I spent much of yesterday going through piles of papers on my desk, throwing out some and sorting others into topic piles. Most of it was printouts of pdfs of research papers, which I keep mainly to remind me that the paper exists. Hype about the new social media site Pinterest is building, and I'm now wondering whether it might be something I could use to visually organize links to papers, rather like spreading them all out on the floor of my magically-expanded office.
I don't have a Pinterest account yet (you have to request an 'invitation', for which you may have to wait a week or more), but here's how I think it works: You set up 'boards' with different topics, and then add items to them by clicking on images you find on the web. This adds the image to your board, with a title and a link to the source. What I'd like to do is create boards for different components of my research (different bacteria, different proteins or functions, etc.) with pinned links to relevant research papers.
Pinterest is set up to work with images, not pdfs. Luckily, research papers almost always include figures, so if you're viewing the html version rather than the pdf version I think you should be able to pin (link to) the paper by clicking on any of its figures. The key step would be giving each link a short informative title reminding you why you wanted to remember it. Has anyone tried this?
I can't try Pinterest out for myself until I get my invitation email. In the meantime here's an image of Carl Zimmer's Pinterest page:
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