So, ChemSpider is still in beta even though we are moving fairly quickly in the “back room”, and the development team has grown. There is a lot of infrastructure work going on despite what you see on the site when you come to crawl with the Spider. You should sense performance improvements when you use it though.

I’m the whiner on the ChemSpider team. That means I use the “whine” function in our bug-tracking system Bugzilla, our Open Source bug-tracking and feature request tracking system. It’s a great system for our needs and if you need a system out-of-the-box which will suffice for moist of your needs go grab it. So, what am I whining about? Here’s my list of Five Things I Don’t Like About ChemSpider.

1) Many of our molecules are simply ugly. The connection table is correct but some of our displays of the molecule are far from perfect – take a look at the two structures below. The one on the left does NOT really have a chlorine attached to the oxygen. The one on the right is simply a mess.
Cleaned Structures - with problems!

This is an issue of Structure Cleaning. It IS difficult. Even the drawing package vendors struggle with this. It needs improving…whine…

2) We really need to do something with the curated data. People have been curating data on our site for a few weeks. We need to do something with it to show that their efforts matter….whine, whine…

3) We need to allow people to deposit data. There are people wanting to flood the system with data…in some cases one structure and in many cases thousands of structures. Right now its a very manual process…data has to come to us. I want a user to be able to submit their own data…sure we’ll validate and review but let people deposit the data at least….whine, whine, whine…

4) I want people to add content and information to structures. Not everything can be done with robots and process…people need to contribute. Wikipedia is all about community participation. Chemists have information about structures, about reactions..about connected data. When they have info they want to associate/link/dump and connect to a structure I want them to be able to do it….whine, whine, whine, whine…

5) ChemSpider was a rushed release. We’ve never hidden it…it was rolled out in time for the ACS in Chicago…and rushed. It went live with a lot of holes. It’s still beta. It’s working, and it’s moving but it’s time for some of the work flows to be improved and the website to be “prettied up”……whine, whine, whine, whine, whine…

Ok…those are my top five whines….and none of them are from a bottle. So, with these in mind it’s what we’re off to work on. Our short to midterm efforts will be in these areas.

What are the things YOU don’t like about ChemSpider? Whine away…we’ll Bugzilla your comments!

Stumble it!

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