Apps for Libraries Idea Challenge

Recently I have been working with Elsevier Labs an a novel project to generate ideas on how they can improve the apps that work with their SciVal API. Thought I would post more here so that you can vote on the ideas that you like the best (there is a prize both for the ideas and for your vote).

See more at – voting for the ideas ends on Oct 28 so vote soon.

More on the project:

 The judges have selected ten finalists for the Apps for Library Idea Challenge –

The Apps for Library Idea Challenge launched in May.  Librarians were asked to describe an app idea, the value for users and a typical user/workflow in order to compete for prizes and hopefully see their app idea built and launched.  40 ideas were submitted and vetted by the SciVerse Applications team.  The international panel of judges then narrowed the field to ten finalists

We are now entering the next phase of the competition… the Collaborative phase.  We invite you to review the finalist app ideas and share your opinion (positive or negative) on whether such ideas are viable.  Such feedback will help evolve the app concepts and will subsequently inform the voting that’ll start on October 17th.  All eligible (substantive) comments will be entered into a drawing for one of ten gift cards for USD 50.  If you have any other questions or comments please get in touch with me (

In their own words, the finalists are:

Determining the number of authors per article

This application would count the number of authors per article per year in a broad topical search results set. For example, in the search set [(rna or “ribonucleic acid”) and (2000-2011)], what % papers have 1 author, % papers have 2 authors, % papers have 3 authors, up to what % have 10 authors, by year.

Journal Abbreviation Translator

Journal titles in the reference sections of papers are frequently presented in an abbreviated format (e.g. J Am Coll Surg for Journal of the American College of Surgeons (New York NY). Often it is necessary to ascertain the full title of a journal before, for example, searching for holdings on a library catalogue which do not generally include title abbreviations. This App will allow users to quickly and simply look up titles for given abbreviations, or vice versa within the SciVerse platform.

Journals/Conferences @ Your Fingertips

Identify the top 20 journal/conference titles relating to the user’s search results, by counting the no. of articles retrieved from each journal and provide a ranking for the top 20 journal/conference titles that these articles appear in. Automatically provide RSS feeds on the latest Table of Contents for these top 20 journals to the user.

JTOCs 2 Go

Set up and easily customize a journal table of contents service (presumably based on Scopus collection but ideally regardless of publisher or source platform). Links can be configured to an institutional license (OpenURL or Proxy) to enable full-text access and linked into existing apps such as Share, SciverNote, and Mendeley Readers (either individual citations or batch).

SciVerse Live Chat

The idea is an app that using live chat technologies connects library assistants with researchers.  The application workflow could be: 1. A library assistant creates an account (it requires institution’s IP range) and logins using the SciVerse live chat website. 2. When a researcher needs help, he simply has to click the “Live Chat” app. Then, he will be connected with a local library assistant. 3. During the session, the library assistant will be able to see information such as user’s query.

SciVerse Search with Support

Would combine the functionality of the SciVerse apps with the ability to IM a librarian if the library uses AIM or Meebo to provide instant message reference services. In the preferences screen, the user could add the screen name of the library’s AIM or Meebo account, and have it available when they need assistance.

Search Aid

This is to support search in SciVerse, Scopus, etc. and should be optional. When selected, each word in a query is checked against a thesaurus/dictionary for alternative terms. Alternative terms (synonyms) should be combined with OR in the query.

Visualization of Facets

Provide intuitive visualization of result sets, with drag-and-drop capabilities to combine concepts. Show relative size of sets based upon results, overlap of concepts, and citation relationship of concepts as space between sets.

Vocabulary Mapping

An application that would analyze a keyword search and generate some form of tag cloud with recommended controlled vocabulary terms. If this were somehow able to visually convey the number of records under each term, and the interrelation between them, I think that would be beneficial. I’m trying to describe something that would be a cross between a traditional tag cloud, like that of Delicious, and something possibly like either recommendation engine or AquaBrowser’s sidebar.

Yumetrics or SciMetrics

I would like to see a researcher be presented with his/her own hit/citation data, updated dynamically in the online continuum from pre- to post-pub, whenever they are logged into the website, which may mean being able easily/instantly to call it up through an app. Not only is the information of professional interest to the user, there is also a semi-tangible bit of stroking that is simply pleasing, thus giving the user a pleasant experience. The value of that cannot be overestimated.

Click through to see the full details, value for the user, typical workflows and images related to the ideas.  Don’t forget to add your comments.

Stay tuned for the voting and selection of the winners.  These will be announced at the Charleston Conference on November 2-5.