I write this post not quite believing that this important project has actually come to fruition. Not because of a lack of desire and not because of a lack of ability (though that does explain some of the delay) but more because a project that takes this long can very be relegated to “standby” status for eternity. Thankfully, in this case, that was not meant to happen.
Christoff, my dedicated chemistry and home brewing colleague, and I would like to introduce our pet project for the last couple of years, GetScientific. We set out to build “an online database of learning aids, resources, links, and guides for students and professors of hard sciences” based on our experience trying to find useful resources online during our stint as undergraduate chemistry students. The site accepts submissions in the form of links to resources on other sites as well as class notes uploaded or entered directly into the site. Once the resources have been approved, users can comment and rate these resources to make sure the best stuff gets seen by students in need.
After a few fairly painful platform changes, we finally decided to build this system on Drupal, an open-source content management system that has several of the things we needed built in. As anyone starting out with Drupal knows, getting up-to-speed with this platform is fairly painful and we definitely fell into the trap of “there’s a module for that” for a long time. As we got more familiar, though, we realized much of what we wanted to do was fairly simple with a little bit of know-how and a lot of Googling.
Last week, we decided that it was time to get this site online so we put our nose to the grindstone and tackled the last few pieces of the puzzle. After a string of 12 hour days (put in during and after an artificially low amount of client tasks) ending in nightly check-up meetings, we finally got the site to a point where we were ready to show it to the world and, Wednesday night, we cut the domain over and made GetScientific.com live. This was where I lived for 4 days straight…
This site, for me, represents a lot of blood, sweat, tears, cursing, and mistakes. It also represents the culmination of a year working with Drupal, the completion of my most important personal project to date, and a strong partnership with Christoff, someone who has remained dedicated to the project and always optimistic. I am very pleased with how it turned out and really looking forward to both adding new features and populating the site with resources I’ve been waiting two years to share with the academic world.
Please give it a look and, if you’re in the sciences world, submit anything you have laying around that you think the world might want to see. We’re always looking for feedback so use the form linked from the top of the site or feel free to comment below. We want to grow this community into something great and we need your help to do it! If you’d like to stay in touch about this project or want more information, we’ve got lots of resources posted on the launch post.