Academia.edu and NicNames
Two new namesy things have cropped up since our last post. Academia.edu is a social-networking site, primarily aimed at academics based in research institutions. It has been developed by Richard Price, of All Souls College, Oxford (his details on the site give an idea of the kind of information that can be uploaded) and has been fairly heavily promoted in the last month. The site depends on its users for its content: you have to create a profile before anything can be edited, but once this is done, you can change anything that isn’t part of another user’s profile. For example, I altered the name ‘Manchester University’ to the more offcially-approved ‘The University of Manchester’. Of course I suppose I could have changed it to something more interesting…
The site allows its users to upload papers (this process converts papers into Scribd’s iPaper format). This is a pretty easy process and raises a question in my mind as to whether researchers might end up finding it simpler to do this than to deposit their work in their ‘official’ institutional repository. But I’ll leave that one for time to tell and others to argue about. One thing I’d like to see on the site is a way of having a deeper tree structure than the simple three-level hierarchy that is currently possible. The entry for Manchester (pictured below – click the image for a closer look) shows the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the same level as the School of Medicine (which is part of the Faculty).
The other new project is called NicNames and is based in Australia, part of the ARROW (Australian Research Repositories Online to the World) project. The project manager, Stuart Hall, has started a blog for NicNames which will hold project updates and findings. The draft project plan for NicNames (based on the JISC format used for our very own Names project plan) is available for review (also via Scribd, co-incidentally), and comments on it are welcomed. Like Names, NicNames is very focused on the needs of institutional repositories in relation to author names. The project aims to produce a toolkit for use by repository managers which will aid in identifying and disambiguating author names.