After 3 days of ScienceOnline I feel better equipped to face the digital onslaught and scientific life in general and I have a whole new level of appreciation for the non-researcher attendees. Here is my ultra short summary. Today I learnt about the importance of images on blogs and where to get them, I also learnt how to manage the data overload problem (breathe). Finally I got to watch some amazingly creative science videos and animations. Plenty of great ideas on how to get complex scientific information across to the general public or even experts in a field. Humor helps too as exemplified by Brian Malow who kindly took the photo shown here in which we proudly display our scientistsDB T-shirts.
I learnt that librarians are definitely still your best ally in sorting the information/tech wheat from the chaff, and boy If I could I would hire one right now. Scientific illustrators in all media do some amazing work and my efforts both here and on a few book covers just pale in comparison to what the pros can do. If you use a scientific image on your blog please credit the creator. Images created by these artists deserve citations like papers. The conference exposed me to the altmetrics advances in this area which was eye opening but would be nice if I could track my images too on the web in addition to posting them at places like Figshare. Scientific journalists/ bloggers are as passionate about science and seeking the truth as you are and if they ask for an interview please be nice to them. I have had excellent interactions with both so far, so long may it continue. I hope I have not missed anyone because this was a truly cross discipline meeting with lots of parallel sessions and unfortunately I could not be in all of the discussions. I am sure that there will be other blogs that will cover this more extensively.
The content of the meeting should be essential reading for any scientist, but to be there in person to experience the atmosphere was another thing altogether and I do feel very fortunate for the opportunity. As a pretty introverted type I felt very welcome. A big thanks to all the organizers. Do I really have to wait a year till the next meeting? Could we set up a local group in NC that meets monthly or every 3 months? How could we reach out to the community to get them involved, teachers, librarians, citizen scientists..