Kevin from CiteULike wrote in to let us know that they introduced a number of new features. Beside some new user-oriented features (e.g. an editable profile and the possibility to create a blog), the most interesting additions are those that extend group functionality.
Using an online reference manager to share a reference pool among members of a team or project is a brilliant idea, but the previous implementation of groups in CiteULike was pretty poor. The recent upgrade addresses some issues of the previous version and introduces interesting new functionality that should make team-based use of a reference pool snappier and more usable.
The following new group-oriented features have been introduced:
- News mini-feed
- Privacy settings
- Group membership schemes
- A group library
- A message board
- Discussion forums
- Administration functions
- Invite a friend
From my point of view, the best improvement is the ability to separate a group library from the libraries of its members. Sharing irrelevant references with members of the group was a really annoying issue. Now you can decide which of the references from your library should be posted to a group.
The new fine-grained privacy settings may also interest those users concerned about the publicity of their own bookmarks. Although I see some use for this feature (especially for private networks and consortia) I still believe that the power of social software lies in the fact that as end users we accept to give away a little bit of our privacy to gain a lot of valuable information and socially aggregated metadata in return. Social enrichment of my own reference library would not be possible if everyone opted for private bookmarks.
The new additions look promising and definitely worth a try (see this page for a complete list of the new features). I still hope that sooner or later CiteULike will introduce real one-to-one sharing functionality (similar to del.icio.us inbox feature that allows you to cc: a reference to someone else’s inbox) on top of group membership.
Keep up the good work guys!