academic ghost towns, Google scholar and Mendeley

in Google scholar, Google, mendeley, research

I’m on a mission to clear out my instapapper backlocg, so I’m going to be blogging olds rather than news. There was a nice piece in the Atlantic last month talking about how Google could provide a better social experience by activating it’s latent networks, rather than mimicking facebook.

But think about Scholar as a latent social network. Each paper contains its own social network that Google already crawls. Every bibliography is filled with other social networks. And people searching Google Scholar are likely to be as interested in connecting with the researchers who created those papers as they are with the papers themselves. Why isn’t Google making it easy to connect the searchers with the searched? And sure, build a whole other set of social tools on top of that, which make it easy to share with networks of researchers. You want every college kid in America to start engaging deeply with your social network? Make it easy for them to get their papers written

That’s Mendeley, that’s exactly what we were trying to build. I think they will do it, I’ve been involved in a few products that ended up being kind of ghost towns, but the beauty of building around objects like papers is that they already come with a latent network of interest. It’s such a huge no-brainer, it hurts.