Natural Science Weblinks: Networking Nature

Selected Internet services provided by the scientific journal Nature.

The natural science journal Nature and its US rival Science are the world's leading scientific publications. The Nature Publishing Group is currently trying to become the opinion-shaping leader on the Internet. The group is currently going through a phase of wild experimentation, and it remains entirely unclear which services and products will turn out -- by a kind of natural selection -- to be successful in the long-term. There were repeated setbacks and dead ends, as Timo Hannay -- the director of Web publishing at the NPG's online department, which is currently 25 employees strong -- openly admits. "But if we take no risks, we cannot achieve true innovation," Hannay says.

  • Visiting the virtual world Second Life is free. The island Second Life features scientific gimmicks such as walkable cells, a map of the heavens or a molecule model generator.

  • Connotea is Nature's tagging service, a kind of intelligent link list that also functions as a social networking site.

  • Connotea uses an open source code for its software, which can be seen here.

  • Nature journalist Declan Buttler has produced a mashup with Google Earth, in which he portrays the spread of bird flu.

  • What's new from the developers of the Web services department? The Weblog Nascent tells you, as well as inviting commentary from readers.

Background information

  • An interesting introduction to the approach chosen by Timo Hannay, the director of the Web publishing department at the Nature Publishing Group. His main message: "I switched from networks of neurons to networks of computers about 10 years ago when I discovered the Web."

  • Two articles on the topic of social bookmarking, which the director of Nature's online department was involved in. The general thrust: "The Web is old, the Web is new, the Web is all, the Web is you." and

  • The first cover stories from Nature, including the very first, which features a motto from Goethe: "She is ever shaping new forms; what is, has never yet been; what has been, comes not again. Everything is new, and yet nought but the old."


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