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Literature Referencing Meets Social Networking

Posted by LushingtonTechWriter on February 20, 2013 at 3:25 PM

First I must offer the caveat that this post at least partially duplicates what I wrote earlier today on the Gerald Lushington Quora blog.  However, while I don't think the web needs duplication of content, I figured that I would draft another post to reside here in my technical writing blog.  Why?  Because on Quora my motivation for posting was this belated attempt of mine to learn about effective social networking, while here I like to expound on resources and skills that facilitate effective technical writing.  As strange as this might seem, the subject of my latest Quora post, namely the Mendeley utility, actually bridges these two topics!

Mendeley is a professional networking site that aims to facilitate scientific collaboration via standard discussion space postings plus .... literature citation management!  What a captivating idea!

Anyone reader who has engaged in collaborative research or multi-person document authoring must surely have experienced a variety of technically clunky scenarios such as a) one author forwarding a publication or citation to another in order to elaborate on a specific issue, b) multiple authors adding to and modifying a growing list of references while trying not to mess up the referencing scheme used by other authors, c) manually altering citation format to reflect a change in the publication target, and d) other mildly annoying and time consuming referencing hijinks.  Well, if online collaboration environments like LinkedIn, ResearchGate, etc., want to transform the way scientists interact with their community, it is perfectly logical that they help overcome the referencing babel bottleneck and that is precisely what Mendeley aspires toward.

Mendeley is clearly oriented toward science, but technical writing obviously transcends far more disciplines.  I would be very curious to know if sites catering toward other disciplines are also attempting to address collaborative referencing?


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Posts in this blog represent the honest opinions of Gerald Lushington and have not been affected by commercial interests or other inducements.


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