2collab is a free social bookmarking and reference management service provided by Elsevier and developed by the teams at ScienceDirect and Scopus. It is designed specifically for researchers in the science, technical, and medical communities worldwide. 2collab allows users to store and organize bookmarks for Internet resources from any publisher or website. The site consists of three key features: online bookmarking and reference management to store bookmarks and generate bibliographies, groups through which users can share bookmarks, and networking to find and initiate contact with new people.
Navigation and help
2collab presents a simple user interface with various navigation options. Its home page includes a list of predefined research fields and brief descriptions for targeted audiences including researchers, teachers, students, and librarians. Functional options are provided in three dropdown lists (bookmarks, groups, and tools) on each page in users' accounts. Each bookmark includes citation information, tags, research fields, rating, number of votes and number of comments, bookmark owner and date posted, author icon if the bookmark owner is an author of the resource, and number of people who have bookmarked the resource. The bookmark list can be sorted by date, number of votes, or rating. Associated tags can be viewed in tag clouds and sorted by title, activity, date, and so on. Users can browse recent bookmarks in the groups and research fields in their accounts. The help page is context sensitive. 2collab offers several video tutorials to guide users on how to use the system. The 2collab development blog, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and support email are available at the footer of all pages.
Individual bookmarks can be added manually or by using the 2collab button installed on users' browsers or resource sites that index articles provided by Scopus or ScienceDirect. Usually, users need to enter reference information. However, when a bookmark is saved from a full record page in Scopus or ScienceDirect, all the reference information will be fetched automatically into users' bookmark lists. Bookmarks can be made public or private. Authorship can be indicated if the users are the authors or coauthors of a bookmarked resource's content, and a link will be displayed in their profiles as users' publications, helping users keep track of their own publications.
Management of bookmarks
Bookmarks can be imported into 2collab from various resources including Internet browsers; social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Connotea, and CiteULike; a Scopus author ID; or a Research Information Systems (RIS) file exported from citation management software. Bookmarks in 2collab can be exported in several file formats such as hypertext markup language (HTML), RIS, BibTeX, CSV, and text files (TXT). For each bookmark, the exported file contains the title, uniform resource locator (URL), description, bibliographic information, and associated tags. With 2collab's bibliography creation tool, users can create a bibliography from their saved bookmarks. Available citation styles include American Psychological Association (APA), American Medical Association (AMA), Chicago 15th edition, Elsevier, Harvard, Modern Language Association (MLA), Turabian, and Vancouver. Users can format a single citation into one of these styles from the bookmark detail page and copy and paste it directly into their manuscript.
Networking and potentials for library liaison programs
Tags and research fields can be added to an individual bookmark or assigned to a list of bookmarks in a batch import. If a bookmark is added from 2collab's supported sites, along with citation information, tags are added automatically and research fields are assigned based on definitions in users' profiles. Users can create a private or a public group and invite or recommend people to join. Registered users can email a private group or anyone who accepts contact in 2collab. They can rate or comment on a bookmark. Anyone can print or create a really simple syndication (RSS) feed for a selected list of bookmarks on 2collab. Only registered users can email, export, delete, or share selected individual bookmarks with groups.
The ability for users to create their own tags and the flexibility to create private and public groups, to organize bookmark lists, and to generate reference lists provides possibilities for librarians to use 2collab to provide library services. Librarians can generate a new reference list from their bookmarks and share it with their teaching faculty members or liaison departments. Librarians can help set up secured and private groups for faculty members, students, or research teams to post, share, and manage resources for their projects and later transfer the ownership to group members as needed. Librarians can create subject guides from 2collab bookmarks and provide links to their libraries' websites.
* Users must log in to 2collab to search bookmarks. Searches are limited to bookmark titles, groups, or users, respectively.
* The help page displayed in a popup window and in frame format makes it difficult to print a particular section of the help.
* A rating on a bookmark cannot be changed once it is voted.
* Server performance needs improvement (response time to display a page was slow).
Brief comparison to other similar products
Connotea <http://www.connotea .org> and CiteULike <http://www .citeulike.org> are two other free social bookmarking services similar to 2collab. Connotea was developed by Nature Publishing Group, and CiteULike was developed by Richard Cameron and is now sponsored by Springer providers. Both Connotea and CiteULike were released around the end of 2004. Compared to Connotea and CiteULike, 2collab is a newcomer and has the following unique features:
* more ways to browse bookmarks: tabs to view new bookmarks in groups and research fields, tag clouds or tag lists with bookmark counts, and modifiable ways to view bookmarks
* research fields as a way to browse and organize bookmarks in a broader subject than individual tags
* ability to select particular bookmarks
* ability to post or remove bookmarks from one or multiple groups
* ability to create RSS feeds for any list filtered by group or research field rather than just by user or tag
* ability to format bibliographical citations in major writing styles
* importing of bookmarks with instructions how to get bookmarks from the importing sources
* more options for group member permissions
Weiling Liu, MLIS, firstname.lastname@example.org, Director, Office of Libraries Technology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY; Lin Wu, MLIS, AHIP, email@example.com, Health Sciences Librarian, Health Science Center Library and Biocommunications Center, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN
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|Publication:||Journal of the Medical Library Association|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2009|
|Previous Article:||Spatz, Michele. Answering Consumer Health Questions: The Medical Library Association Guide for Reference Librarians.|