For the Gene Wiki aficionado and Twitter users among us, we’re happy to announce the Gene Wiki Pulse! Why follow this new service?

  • Know who is editing the Gene Wiki, live and in real-time
  • Browse serendipitously through a dynamic #network of #people, #genes, and #biological concepts
  • Watch the continuous evolution of humanity’s knowledge of the human genome

The Gene Wiki Pulse tweets when people edit articles on Wikipedia about human genes. Each tweet provides a 140 character summary of each edit and a link to the special Wikipedia page that allows you to see the changes. The events that are currently tracked include:

  1. New PubMed citations (Yes, people cite real scientific articles in Wikipedia)
  2. New media files (such as images of biological pathways)
  3. New article sections (such as ‘Clinical Significance’ or ‘Function’)
  4. New links from gene articles to other articles in Wikipedia (like links to pages about diseases)
  5. Addition or deletion of blocks of text
Every tweet contains hashtags corresponding to the official symbol for the gene described in the article and to the editor of the article. Tweets about new hyperlinks contain the hashtagged titles of the link targets. When a user just adds a plain block of text, we automatically add hashtags for biological concepts extracted using the NCBO Annotator web service.
One of the fascinating side effects of using hashtags in the tweets is the social semantic network that results. For example, someone recently edited the article for FOXM1. Clicking on the #FOXM1 hashtag in twitter shows the gene wiki pulse tweet, but it also shows a tweet by ‘rlanzara’ who was apparently researching the role of FOXM1 in cancer. Hashtags enable you to easily navigate from gene to user to disease to gene to user… Aside from idle serendipitous browsing, the vast armada of tools that consume, integrate, and render the twitter graph can also be applied.
Though the hashtag network is fun, the real goal of the Gene Wiki Pulse is to increase awareness of the Gene Wiki project and, hopefully, to keep the knowledge flowing into it faster and faster. So, go edit some pages and watch the world watch you!