The Galaxy Zoo Library

Dear Zooites,

I’d like to throw open the doors and welcome you to a relatively new area of the forum: the Galaxy Zoo Library.

We’ve been constructing this for a while. The original idea was EigenState’s. He did a great deal of splendid work planing and putting up the first gleaming shelves. Sadly, he’s left now; so Waveney, Hanny and I have put up some more library areas; Geoff has offered to help me run the Library for the time being; and I’d like to invite you all to come in and use them.

The Library has several purposes. First of all, it’s a place to store the Galaxy Zoo papers. EigenState gave each paper two threads of its own: one, a locked one with bare information; second, a discussion thread for each one. You can find links to each of these in his Master Index.

Waveney has put up a concise storyline about the process of each paper, including the abstracts, and all the Galaxy Zoo Blog links about each one. Not all of our papers have actually been accepted yet. Those which are accepted appear as a link to their arXiv page. This way, you can follow the lives of each paper: their writing, their results, their acceptance – and those papers that build upon each other; for science is often a series of many steps.

Do you find scientific papers rather hard to understand? I do. I read lots of them for university and after four years still couldn’t make head or tail of them. I nicknamed their language “journalese”. Scientific papers are written for a special audience; and some people – not necessarily just scientists – can extract masses of information out of them. I’d like to invite any Zooite to write summaries of what each paper means, or to “translate” various parts of papers – whatever parts you like! – into easier language. That’s not to denigrate this wonderful blog; I’ll be linking to relevant entries whenever possible, too. What I’d really like us to do together, and I know it sounds ambitious, is to see if we can, together, when we’re ready, get more fluent in journalese. Dozens of us have in redshift and spectra. Let’s see what happens!

Notebook in Space

From SDSS: a flying notebook in space!

EigenState also created a Reading List of useful books to read: some hefty, formal, and academic, others not. He invited people to contribute their useful reads, and there is also a Reading List discussion. The subjects of these books include galaxies, cosmology, physics, gravity, quantum theory, practical astronomy, popular science, humour, and more.

Hanny wrote a list of Galaxy Zoo items in the media, which she blogged about a few days ago. You can find this both in Latest News and in the Library.

And what about sharing books ourselves? Chatting about them, recommending them to each other – and reviewing our favourites (or even least favourites!). I’d like to invite any of you to write a review of any books you liked, disliked, found useful, or would generally like to show us. You can send it to me or to Geoff. The reviews will be kept in this locked thread – but as you’ll see in that link, we now also have plenty of comfy threads to be more informal in and drink our coffee.

I’m hoping that this Library will cater for all tastes: those who like quiet, carpeted, stained-glass-windowed libraries with hushed footsteps and deliciously difficult volumes; and those who like bean bags, paper aeroplanes and a nice pile of books and fun websites to pelt each other with and enjoy. On that subject, I can’t imagine anything sadder than an empty, unused paper aeroplane thread; so do please post your favourite scientific sillinesses in there. I have a special fondness for Eric Idle’s Galaxy Song.

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6 responses to “The Galaxy Zoo Library”

  1. Jo says :

    Excellent work all of you! It is wonderful.

  2. Lovethetropics says :

    Wonderful idea! I dream that not many years into the future we could have ebooks on the library to read at our leisure like Baen has. http://www.baen.com/library/

  3. Joseph K. H. Cheng says :

    Excellent idea of great educational value. Congratulations to the TEAM and the forum moderators.

    JKHC.

  4. zeus2007 says :

    Sadly, I must be honest and state that I haven’t been in the Library too often. Somehow I’m afraid to go in there because I don’t want to end up lost and unable to find my way back out, though it sounds good…to get lost in a library dealing with science and space. Sounds fun actually, so I might just go in there and skip all the other boards hahaha…

  5. Richard says :

    That actually is a fantastic idea. Journalese can even be a turnoff to scientists… it seems rare to get a really well-crafted paper these days, from a literary as well as scientific standpoint. Perhaps this exercise can provide useful feedback for the scientists also, about what makes a paper engaging as well as informative…

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