While at the AALL annual meeting, I met Stephen Foley, the Chief Tech Officer of a new company called iCyte.   iCyte is beta testing its product which is designed to help the researcher better compile the information he or she gathers on the web, and to house copies of the original version of the web pages where the information was gathered.  I remember using a similar product like this years ago (pre-1999 because I was still working at Oklahoma City University’s School of Law at the time.)  But for the life of me, I cannot remember what the product was called (if you remember it, please tell me!!)  That product, however, only allowed you to save the information locally.  With iCyte, it actually stores the information on the iCyte server, allowing you to access the saved information from any computer with an Internet connection.

Here is what the service includes:
  • a browser plug in – the software to be installed on your personal computer (“Client”); and
  • access to and storage of annotations on an iCyte server (“Server”); and
  • The Client enables you to annotate relevant portions of web-based documents (including web pages and PDF documents). The annotations and the web-based document are then saved as part of a project on the Server (“Annotations”), allowing extraction, publication, sorting, searching and editing at a later date
And there are some service options available as well.
  • Public – a Public setting will allow other users and members of the public to view and access (but not edit) all of your Annotations in that project.
  • Private – a Private setting will allow only those users who have been explicitly been given privileges by you to access, view and/or edit (as specified by you) your Annotations in that project.
  • Enterprise (for users subject to an Enterprise End User Licence Agreement) – an Enterprise setting will allow only those users who are a part of your enterprise to access, view and/or edit (as specified by you) any of your Annotations in that project.
If you are like me, you tend to research by doing the following:
  1. Find the information you need online using your web browser (I’m still testing Chrome and liking it…)
  2. Copy the information to a MS Word document
  3. Analyze the information and then reformat it in the standard research format.
  4. Proof, proof, and re-proof.
  5. Hand it over to the requester (reluctantly, because you just know there was something else out there but you didn’t have enough time to find it because the associate waited until the last minute to ask for your assistance…..  oh, I’m getting off topic … )
The value of a product like iCyte allows you to work in the same manner, but the copying and pasting is much better because you can now save your research process online, keep a copy of the original web page, and use tags to mark-up the data so you can better review the information at a later time.
I’m looking forward to testing this to see if it really matches my expectations.  I’m not sure if the beta test is open to everyone, but if you’re interested, you should contact Stephen and ask to be included in the beta testing.