registration process it asked for more personal information than just a user name and email address. This site wants to know your first and last name (which will “not be seen by other users”)…hmmm interesting…I wonder why they need/want this when the others don’t….
Connotea also made you wait for the verification email before you could log in and start using it. The others didn’t require that you wait for it they let you get started but told you everything you need for future log in would be in your email. So far I’m not nearly as impressed by Conntea as I was with BlinkList and CiteULike. Even once I got my registration email and I logged in, I didn’t find the navigation of the site was as intuitive as the others. I’ll keep the account for now but it will definitely be on probation. My final vote goes to BlinkList for easy navigation, straight forward explanations, and it was even a little fun. However, CiteULike is a close second due to its implications for academic research and easy citation. And unless in the next week or so Connotea captivates me it’s not ranking so high J.