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People in academic communities are increasingly utilizing web-based systems, such as Angel, Peoplesoft, Blackboard, to communicate with other members of their communities. It is obvious from social networking sites that there is societal interest in social networking programs that link people based on interests, but the academic, institutional software packages have not been developed in this direction. Linking could be made on the basis of keyword-defined, user in-put, research topics and academic publications derived from the participants’ personal libraries or those publications that are related to their current projects. Users would be able to see and communicate with other users with overlapping libraries and research interests. Users could share opinions on publications and topics of mutual interest as well as, perhaps most fruitfully, benefit from communicating with scholars with different but related areas of expertise. The system would also have a user-modified element, because individuals would be able to help define and group terms to create a thesaurus and the ontology used to structure keyword relationship. This would be especially useful for individuals, such as graduate students, who are actively developing their own personal academic networks and defining their interests, as well as for researchers interested in creating inter-disciplinary collaborations.

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