EPrints at Blogtalk 09

EPrints at Blogtalk 09

Warm and humid Jeju island, the favoured honeymoon destination of South Koreans, is hosting Blogtalk 09. Palm trees, teddy bears, life-sized plastic dinosaurs and luxury hotels all within walking distance of the beach. The view of the sea from the conference venue is somewhat distracting.

It’s hard to talk about social networking without hyperbole (the talks have been full of superlatives). It’s certainly important, and the possibilities for EPrints in this area have not yet been fully explored. The Sneep plugin, which enabled commenting on publication records, was very well received, but it is only scratching the surface of what’s possible. I’m here to get a feel for what’s going on at the moment and how this could be applied to EPrints.

A very interesting first day Keynote about the evolution of data access from Issac Mao posited that the sharing of information constituted a public ‘mind’. Data creators acted as ‘neurons’, enabling hard problems to be solved thought distributed discourse. Blogging and micro-blogging are analogous to neurons firing – or so the speaker thought.

How can repositories leverage this? Academic publishing is social in nature, and the brain analogy works here too. If an academic paper can be said to be the equivalent of a blog post, what is the academic equivalent of a tweet? How can we support more fine-grained academic discourse? And is the repository the right place to do this?