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How Do You Keep "Up To Date"?

Recently, Michael Leach, librarian at Kummel Library and Physics Research Library, Harvard, posed the following question on PAMnet, the listserv of the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics division of SLA:

With so much information appearing daily, weekly and monthly, I am curious as to how each of you "keeps up to date" and "filters" the information you need to run your libraries effectively. I am interested to learn what web sites, journals (print and/or electronic; scholarly and/or "newsy"), blogs, discussion lists, etc., you find most useful, and to which of these you regularly turn to for information. (Naturally, I am assuming that the PAM list is one such resource!) Specifically, I want to learn what resources you turn to for:
    1) keeping up to date for librarian/practitioner info, especially trends in the profession, new services, and emerging technology;
    2) keeping up with the current scientific research that your library supports.
Michael received a number of replies, and with his permission, we are posting his e-mail with the results, which are quite interesting, and while specific to PAMNET members, most likely apply in principle to most of us suffering from massive information overload in these times:

Below is a summary of the replies I received to my posting on "Keeping up to date" with our fields. I thank the many of you who provided lists and comments, which I condensed below.

A few notes:

1) It appears that use of blogs are on the increase, especially those blogs with aggregate information from a number of resources.
2) Many complained about the signal-to-noise ratio on many lists, and about email spam in general.
3) Finally, many noted the need to read more, but time constraints and the ever increasing volume of materials make this difficult. It is clear we will need better tools and resources in the future to deal with these issues.

Perhaps PAM should examine and then consider the possibility of creating an information aggregator for the Division membership. RSS feeds and blogs are certainly two IT mediums to consider for such a project, after a user needs study is conducted. Although, perhaps, blogs like STLQ already fulfill this niche for members.

The summary is broken down into two sections: I) LIS Resources, and II) PAM-SciTech Resources. Within each section, resources are grouped by medium type. Items with an asterisk (*) indicate a resource recommended by numerous folks. If you did not respond originally, but would like to send your suggestions along to me now, please do so. Thanks.

Michael Leach
Physics Research Library, Harvard University

I) LIS Resources


II) PAM-SciTech Resources


    Annals of Improbable Research (http://www.improbable.com/)
    Chemical & Engineering News
    Communications of the ACM
    The Engineer
    IEEE newsletter
    Inspec newsletter
    Nature *
    New Scientist
    Newspapers (a number of different ones, including New York Times)
    Physical Review Focus (http://focus.aps.org/)
    Physics Today *
    Physics Web
    Physics World
    ProQuest newsletter
    Science *
    Scientific American *
    Technology Review (http://www.techreview.com/) (also has a blog service)


Here are a few additional resources that I heard about during a lecture by Stephen Bell on this topic earlier this week:





Stephanie: Thanks for the additional information - Randy

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