Friday, November 14, 2008

current interest levels in scientific social tagging

Lately, I've been looking at the data emerging from social tagging services in the academic domain, particularly Citeulike, Connotea, and Bibsonomy. Here is how these three services look in terms of number of unique visitors per month for the past year.




It seems fairly impressive until you compare it to say, NCBI...



At which point, they seem either a) pitifully insignificant or b) primed with the opportunity for dramatic growth.. If even a small fraction of the people that visit NCBI started to use these kinds of services, the data they could generate (e.g. simply metadata in the form of tags added to scientifically relevant things) is massive.



5 comments:

Egon Willighagen said...

If not mistaken, a ratio of 1 in 100. Not too bad is it? Better up take than blogging, I guess...

bgood said...

If you look at the last time point, NCBI gets about 1,700,000 visitors/month while Citeulike gets about 80,000. So there its actually closer to 1 in 20 I think ??

So ya, it is actually pretty impressive. Not really sure how Compete.com decides what a 'unique visitor' is, but the ratio should at least be indicative.

It makes sense to me that social tagging would get more uptake faster than blogging because its quicker to do and has more obvious immediate personal benefit.

Hari said...

Awesome analytic . Considering how many cool features the NCBI has been adding ( the new advanced search , MyNCBI , Collections, search alerts,) it will be interesting if the NCBI adds a tagging feature and links it to the MyNCBI collections .
I do agree that 1:200 is a great uptake rate for citulike , connotea et al. though I have yet to benefit from any network effects on those services

bgood said...

1:20 right ??

About your netwrok effects, I used to get some really interesting results from the 'related users" feature of connotea, but since I've been tagging things using the entity describer I am apparently no longer related to anyone else. This is presumably because I'm using really different tags (from the perspective of their textual representation in the connotea system) than most people do.

m said...

Nice comparison. Although, I would tend to be more reserved. The ratio is probably not 1 to 100 as noted by others. Secondly, Medline PubMed has been around for years compared to social bookmarking that is in its infancy. So I would say that they are not doing that bad after all, even if many think that the growth of social bookmarking site has reached a plateau.
I think that it will be easier for social bookmarking sites to innovate and add new features. For one thing they are commercially sponsored (except for BibSonomy). Secondly they are fairly light compared to the Medline, so it seems to me they are more flexible.
We will see how they do in the future.