After yesterday's medicines lens, I got to thinking about presenting scientific information in the Unity Dash, and came up with the following:

Academic Lens

The Academic lens searches Pubmed and Google Scholar for journal articles matching your search input and displays them in the dash.  Clicking on the results displays the result in the web browser.  There is also a scope available for integration with bibliographic manager Zotero.  It will also search saved journal articles if you have the Zotero extension for Firefox installed.  The video demonstrates this in action.

There are a few problems I have with the lens which may be difficult to overcome.  Firstly, journal articles, by their nature, tend to have rather wordy titles, and there is a limited amount of space to display each result in the dash, so the article names often get chopped off.

Also, the Pubmed results supply a journal name for each article, so the lens autogenerates some fairly dodgy looking icons depending on the journal name - it's supposed to look like a book with the journal name on the front, but it's hard to make it look like that with little artistic ability, having to have the icon be square and trying to draw an image using python!  Google Scholar results don't reliably have a journal name supplied, so they get an ugly G with a mortar board on.

Despite these flaws, if you want to try it out, you can.  To install, use these commands in a terminal:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:markjtully/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install unity-lens-academic unity-lens-zotero
Then log out and log back in again.

#ubuntu #unity #lens #zotero  
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