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October 28, 2004

BioMed Central Provides MARC Records

:: George Porter sent an e-mail about the following:

BioMed Central provides MARC records to facilitate the cataloging of their large collection of Open Access journals. A delimited spreadsheet containing titles, URLs, ISSNs, journal abbreviation and date of initial publication is also available. Very few publishers have proven so supportive of the library community. BioOne, a SPARC Scientific Community, is deserving of special mention in this regard for being a pioneer in providing application-neutral spreadsheets to facilitate cataloging.

Platinum Metals Review Available Free Online

:: Following up the previous post on the PMG Database, Dr Keith White, Editorial/Information Scientist, Platinum Metals Review, sent the following note regarding the journal:

Platinum Metals Review is free.

As from the July 2004 issue, Johnson Matthey's science journal Platinum Metals Review became an E-journal with the editorial team offering a free quarterly E-journal on the dedicated website: http://www.platinummetalsreview.com/

Here you will find:

* Platinum Metals Review E-Journal: HTML and PDF versions from the October 2003 issue onwards.

* PGM Science Mine, in which you will find: Ask a Question, People and Organisation Directories, Links, Events Calendar and Recommended Reading.

Platinum Metals Review can also be accessed for free on IngentaConnect.

Thanks to Keith for this information.

October 27, 2004

PGM (Platinum Group Metals) Database Now Available

:: As posted by Keith White on CHMINF-L:

The PGM Database is now live. This database comprises the most comprehensive collection of physical, mechanical and chemical data for the platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium) and their alloys.

URL: http://www.platinummetalsreview.com/jmpgm/index.jsp

You can access information on more than 400 alloys, over 1000 diagrams and graphs with over 9000 referenced numerical data points, 60 phase diagrams of platinum group metals alloy systems and more than 600 separate pages of related data.

Software allows users to identify materials that meet specified physical, mechanical and chemical properties. Properties of materials are displayed in a user-friendly view, giving a comprehensive picture of a material and its capabilities.

The PGM Database
W: http://www.platinummetalsreview.com/jmpgm/index.jsp
E: pgmdatabase AT matthey DOT com

October 26, 2004

Blogs In Design Engineering Classes

:: We haven't posted for a few days. Geoff and I attended Netspeed 2004, where Geoff and James Rout of The Banff Centre presented an excellent session on RSS. Geoff also took "rough notes" from some of the sessions he attended, which are available for viewing on his web site.

Yesterday I presented a session on information resources in chemical engineering for students in the fourth-year chemical engineering design class. As with my October 12th presentation to the fourth-year mechanical engineering design class, I took a few moments to mention blogs as a project management tool.

Since the Oct 12 class, four groups approached me for help setting up a blog for each, and all are making good use of them. After my chem eng presentation, I helped one group set up their blog, and another is meeting with me today.

Unlike other schools such as U Minn or Harvard, we have no campus-wide support for blogs as instructional technology. We are fortunate to have a campus-wide support unit called Academic Technologies for Learning, who work with instructors to develop best practice teaching and learning environments. ATL is aware that some instructors are incorporating blogs into their teaching, and is in the preliminary stages of addressing the need for campus-wide support.

With no blog support at the University of Alberta, students can be directed to Blogger. What I am doing is taking it one step further. Blogger offers the option of hosting the blog on your own server space. I am suggesting to students that one of the group members hosts the blog on her or his server space, provided by the U of A to all students and staff. One benefit locally is that the blog can be password protected, permitting only team members, and anyone else so designated, to have access to and/or post to the blog.

I provide the information necessary to do this, to each group. Last year, when I set up blogs for the mech eng class, it wasn't too difficult. Changes in programs used to access and maintain Unix accounts have made the process more complicated, so much so that I realized I needed to create my own cheat sheet, still in draft form to this day.

That said, the rewards of helping set up blogs for group project management outweigh the time it takes to set each one up. The students are grateful for the support, and see the immediate benefits of using a blog to manage their work: less e-mails, text messaging, phone calls, scheduled meetings, which saves time to work on their designs. In addition, the blog lets them upload and store critical links and documents to one location.

Another challenge for me, and any librarian who chooses to provide such support, is time management. More on that later, if warranted.

October 20, 2004

1-2-3 RedLightGreen

:: Dana sent the following note about RedLightGreen:

RLG's RedLightGreen service has been out of pilot testing since August. It's available to the general public at no cost 24/7 and also produces Google search results for each title viewed out of the 120 million books from the RLG Union Database.
RedLightGreen is produced by RLG, once known as Research Libraries Group.

So what is RedLightGreen?

What happens when you take a massive database of bibliographic descriptions and redesign it for the Web, not just as a resource for librarians, but as a tool for students and the public at large? That’s the idea behind RLG’s RedLightGreenSM.

RLG’s largest bibliographic database has been reinvented as an online information service, accessible over the open Web. It helps undergraduates and other researchers zero in on the most authoritative, useful sources of information—with the kind of interface and usability expected by Web-savvy students.

One of the interesting features is the ability to format results in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian style. All that is required is that you register with an e-mail and pw.

I tried a search that returned more than one citation. The search results lack certain standard features, such as the option to mark records, and a link that takes you back to search results after you view one citation in full format. Instead, you have to use the back button. As well, you can choose to save to a citation format only by examining one record at a time.

However, the ability to create lists in one of these citation formats is a bonus. Another nice feature is the option to check your local library catalogue to determine if the item in question is held in your collection. When I clicked on the "Get It at NEOS Libraries Consortium" link to the U of Alberta Libraries' catalogue, I received an error page. When I clicked on the "Other Libraries" link, I navigated through the geographic links to Alberta, then Edmonton, where the link to our catalogue was listed, returning correct results. Perhaps the Get It function only works for RLG member libraries.

RLG has created an Information for Librarians page to promote RedLightGreen. At this time, five member institutions have partnered with RLG to promote the service: Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and the University of Minnesota. For example, U Minn Libraries has a three colour button advertising RedLightGreen on its catalogue page. A click-through takes you to a page describing the service from the U Minn perspective.

Is anyone out there using RedLightGreen?

STS/ASEE ELD/SLA Sci-Tech Hot Topics Survey 2004

:: As posted this morning to STS-L:

STS/ ASEE ELD/SLA Sci-Tech Hot Topics Survey 2004

Want to learn more about the latest topics in the sci/tech library world? Here's your chance to tell us what you want to learn.

ALA's ACRL Science and Technology Section, The American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Libraries Division, and The Special Libraries Association Science-Technology Division are collaborating on this survey. These organizations will use your input for conference and continuing education planning.

Follow this link to take the survey:


Questions about this survey should be sent to: Terri Freedman, Head,
Collier Science Library, Bryn Mawr College, tfreedma AT brynmawr DOT edu .

If you have technical difficulties taking this survey, please contact:
Marilyn Christianson, Auburn University Libraries, chrismc AT auburn DOT edu.

October 18, 2004

NRC (Canada) Research Press Drops 2005 Journal Prices by 2.5%

:: The NRC Research Press, publishers of 15 of Canada's most prestigious scholarly titles, has announced a reduction of 2.5% in its site licence prices for 2005. The price reduction affects these titles:

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal
  • Canadian Journal of Botany
  • Canadian Journal of Chemistry
  • Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering
  • Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Canadian Journal of Microbiology
  • Canadian Journal of Physics
  • Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Canadian Journal of Zoology
  • Environmental Reviews
  • Genome
  • Journal of Environmental Engineering and Science

October 14, 2004

Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science

:: On PAMNET, A Ben Wagner asks the following regarding the Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science series:

Here at the University at Buffalo, we are considering investing in electronic access to entire Springer's Lecture Notes in Computer Science that includes Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics. This large series has 200-300 titles per year published so it would be a major commitment. We buy many of these in print, but would probably go e-only from this point on.

I would be interested in hearing about anyone's experience who has subscribed to this resource online. Feel free to contact me off-list. I will send a summary of responses to the list while maintaining anonymity of individual institutions.

-- A. Ben Wagner
Sciences Librarian
University at Buffalo
The State University of New York
abwagner AT buffalo DOT edu

Here at the U of Alberta, we are hoping to begin a subscription to this series as soon as possible, as it is the Number One request from our local comp sci department.

:: Issue 5.8 of ACS's LiveWire is now available.

October 13, 2004

All of OCLC’s WorldCat Heading Toward the Open Web

:: Some months ago, I wrote about Yahoo! and Google's inclusion of OCLC WorldCat records. In 2003, Barbara Quint wrote of the OCLC test project, where approximately 2 million of the 53 million+ records on OCLC WorldCat were made available via Google. Quint follows up with a report that the pilot project has been a success, and as a result, OCLC will open its entire collection of 53.3 million items for "harvesting" by Google and Yahoo! :

Excited by the "resounding success" of the Open WorldCat pilot program, the management of OCLC, the world’s largest library vendor, has decided to open the entire collection of 53.3 million items connected to 928.6 million library holdings for "harvesting" by Google and Yahoo! Search. A letter from Jay Jordan, president and CEO of OCLC, went out to members on Oct. 8. Currently, the Open WorldCat subset database contains about 2 million records, all items held by 100 or more academic, public, or school libraries, some 12,000 libraries all told. The new upgraded Open WorldCat program will automatically include all OCLC libraries contributing ownership information (holdings) to WorldCat, unless the library asks to have its holdings excluded. In January 2005, Open WorldCat will officially graduate from a pilot program to a permanent "ongoing program"; however, the database will be open for "harvesting" to Google and Yahoo! Search as early as late November 2004.

October 6, 2004

Google Begins Book Search Service

:: From NewsScan Daily for Oct 6, 2004:

Google is launching a new service designed to help publishers sell books online. Called Google Print, it will allow users to see book excerpts alongside ordinary Google Web page search results, and will carry a link to buy the book from a variety of online book retailers, including Amazon. "It's an advantage for publishers because it offers them the possibility to promote books online. And for users, it gives them the advantage of accessing information about authors and books and even to read a little from the books," says a Google spokesman. (Reuters/USA Today 6 Oct 2004)
More information is available from the Google site.

Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing - How It Compares to Kirk-Othmer and Ullmann's

:: In mid-2005, Dekker will publish, in print and online, the Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing, a five volume set. Like many others, I have been curious to know the differences and overlap between this encyclopedia and the two related major works, Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology and Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, as well as its relationship to the 69-volume Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design, which began publishing in 1976.

On CHMINF-L, Regina Bendig of McMaster U asked the question:

My question is whether someone on this list knows of or has done a comparative review of this title and Kirk-Othmer and/or Ullmann. A quick comparison of a few entries in Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design and Kirk-Othmer gave me the impression that there is quite an overlap.
Oona Schmidt, Encyclopedias Editor/Supervisor for Dekker, responded accordingly:
As the publisher of the forthcoming ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHEMICAL PROCESSING (anticipated in mid-2005), I'd like to explain what market need we would like our reference to fulfill, apart from the very fine Kirk-Othmer and Ullmann references.

The primary focus of the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHEMICAL PROCESSING is to provide detailed descriptions of chemical processes including information on
description and design of key unit operations that are involved with chemical processes. This includes information about reactors and separation systems, their design, description of unit operations, system integration, process system peripherals such as pumps, valves, and controllers, analytical techniques and equipment, as well as pilot plant design and scale-up criteria. In short, this Encyclopedia includes information of vital interest to civil engineers, electrical engineers, and mechanical engineers, in addition to chemical engineers, polymer engineers, and chemists.

Our editor, Sunggyu Lee (the C. W. LaPierre Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia) seeks to support and cater to the dynamic areas of interest in both research and production phases of the chemical industry. A large portion of the entries is completely unique from the Kirk-Othmer in that they focus on design principles (such as entries on Tubular Reactor Design, Design of Extrusion Dies, Pressure Relief Valve Design, etc.); engineering fundamentals (with articles on Adsorption, Fluid Flow, and Multiphase Reactors); as well as emerging areas Nanotechnology, Microreactors and Microreactor Engineering, Plant Metabolic Engineering, etc.). The topics covered in this encyclopedia also provide in-depth knowledge about broad areas via separate entries on related subtopics. An example of this is the topic Distillation, where the Encyclopedia also has separate entries germane to this topic including Azeotropic Distillation, Distillation Column Design Packing, and Distillation Column Design Trays. Another example of this practice is allocation of separate entries related to the topic of Extrusion, namely Design of Extrusion Dyes, Extrusion Films, and Twin Screw Extrusion.

Dekker created the first volume of our reference in 1976, in order to address a specific need for this kind of information about how processes affect plant design and engineering. I am happy to answer any questions and can be reached at oschmid@dekker.com. Our editor, Dr. Lee, has also volunteered to answer any questions and he can be contacted at leesu@missouri.edu for additional information.

Oona Schmid
Encyclopedias Editor/Supervisor
Marcel Dekker, a division of Taylor and Francis Books, Inc
oschmid AT dekker DOT com

The detail Oona Schmid provides will help me and others decide whether or not to purchase this product. My question: why not include the above explanation, or a version thereof, on the web page for the encyclopedia? Unlike other Dekker products, there is no product description available on the site. It would also be valuable to include an explanation of the relationship between the 69-volume print edition, published over a 25+ year period, and the new, five volume set. In her e-mail, Regina Bendig noted that "I spoke with a representative at Dekker who told me that this 5 vol. edition is in fact not a 2nd edition, but rather new information to be published since the last volume 69 of the Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design appeared." If so, does the content of the new encyclopedia supercede the previous version? I hope Dekker provides a detailed explanation on the encyclopedia's web site, to help those of us considering its purchase for our collections.

October 5, 2004

Energy Information Administration - Example of a Great Web Site

:: I've been meaning for some time to sing the praises of the web site of the Energy Information Administration: Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government. When I work with chemical engineering design students, inevitably some of them will require oil and gas prices while working on their design projects. On my Resource Guide for Chemical Engineering, I created a section called Chemical and Petroleum Industry: Statististics, Prices and Production, where as many good sources for chemical and petroleum/energy prices of which I am aware are listed.

I discovered the Energy Information Administration serendipitously in September, while checking for updates on the Natural Gas Annual. As I began to investigate the site more thoroughly, I became more impressed with each clickthrough.

The site seems to have been designed by a person or persons well versed in creating user-friendly web sites with an nod towards rock solid usability. Visit the site, and you are greeted with two sets on menus: one asks, "How do you want to access energy information?", giving the options: by geography, fuel, sector or price. The other menu asks, "Or would you like to access specific subject areas?", and offers process, environment, forecast and analyses options. Immediately, you can consider how you want to navigate the site to find your data.

The types of energy for which data are provided include: petroleum, electricity, renewable energy (including solar thermal, alternative-fueled vehicles, wood, photovoltaic cells), natural gas, and coal.

Often our students are searching for historical data, including crude oil prices from years past. The page with links to US Petroleum Data is outstanding. Historical data is available in .xls format, which permits users to export the data to spreadsheets for further analysis. Check weekly crude oil spot prices back to January 1986 in Excel format. In addition, links are provided to papers providing analyses of market outlooks, prices, trends, and so on.

It gets better. Find a publication in which you are interested, and the site tells you when it was posted, and when the next update will be. For example, the Monthly Energy Review: as of this posting, the September 2004 issue is available. The page tells us it was posted on September 28, 2004, and the next issue will be posted in the last week of October, 2004. Basic and brilliant. Not sure of which aspect of your chosen energy source you are interested? Scan by topic - petroleum topics, for example. The site isn't restricted to US data. International data and information are provided.

Applying web site evaluation criteria, including usability, accuracy, currency, authority, scope, objectivity and purpose, and the conclusion is: this site rocks.


:: The v7 n9, September 2004 issue of E-STREAMS is available, in HTML and PDF formats.

October 1, 2004

IN-VSEE - Interactive Nano-Visualization in Science & Engineering Education

:: Interesting post from the latest issue of the The NSDL Scout Report for the Physical Sciences about a consortium called IN-VSEE:

"IN-VSEE is a consortium of university and industry scientists and engineers, community college and high school science faculty and museum educators with a common vision of creating an interactive World Wide Web (WWW) site to develop a new educational thrust based on remote operation of advanced microscopes and nano-fabrication tools coupled to powerful surface characterization methods." After reviewing a summary of the organization, users can view animations, lecture videos, and other images that demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of modern science. The website offers an abundance of educational modules covering many fundamental scientific principles. Teachers can find out about upcoming workshops. Anyone interested in the incorporation of new innovations into science education should visit this site.