Sunday, November 8, 2009
Lumifi is a website designed to help find good research on a topic, organize it and collaborate on it with friends, colleagues or the world. The website says that universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, John Hopkins and MIT use Lumifi to organize their research and collaborate. The website is well designed with a clean interface and sense of professionalism. Amazingly, it is free to anyone although organizations can have Lumifi create custom interfaces using the software for a fee. Lumifi is a combination of sophisticated database engines that use a "contextual analysis system" which analyzes content to help refine searches for information.
It is easy to register and begin working although I feel that a tutorial would have been very helpful. While it was very easy to search, I was unclear how to save that search to a Notebook I created and I didn't know how to collaborate with others. I searched Google to see what others had said about Lumifi and it seems that many reviewers were disappointed by the interface's functionality. Disruptive Library Technology Jester (DLTJ, 2008) also noted that there was no help provided as to how to use the site effectively. So while it is easy to search for relevant websites on a topic, it isn't so easy to do anything with those searches. I search Web 2.0 and found several interesting articles, but could not save that page to a notebook and couldn't figure out how to collaborate with others on my findings.
I think what is important in reviewing this website is that not all Web 2.0 tools are going to be good. This one looks professional and seems to have been built solidly but the interface is confusing and hard to understand. There seems to be a lot of promise in having a website where I can search sites that are relevant to my search and then share them with others in a cohesive way but unless I am missing something, Lumifi does not deliver on that promise. That said, I did find a great source for Web 2.0 tools that I didn't find before. Too bad I couldn't figure out how to do more with it. I'll keep looking for this type of tool - it is needed. If anyone has found something that does this, please let me know.
Murray, Peter. (2009 September 4) Test driving Lumifi. Message posted to Disruptive Library Technology Jester: http://dltj.org/article/lumifi-test-drive/