Google rules OK
Does Google rule our lives? More and more, it seems. Should we be worried? Probably, but the people at Google just keep coming up with more stuff that is genuinely useful and hard to resist. First there was the search engine, of course – blisteringly fast and accurate compared to the others available at the time. Then, my photos would be in chaos without Picasa, and Google Translate is rather handy kui sa ei leia õige sõna eesti keeles. I use Reader to access my literature feed from PubMed, and Maps before I go anywhere (using Street View, I can walk up to the front door of my hotel in Mexico without leaving my desk).
With Google Earth, you can drop in on the precise field sites where Euan James and others sampled Burkholderia from the nodules of endemic Brazilian Mimosa species. The coordinates are provided as supplementary information to the paper by Bontemps et al. (1). Just load the file MEC_4458_sm_doc.kml into Google Earth, and take a trip.
Google Scholar is essential, of course. As a literature search tool, it is not as precise as Web of Knowledge, but it is so much more up-to-date and comprehensive, and links straight through to the papers I need to read. Now those Google people have done it again by adding Google Scholar Citations. Type “JPW Young” in the Google Scholar search box and you will be offered my User Profile. This lists all my publications ranked by the number of times each has been cited. Switch the order to ‘Year’ to see my latest papers – it is very up to date, and should update automatically from now on. You can click through to the journal for any paper you want to read – provided your library has a subscription, of course.
You might even want to look at the Minutes of the International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes – Subcommittee on the taxonomy of Agrobacterium and Rhizobium (2). This may not appeal to everyone, but is not quite as dull as it sounds because it includes a contribution to the ongoing debate about the status of Agrobacterium.
It is easy to set up your own profile in Google Scolar – click the My Citations link. You need to have a Google account. I encourage everyone to do it, as it is a quick way to increase your own visibility and the visibility of rhizobium research in general.
(1) Bontemps C, Elliott GN, Simon MF, dos Reis Júnior FB, Gross E, Lawton RC, Elias Neto N, Loureiro MdF, de Faria SM, Sprent JI, James EK, Young JPW (2010) Burkholderia species are ancient symbionts of legumes. Molecular Ecology 19:44-52. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04458.x
(2) Lindström, K & Young, JPW (2011) International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes – Subcommittee on the taxonomy of Agrobacterium and Rhizobium. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 61: 3089-3093. DOI: 10.1099/ijs.0.036913-0