I have been using and developing NeuroBiography: daily since about 2001. The most recent developments were caused by my Windows laptop crashing in November 2008 - I migrated from Windows MS Access to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP (LAMP, via XAMPP). I feel very smug and content about this transition, and it has forced me to start putting it online.)
Primarily, it is used as a general reference, article, and work database to store notes and organise articles. Additionally, it contains neuroimaging coordinates, details of scientific awards and events, quotations, positions that scientists have held, information about journals, etc.
NeuroBiography: is different from PubMed, other similar online resources, and other reference managers, in several important ways:
- Authors are uniquely identified 1-3
- So are journals & keywords
- It contains books, chapters, presentations, and theses, as well as journal articles
- It is not restricted by field, journal, or publishing date (though, someone has to add the data...)
- Articles may have associated neuroimaging (fMRI/PET/TMS/EEG) coordinates (& any other data I add)
- And links to cited & citing, commenting & commented articles
- Corrections and updates propagate instantly throughout the database and website
- It's mine.
So, convinced or otherwise, this is NeuroBiography:. Search for articles, neuroimaging coordinates, or authors by following the links on the left. Contact me with any questions, suggestions, or whatever.
- Aerts R (2008) Digital identifiers work for articles, so why not for authors? Nature, 453(7198):979
- Enserink M (2009) Are you ready to become a number? Science, 323(5922):1662-1664
- Nature (2009) Credit where credit is due. Nature, 462(7275):825
What is NeuroBiography:?
NeuroBiography: is a database of information about scientists' lives & work. It brings together information about selected neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers, alive and dead, with the books, articles, and theses they wrote, the presentations they gave, the places they worked, events, and quotations.
What is NeuroBiography:'s History?
The origins of NeuroBiography: are several. Initially, I began drawing up a time-line of various developments and schools of thought in Psychology. This was on a single sheet of A4 paper. I was twenty. Later, after most of my possessions were stolen in South Manchester, I decided an inventory of all my books was also required. More recently, when researching and writing essays, I developed the neurotic tendency to copy, type-out, and store hundreds of references for each essay, mainly to fulfill anal retentiveness, but also to get a clear picture of the field I was researching. Then, revising for my finals, the tables and timelines just grew in number until I had twenty or thirty files of information, all related in some way to a central set of themes.
The basic idea, then, was to bring all this information together in a single, efficient data structure. I have been pumping it full of facts ever since, but the greatest advances came in several phases:
The first quarter of 2002
I had spent a lot of time working on the database of The Simon Community charity in London in 2000-01. This gave me lots of opportunities to struggle with Microsoft Access, and learn the basics, usually incorrectly. Returning to the more stable lifestyle of Academia, I took a few courses, read a little, but mainly spent hours tapping away bit by bit to get the data into an efficient format
The evolution during this period was punctuated and saltatory, usually reflecting my other (more important) workloads
Spurred on by my Windows laptop crashing, I began the switch from Windows MS Access to Ubuntu Linux and MySQL, via XAMPP, and this naturally led to going online. Slowly.
Why Spend so much Time on NeuroBiography:?
A good question. I've always been interested in the history of the sciences that I work at, how they developed, who was responsible, what else was going on at the time in other fields. NeuroBiography: was a way to bring this kind of information together without unnecessarily long and flowery text to wade through.
More importantly, I use NeuroBiography: every day, to keep notes, organise my articles, files, and projects, and format reference lists for manuscripts. It is the single most useful weapon in my academic arsenal.
What's more, now that NeuroBiography: is online, I (will increasingly) use it to create many of my webpages, listing publications, abstracts, presentations, and projects. Within a few solid weeks of html, php, and mysql programming, I will have a fully-functional, dynamic, and minimal-maintenance website, in which NeuroBiography: is the engine.
Any Final Thoughts?
Well, this section used to be about how I would put NeuroBiography: online. That's done now, so I just have to develop it and use it. So, watch this space...