What we read this week (9 Feb 2018)

Welcome to Things we read this week, a weekly post featuring articles from around the internet recommended by BMJ’s Digital Group members. These are articles we’ve read and liked, things that made us think and things we couldn’t stop talking about. Check back every Friday for a new post.

Voice UI

Voice UI is definitely coming but the big question is what will researchers use it for? We have plenty of anecdotal evidence that users are listening to academic articles via a range of apps and browser functionality . BMJ is experimenting with voice driven interactions but even simple things like indexing the BMJ in TuneIn to allow users to ask Alexa to play them has proved tricky. “Alexa play Journal of NeuroInterventional Surgery podcast” usually works but “Alexa play Heart podcast” isn’t going to bring up the Heart Journal podcast – especially near Valentine’s Day!

Access control

We’ve been playing with https://kopernio.com/ this week and it seems to work well from a user perspective.  SAML based login solutions like RA21 aren’t a magic bullet for users, they will make things better but can still be pretty painful for users who are jumping between publishers and need to login multiple times. Kopernio solves this problem and it could become a very powerful (and privately owned) player in scholarly ecosystem.


Our focus this week was on our 2 day hackathon with teams working on sentiment analysis of content, automatically reading BMJ articles using Amazon Polly and facial recognition login projects (write up to follow) but here are a few things the team talked about this week:

And finally, this visualization from Simon Kuestenmacher caught our eye

Animated #map shows the location of the world’s largest city in #history over time. #edchat pic.twitter.com/CfR2vHrS2W

— Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) October 5, 2016

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