We're not allowed to use any IM clients here, so I use the web-based Meebo instead. It can connect to AIM, ICQ, MSN/Windows Live, Yahoo and GTalk (aka Jabber), plus has it's own chat room facility which enables one to invite several people to a group chat. It all works through a browser and thus doesn't require a client. It also has a nice Firefox extension, which improves the experience, although it isn't required. Some organisations block the Meebo site, but I understand this can be circumvented using the Meebo Repeater. I've not tried it personally, so I couldn't tell you if it works or not.
There is also Digsby and Pidgin (which is the new name for GAIM), which are desktop client apps and can connect to all of the mainstream IM networks.
If you fancy a bit of Twitter, then Twhirl is a good desktop client.
Regarding "Biodiversity Informatics", it seems that this is rapidly becoming the accepted term for us IT folk working in the fields of biodiversity, ecology and conservation. A snippet from the Wikipedia article:
"Biodiversity Informatics is the application of information technology (IT) tools and approaches to biodiversity information, principally at the organismic level. It thus deals with information capture, storage provision, retrieval, and analysis, focused on individual organisms, populations, and species, and their interactions. It covers information generated by the fields of systematics, evolutionary biology, population biology, and ecology, as well as more applied fields such as conservation biology and ecological management."
Seems to fit the bill quite nicely. I know exactly what you mean about not knowing how to describe what one does, Dave. "Biodiversity informatics" certainly fits better than just "IT". :)
Digital Development Manager | Field Studies Council
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