In the minds of many information professionals, free and Elsevier are polar opposites. Yet Elsevier has introduced several products over the past few years that are striking in their value for information professionals and scientists, in their adoption of Web 2.0 philosophies and technologies, and in their price (none). The most recent is 2collab (www.2collab.com) which gives researchers a technology tool to enhance collaborative work, which is the typical modus operendi for scientists anyway. With 2collab, you can add, share, and rate bookmarks, tag resources, add comments, and create topical groups. Users are encouraged to create a personal profile, which leads to them being considered trusted sources. The environment encourages specialists to work together to evaluate new research, discuss current controversies, and view the research efforts of firt-time authors. Beta testing, as Marketing Manager Brant Emery explained to me, was done with researchers from Elsevier’s Development Partners, who come from academic, government, and corporations worldwide.
The stress during his demo was on science, but as he scrolled through various features of 2collab, I saw several topics that were library-related, science librarian blogs was one, although it lacks several that are at the top of my list. Because 2collab is so new, it will take a while to get the amount of information and number of participants up to critical mass. If it can also somehow incorporate or reach out in some fashion to similar products, such as Connotea, it would be an even more robust collaborative, 2.0 tool. This is definitely on Elsevier’s radar screen.
Here’s Brant demonstrating 2collab to an information professional: