Archive for category: Resources

Mendeley goes open

August 19th, 2010 by

After a few months of private testing, Mendeley announced the public release of their open API. This will allow developers and researchers to build applications and data analysis on top of a massive database of human-annotated scientific references.

We are excited to see our friends at Mendeley push forward on the open science front by making their database accessible to third parties and I look forward to seeing what developers will build on top of this data goldmine. In the meantime, check out the Mendeley Developer Portal or follow the dedicated for updates.

SciSurfer: real-time search on journal articles

May 5th, 2010 by

Imagine a world where real-time search is the norm. You will get just the information you seek landing on your lap the exact minute it becomes available, without you having to explicitly search for it. Will this change the way you do science? SciSurfer thinks it will.

The release cycle of scientific knowledge is slow. It may take up to 2 years for a paper to get accepted in a journal. The publishing process in itself will add a buffer of a few months (arguably because of the time cost of having a paper edition, even though most people will never use it). So, for some of us, it doesn’t feel like we are missing much if we do not get the latest updates on our field the very same minute they are published. Just going to conferences yearly feels like more than enough. But there is a portion of the academia that needs constant updates on their field, as close to real-time as possible. If you are in the life sciences, getting the latest paper about a molecule or a gene you work on before your competitor does may make or break your career.

For those academics, sciSurfer may be a very valuable tool. The basic idea of sciSurfer is to integrate all journal feeds and search over them. Note that they do not archive RSS, so only the latest articles are available. This is a different way to think about search, closer to twitter’s than to Google’s.



CourseRank: An algorithm that helps students choose the right courses

April 6th, 2010 by

I’m not sure how big of a problem selecting classes is for students, and how much it can be automated, but now there’s a tool specifically solving this problem. CourseRank tracks scheduling conflicts, together with some other Interesting features. For example, it gathers course/professor reviews, workload estimations and aggregates questions and answers.

Right now the selection of universities is not that great. It makes sense since the service is specifically tailored to each university, so I can imagine the implementation can take a while.


LaTeXSearch: 1M snippets in a searchable database

January 24th, 2010 by

Springer announced last week the launch of, a free online service allowing users to search a huge database of LaTeX snippets from Springer journals and publications. This follows the launch of a similar service, a few months ago exposing Springer’s database of scientific images (which suggests a precise strategy on how to build Web services on top of content in their publication database).

LaTeXSearch does what it promises, using similarity algorithms “to normalize and compare LaTeX strings so that, if similar equations are written slightly differently, the outputs are normalized and matched, granting you the broadest possible results set”. The only glitch is that snippets are not cached but generated on the fly, with the annoying result that it can take quite some time to display the rendered version of LaTeX formulas in search results.

SpringerImages: Scientific images for the masses (of subscribers)

July 9th, 2009 by

Springer launched yesterday a new service allowing users to search, browse, annotate and reuse scientific images from their huge database of publications.

SpringerImages is a growing collection of scientific images that spans the scientific, technical and medical fields, including high-quality clinical images from images.MD. The continually updated collection – currently over 1.5 million images – gathers photos, graphs, histograms, figures, and tables, and is available to libraries and their patrons via a searchable online database. The SpringerImages interface enables users to search faster, more broadly and more accurately, through captions, keywords, context and more, even jumping from the image to the source article. Users can create personalized image “sets,” and can easily export images for use in their own presentations or lectures.

The service offers a range of potentially innovative features.