ScienceSeeker launches massive upgrade powered by NASW grant

Today we launch the most significant update to ScienceSeeker ever. Instead of just following the 1200+ sources in our database, now you can easily search them to find reliable discussion of today’s most vexing scientific issues.

Search is front and center

The prominent search bar at the top of the site is your entry to a whole world of science you may not have even known you are missing. Since we now index over 150,000 articles, typing almost any scientific term into the search bar reveals dozens, even hundreds of posts. And unlike searches in traditional search engines, these searches find only articles from sources that our editors have approved, which means they are much more likely to be high-quality science, giving you discussion and answers based on scientific research, often written by the experts themselves.

As before, you can filter posts by our pre-selected list of topics, but our new post-profile page allows you to do more. Click on the icon next to any post to bring up the post profile page. There, you’ll see topics chosen by the post author. You can click on any of them to see other posts with the same topic — there are already several thousand topics in our database!

All of this was enabled by a $35,000 Idea Grant to ScienceSeeker by the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). It’s among the largest Idea Grants the NASW has ever awarded, and the money will enable us to add even more functionality to the site in the coming months. Next on the agenda is additional integration with social media sites. We’d like to tabulate mentions on Twitter and Facebook and incorporate that into how articles are recommended. We also plan to allow you to convert any search into a feed, so you can track mentions of a particular article or topic without having to visit ScienceSeeker.

Here’s a detailed rundown of all the new features on ScienceSeeker.org.

  • Site redesigned from the bottom up. We have moved from a WordPress codebase to our own hand-coded system, which streamlines the site and makes everything much faster. The visual look of the site has also been enhanced, so users can easily see where the most important information is, and find details when they need them.
  • New Search tool allows users to find scientific discussion on nearly any topic. In addition to the search bar found on every page, users can search source sites (blogs, news sites, and so on) and posts, and create feeds based on topics they are interested in.
  • Streamlined login and user profiles. New users can register using their Twitter accounts, and the login interface now remembers your page to make your interaction with the site seamless. You can also upload profile photos and edit your user profile.
  • Post profile page. Each post now has a profile page that lists post-level topics specified by the author (using categories or tags when they write the post). The topics are clickable, so you can easily find other posts with the same topics.
  • Notifications. Authors can choose to be notified by email whenever one of their posts is chosen as an Editor’s Pick. (If you’d like to activate this feature, just check the appropriate box on your Settings page).
  • Post Profile badge. We’ve created a new badge that can be placed in any post, linking back to the ScienceSeeker profile of that post. The badge is automatically updated when ScienceSeeker identifies a citation on your post, or when it is chosen as an Editor’s Pick.
  • Pubmed and ArXiv support. Our citation generator now searches three databases to locate research articles. If you are an author and would like to add a citation of peer-reviewed research, just click the “Create Citation” link, enter a few words from the title of the article you’d like to cite, and our system will find any references to those words from the CrossRef, PubMed, and arXiv databases, covering nearly all peer-reviewed scientific publications. If your source isn’t found, there is now an option to manually enter the citation to create a properly-formatted reference in the industry-standard COinS format, recognizable by ScienceSeeker, but also by other resources such as Mendeley, Zotero, and ResearchBlogging.org

You’ll find dozens of other enhancements in this release; there are simply too many to enumerate. Even this blog has gotten a facelift! We encourage you to poke around the site, click on links, recommend your favorite posts, and make notes to share with others.

And don’t forget to follow our four Twitter feeds (@SciSeeker, @SciSeekEds, @SciSeekNotes, and @SciSeekFeed), our Facebook page, and check out our Google+ page, which you can access via plus.scienceseeker.org.

If there are other features you’d like to see on ScienceSeeker, let us know — either via social media, our contact page, or in the comments section below.

Introducing ScienceSeeker’s newest editors: Raphael Ndem and Jordan Gaines

We’re pleased to announce that two new editors have joined ScienceSeeker to help us share images and improve our presence on social media.

Jordan Gaines is our Social Media Editor. She is responsible for updating our Facebook page and managing our Twitter accounts (@SciSeeker, @SciSeekEds, @SciSeekNotes, and @SciSeekFeed). Look for our Facebook page in particular to get more active now that Jordan is in charge!

Jordan is a science writer, journal reviewer, and Ph.D. candidate at Penn State College of Medicine, where she studies sleep (in humans!). She blogs at Gaines, on Brains which explores current neuroscience research, translated into lay terms. Her writing has been featured on Scientific American, Psychology Today, Brain Blogger, LabSpaces, and Scientopia. In her “free time,” Jordan enjoys reading, rowing, playing clarinet, and volunteering at her local Humane Society. Follow on Twitter @GainesOnBrains.

Raphael Ndem is our Photo Editor. He has already begun improving the quality and frequency of updates to the photos featured on the ScienceSeeker home page. He is also taking charge of our Google+ page, which you can access via plus.scienceseeker.org.

Raphael is a tech enthusiast who appreciates the wonders of computers & gadgets. Completing a BSc and MSc in Biomedical Science at a young age furthered his interests in the field of biology, and degree projects involved the use of bioinformatics tools for predicting the secondary structures, and trans-membrane regions of proteins, which allowed him to apply his passion for technology in biomedicine.

When not managing the audio or lighting for amatuer theatre productions, he regularly shares ideas and posts related to his interests on Google+.