Aziz’s recent post mentioned how blog carnivals allow blogs in the long lonely tail to bootstrap their readership and links. He mentions his real-time Carnival of Brass as a possible improvement. This is a pretty funny coincidence since I’ve been meaning to write about a similar science post aggregator since he invited me to do some guest posts (quite a while ago now [I don’t have many meta thoughts apparently]).
Anyway, the site I was going to mention is ResearchBlogging.org. It’s a real-time carnival (although I don’t think they call it that) that aggregates posts from people blogging about peer reviewed science (e.g. articles in Nature, Science or other journals). I hadn’t ran into any real-time carnivals before so I thought it was a pretty nice way to let small blogs on specific topics get some attention.
I thought it was kind of interesting how the two instant carnival implemented things differently (if you don’t you could skip this part). CoB uses del.icio.us to let anyone (even people without a blog) add links to the carnival. Pretty cleverly it does this using only the features of del.icio.us and without any programming. RB.org on the other hand programmed up their own web site and aggregator. Blog authors have to come to the website, submit the paper they are reviewing and copy and paste a custom tag into their blog entry. Their aggregator then watchs that blog’s RSS feed for the custom tag to appear. Although this sounds like a big hassle, RB.org does manage to turn it into a benefit by looking up and formatting all the bibliographic information for the article. It must have taken a good bit of work to set up but they do have full control of the system and can add in things like validating articles.
Instant blog carnivals either custom-coded or taking advantage of del.icio.us look like a good way to connect long tail bloggers to audiences specifically interested in their topic. I wonder what other real-time carnivals are out there?