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September 29, 2003

e-Journal of Surface Science and Nanotechnology, SciELO

:: The Surface Science Society of Japan has created the e-Journal of Surface Science and Nanotechnology. The papers are referreed, but the English on the journal homepage needs some serious editing.

:: SciELO Brazil:

    The Scientific Electronic Library Online - SciELO is an electronic library covering a selected collection of Brazilian scientific journals.

    The library is an integral part of a project being developed by FAPESP - Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, in partnership with BIREME - the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information. Since 2002, the Project is also supported by CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico.

    The Project envisages the development of a common methodology for the preparation, storage, dissemination and evaluation of scientific literature in electronic format.

    As the project develops, new journal titles are being added in the library collection.

September 25, 2003

Web Research Guide from Elsevier

:: From Sitelines:

    Elsevier has produced a highly readable Web Research Guide, aimed "at scientists, faculty members students, researchers and authors who have access to ScienceDirect. Although clearly intended to promote ScienceDirect, the general suggestions about search tools, written by an unidentified editorial board, are really very good -- and attractively presented as lists of tips with examples and templates."

September 24, 2003

Librarian On-Site! - Remote Service to Engineering Students

:: I'm writing this from Computer Laboratory E2-006, in the Engineering Teaching & Learning Complex of the University of Alberta. Today we begin our Librarian On-Site! service for the Faculty of Engineering students and staff. When this blog began in late March 2003, I asked librarians on two listservs for feedback on providing remote or satellite service to their users, and I received a generous number of replies. Now, six months later, we are running a trial service beginning today, September 24, 2003, and running every Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm, in the largest computer lab in the ETLC.

One major concern was how to advertise this new service. We submitted a short writeup to the weekly newspaper of the Engineering Students' Society, and I sent e-mails to all faculty and grad students, and encouraged them to advertise the service in their classes. We also designed a poster, which was also printed in a 24"x36" format for use on a sandwich board outside the computer laboratory, and posted smaller versions throughout the faculty and departments.

I promise to report back on our progress at a later date.

September 22, 2003

Databases and The Ethics of Sharing Passwords

:: Randy Cohen writes perhaps my favorite column, The Ethicist (ID and PW: podbay), for the NYTimes Magazine. He is the author of The Good, The Bad & The Difference: How to Tell Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations. In the Sept 7, 2003, issue of the NYTimes Magazine, he responded to a question from a high school student regarding the use of online resources at a university attended by her brother, by using his password to gain access. I work at a university with a large number of online resources, and wonder how often this happens, since we are unable to patrol who actually is using passwords when off campus. Here is the question and Cohen's response, which certainly gives much food for thought.

    Q: "Last spring I was a high-school sophomore struggling with a research paper. My brother was a sophomore at a prestigious university with an excellent online library. He offered me his user name and password, providing access to resources unavailable to the public. Keeping in mind the thousands of dollars spent on his tuition and that the university wouldn't lose anything by my getting an A on the paper, could I have accepted his offer? Sara Smolley, Florida."

    A: "If the library access your brother offered was, as I gather, unauthorized, then it wasn't his to offer, and it certainly wasn't yours to accept. (He's not allowed to swipe college office supplies and send them to you, either. Too bad, I know. But that's ethics for you.) Were he to have done the research for you -- something rare in the annals of big brotherhood -- that wouldn't change things. His library privileges, presumably, permit him to do his own work, not to set up a reference service. That he pays a lot of tuition is beside the point: those who shoulder Ivy prices must obey the rules, too.

    What's more, the university could indeed lose if all students passed along their passwords to reference-hungry relatives. An overloaded system with delays for legit users is no boon to higher learning. But even if the school doesn't lose, you'd be on shaky moral ground. Yours is the same rationalization of those who hook up their own cable TV's or sneak onto the subway (or, more rarely, hook up their own cable TV's on the subway). For these services to be sustained -- libraries, HBO or IRT -- each user must pay his or her fair share.

    On the bright side, there are many fine public libraries right there in Florida (if the Legislature hasn't cut their budget), as well as many publicly accessible sites for online research."

Cohen, Randy. The way we live now: 9-7-03: the ethicist - nuclear strategy. New York Times Magazine, Sept 7, 2003, p28.

September 17, 2003

Engineers and Weblogs

:: Karen Auguston Field, Chief Editor of Design News, describes Why Every Engineer Needs a Weblog.

September 15, 2003

Virtual Museums and Public Understanding of Science and Culture

"This Web page offers a retrospective of a symposium held in May 2002 by The Nobel Foundation. "The purpose of the symposium was to explore how scientific and cultural institutions can use Internet and the new information technology to promote public understanding of science and culture." A brief recap of the event and a transcript of the panel discussion are provided online. Additionally, nearly twenty presentations and articles from keynote speakers can be downloaded. The presentations addressed many different topics, including basic justification for virtual museums, discipline-specific online exhibit design, and interactive virtual laboratories. " (From: The NSDL Scout Report for Math, Engineering, and Technology, v2, n18, 12 Sept 2003)

:: Today's website comes from the Science & Engineering Library at UC San Diego.

September 11, 2003

ACS Analyzes WTC Dust; Edward Teller Dies

:: The American Chemical Society is holding its annual meeting in NYC this week, and researchers still do not know if there are any long-term effects to be expected.

    When the World Trade Center collapsed, more than a million tonnes of pulverized cement, glass and insulation dust were thrown into the air. Fires continued to belch fumes until mid-December - and many rescue workers developed the 'World Trade Center cough'.

:: Edward Teller, considered the Father of the H-Bomb, has died at the age of 95. (Both stories from Nature Science Update.)

September 10, 2003

Site Will Be Down Briefly

:: This is to let you know that in a day or two, The (sci-tech) Library Question will be offline. I'm switching service providers, and will need to move my domain over to the new host. This will take 24-48 hours. I'm hoping to change the URL for this site as well (eventually, anyway!)

Please stay tuned, we'll be right back after these messages. "No flipping." :-) - Randy

September 5, 2003

Science and Technology Libraries - Opportunity for Publication

:: Are you working on a project or research that would be of interest to your fellow scitech librarians?The following message appeared on STS-L, and is worth sharing here:

    "Science & Technology Libraries published by the Haworth Press seeks
    articles for upcoming issues. The journal is peer-reviewed and
    publishes research on projects based in sci-tech libraries including
    studies of changing use patterns of sci-tech information; evaluation
    of services and collections; case studies of library initiatives; and
    descriptions of innovative services, special collections, and special
    resources. For more details about the journal visit

    If you are completing a project that could be of interest to sci-tech
    librarians and information specialists, please consider submitting an
    article for consideration. If you have questions about a potential
    submission, please feel welcome to contact me:

      Julie M. Hurd
      Editor, Science & Technology Libraries
      University of Illinois at Chicago Science Library M/C 234
      P.O. Box 8198
      Chicago, IL 60680"
Julie can be reached at her e-mail address: jhurd at uic.edu

September 3, 2003

Mixed-Bag Special

:: Walt Crawford, in the latest issue of Cites & Incites, v3, n11, Sept 2003, offers commentary and observation on open access, blogging, and provides a summary of his survey of DVD durability. Definitely worth a look.

:: Classes began today on our campus, as in the rest of the world. Here in the SciTech Library, we maintain a number of online resource guides (for example: botany, nutrition and food sciences, polar studies, and materials science and engineering.) In addition to showcasing different scitech library websites, I'd like to post links to subject resource guides from different libraries. We can always learn from our colleagues!

If you would like your resource guide(s) highlighted, please let us know (e-mail info is in the right hand column!).

:: EEVL is now providing improved access to industry news and job announcement news.

:: Today's home page comes from Radcliffe Library, The Science Department of the Bodleian Library at Oxford.