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As AtmosPeer, a social community designed for atmospheric scientists, celebrates its first anniversary, ProQuest is expanding the features and engagement opportunities available in the pioneering community network for scholars. The concept behind AtmosPeer and EEBO Interactions, a companion site to ProQuest’s flagship database Early English Books Online, marries aspects of social communities with those of Wikis, ultimately building opportunities for collaboration and content creation. With steady growth in the number of registered users in both communities, ProQuest is evolving the technology behind them.
"AtmosPeer and EEBO Interactions began as experiments, testing a new, proactive role for ProQuest, one that takes us beyond aggregation to maximizing research workflows in key content areas," said Bipin Patel, ProQuest CIO and leader of the company's prolific R&D team. "What we've learned is that users want to interact with electronic content in a variety of ways and these community sites we have designed enable that in ways that are driven by the user."
Each of the communities takes a slightly different tact in serving its constituents. With the help of partners such as American Meteorological Society (AMS), UCAR, Royal Meteorological Society, Scientific American, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), AtmosPeer acts as a source of community information. It connects atmospheric scientists to not only their colleagues -- no matter their location -- but also to emerging research trends, current news feeds, conference information, and funding opportunities. Based on user feedback received during its first year of operation, Atmospeer has recently gone through a comprehensive usability redesign that now allows members to more easily access the most heavily used information areas of the site.
EEBO Interactions gathers scholars of the Early Modern era around its seminal body of primary sources – Early English Books Online – enabling them to connect with one another and contribute to the database. Launched in mid-2010, the resource is now used intensively as a forum for discussion and the dissemination of scholarship, and contributions by users (particularly on questions of authorship and attribution) have already resulted in enhancements to the bibliographic information both in EEBO itself and in other scholarly bibliographies of the period. With 60% of members now contributing, ProQuest is streamlining the process for registered users to share their contributions – within the EEBO Interactions community and on the Web. For example, users can create, edit and publish commentaries and notes that are clearly attributed and accessible instantaneously by all web users. They can also view all of their contributions to EEBO Interactions on a single page that can be viewed by other contributors. Registered users of EEBO Interactions can also use a new "Watch" button, which appears near the top of every page, to receive instant notifications about new postings on particular authors or works by other EEBO Interactions users. And, a new Share/Save feature makes it easier to share contributions to the site via email or services such as Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and Digg.
Leveraging the power of social networking, AtmosPeer and EEBO Interactions conquer traditional barriers of distance, enabling scholars in different institutions and different parts of the world to share their expertise in deep, vertical subject areas. To learn more, visit www.atmospeer.com or eebo-interactions.chadwyck.com.
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