Category Archives: LaTeX

The Web is 20 years old and its impact on journal reference management

I got this email from a certain Anderson Brown on the BioConductor mailing list. It actually lists some useful tools after a slightly wordy introduction and before a sales pitch (actually WizFolio offers a free account limited to 100MB or 200 items). Enjoy!

Hi,

March 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the invention of the Web.   Like all great inventions, it arises out of an unmet need that badly needed a solution.  Tim Berners-Lee foresaw the great potential that can be unlocked by connecting data across disparate operating systems.  You can see the full talk by Tim Berners-Lee as he explains it at: http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web.html

Fast forward to 2004 when the term “Web 2.0” was first coined.  This term now generally has the connotation of instant “read-write” and increased connectivity on the Web as exemplified by applications like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. How will such technology impact upon the busy scientists’ workflow in terms of searching, compiling, organizing, sharing and analyzing peer reviewed journal articles?  A new crop of journal reference management applications have emerged within the last 18 months.  The term “journal reference management” is used here as opposed to the older term “bibliographic management” to emphasize the importance of managing and linking the bibliographic data with the PDFs.

The biggest frustration for the busy scientists is the difficulty of locating and managing the PDFs from a set of bibliographic data.  I have listed a number of recently released journal reference management applications that addresses to a certain degree this frustration.

Zotero – A research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources. www.zotero.org

Labmeeting – Organize, search, and store your paper collection and lab protocols. www.labmeeting.com

Pubget – Similar to Pubmed, except you get the PDFs right away. www.pubget.com

Mendeley – Academic software for managing & sharing your research papers. www.mendeley.com

At WizFolio, we started 2 years ago with a vision of creating a web based application that would manage bibliographic data and PDFs with the same ease that you would MP3 files.  Tightly coupled with the application is a citation tool that the user can customize on-the-fly with instantaneous preview.  We invite you to give WizFolio Web 2.0 a try at www.wizfolio.com and appreciate any feedback and comments that will make the application better.

LaTeX center aligning paragraph columns in tabular environment

I frequently use the table and tabular environments in LaTeX. And I use the paragraph column very frequently as it allows me to control the required width. The one drawback to using the paragraph column is that it is left-aligned and I often need it to be center-aligned. This has been driving me potty. Finally after about half an hour of searching today, I managed to stumble across the solution! Hallelujah

Marvel at the simplicity of this hack here. I love LaTeX and and the fantastic community around it.