May 312007

An article in Fast Company from last September talked about how users are adding iMixes to the iTunes Music Store (ITMS), and how this creates value:

“McGuire and his research partner, Derek Slater of Harvard University, predict that recommendations by music consumers online will drive 25% of all Web-based music transactions by 2010, up from less than 10% today. Gartner expects the U.S. market for music downloads, excluding ring tones, will nearly quadruple, to $1.9 billion, in five years.”

This got me wondering about what would be the equivalent of iTunes and the iTMS for scientific literature. That is, a really easy-to-use programme for managing your “assets”, i.e. scientific articles, with seamless links into the sources. The software would have to be easily configurable (preferably self-configuring) to work with current access systems, e.g. would know about OpenURL and local library systems (and/or downloaded PDFs, though these are increasingly lacking compared to the full online version). EndNote has some of the iTunes functionality (though with a very clunky old-fashioned interface) but it doesn’t link to a single source like iTunes links to ITMS, so that there is no way for users to create and share recommendations directly through EndNote. Perhaps the combination of EndNote plus Connotea (or CiteULike) is the nearest?

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