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March 31, 2005

Presentations from CiL 2005 Now Available

:: Links to the presentations from Computers In Libraries 2005 are available on the Information Today web site. (Via: Science Library Pad.)

March 30, 2005

Poster Presenters for SLA Annual Conference in Toronto

:: From a post on CHMINF-L:

Presenters have now been selected for the Poster Session, "Better Understanding Your Users," being cosponsored by the Chemistry, PAM, and Sci-Tech Divisions at the upcoming SLA meeting in Toronto . A list of the presenters along with titles and abstracts of the presentations can be found on the Chemistry Division web site at http://www.sla.org/division/dche/2005/poster.htm.

It should be an exciting session, and we hope you will be able to attend in person. For those of you who cannot make it to Toronto, however, a web version of the conference will be presented on the Chemistry Division's web conference site sometime following the Toronto conference. Details of the web version will be forthcoming, but this format will provide you with a chance to read/view the presentations and participate in discussions with the presenters in an asynchronous fashion, so please stay tuned for details regarding this.

Bill Armstrong, Moderator
Chemistry, Sci-Tech, & PAM Poster Session

March 29, 2005

Cites & Incites Insights

:: I am obviously having trouble keeping up with Walt Crawford. I missed noting the v5 n2: Midwinter 2005 issue of Cites & Incites Insights, which appeared between January and February. When you are finished with that issue, check out the v5 n5: Spring 2005 issue as well. BTW, Walt, please consider changing the name, because quite obviously, I have a mental block with the title as it is now. ;-)

Handbook of Chemistry & Physics Updating Policy

:: Excerpted from a post on CHMINF-L, David R Lide, Editor-in-Chief, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, explains the policy of updating HCP:

Each annual edition provides an opportunity to add new material, update/expand existing tables, and correct errors. Certainly, all errors that we have found or that have been brought to our attention by users are corrected in each new edition. We typically introduce five or six new topics each year, and five to ten existing tables are updated or expanded. The net result is the at least 5% of the book is substantially changed each year. In some years, when a very long table is updated, the changes can amount to 10-20%.

In regard to updating, we pay particular attention to data and recommendations from official bodies such as IUPAC, CODATA, and Government bodies. Thus we update things like atomic weights, fundamental physical constants, the IUPAC pH scale, the NTP carcinogen list, and permissible limits of contaminants in the workplace as soon as they are available (and occasionally even before they are formally published). In very active research areas where modern instruments are generating more accurate data than were previously available, we try to do a major revision of the pertinent Handbook tables every two or three years.

I should mention that the 86th Edition, which will appear in July 2005, will include a major facelift, in addition to the updates just described. The typeface and general layout have been improved, and many tables have been reorganized to make them more easily readable.

I hope this information is helpful. Please send me any suggestions for additions or other improvements to the Handbook.

David R. Lide
Editor-in-Chief, CRC handbook of Chemistry and Physics
13901 Riding Loop Dr.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Phone/Fax: 301-738-7147
email: drlide AT post DOT harvard DOT edu:

AIP Introduces Library Branding

:: From a message sent by Christine Orr of AIP, which appeared on various listservs:

The American Institute of Physics is pleased to announce that beginning this week, all AIP journal abstract pages will carry a message informing users that their access is provided via their library’s subscription. Once a user is IP-authenticated, each abstract view will display a small banner stating, “Your access to J. Appl. Physics [e.g.] is provided by the subscription of [institution].”

We hope that this message helps to better inform your patrons about the services you provide, and to dispel the notion that online information is without cost.

The displayed name of the subscribing institution is taken from each institution’s subscriber records. If you feel your institution’s name is not displayed properly, simply follow the Library Welcome Message help icon on any abstracts page. This will enable you to email us, and we can change how your institution's name is displayed in these branding messages.

If you have any questions regarding this service, please contact me
directly.

Kind regards,

Christine Orr
Marketing Manager
American Institute of Physics
Melville NY, USA
Tel: +1 516-576-2484
http://librarians.aip.org
corr AT aip DOT org

March 24, 2005

Canadian Government Outlines Proposed Amendments to the Copyright Act

:: Copyright reform took a step forward today in Canada:

On March 24, the ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry released a Statement outlining the Government's proposals for amendments to the Copyright Act that would address the short-term group of reform issues. The Government intends to introduce a bill later this spring. The Government also tabled on the same day its Response to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage's May 2004 Interim Report on Copyright Reform. The Response includes the Government Statement.

A backgrounder setting out highlights of the Government's proposals is provided, as well as a series of frequently asked questions to assist in understanding the Statement. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to make their views known to the appropriate parliamentary committee after the bill is introduced.

These documents are also available at:

* Joint site
* Industry Canada

Some of the Statement highlights include:

  • Regarding Internet Service Provider Liability: "ISPs would be exempt from copyright liability in relation to their activities as intermediaries, namely, their activities as mere conduits for information, their caching activities, their hosting activities, and their information location activities."
  • "The Government supports the use of leading-edge technologies in education and research. The bill will propose certain measures that will facilitate the use of the Internet for these purposes."
  • Regarding Use of Copyright Works for Remote Learning:
    • "Current educational exceptions permit the performance or display, within the classroom, of certain copyright material as part of a lecture. The requirement that the performance or display be confined to the classroom would be removed to enable remote students to view the lecture using network technology, either live or at a more convenient time. Educational institutions would be required to adopt reasonable safeguards to prevent misuse of the copyright material."
    • "Material that may be photocopied and provided to students pursuant to an educational institution's blanket licence with a collective society would also be permitted to be delivered to the students electronically without additional copyright liability, unless the licence in question provides for such delivery. Educational institutions would be required to adopt effective safeguards to prevent misuse of the copyright material."
  • Regarding Interlibrary Loans: "The electronic desktop delivery of certain copyright material directly to the patron would be permitted, provided that effective safeguards were in place to prevent the misuse of the material or of the inter-library loan service".

Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School - Comment By Carl Selinger (Author)

:: Recently I posted a short review of Carl Selinger's new book, "Stuff You Don't Learn In Engineering School: Skills For Success In The Real World." Carl read the review, and submitted a timely comment regarding the importance of information and research skills:

As the author of "Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School," thanks for the great review! Also thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt ... I think that information and research skills -- while of course critically important -- are not really "soft" skills like the others covered. But we are on the same page: I'm now covering other skill areas not in the book in continuing articles in IEEE Spectrum, and the 1/05 web-only article on "Drowning in Data" deals with information overload & keeping up ... and emphasizes the importance of staying current in your field, and gives a few tips on researching issues.
I thank Carl for the response, and very much appreciate that he will be covering skills such as research and information gathering in his forthcoming IEEE Spectrum columns. Well done!

Engineering Students and Weblogs

:: I've written previously about working with engineering design students (in mechanical, chemical, materials engineering classes) by helping them create weblogs to use for project management. The students are working in groups of four, and I've helped a number of groups set up weblogs for this purpose. My campus doesn't yet support weblogs as a teaching tool, so each one must be set up individually.

The process I developed was somewhat tedious, involving setting up a blog on Blogger, moving it to the U of A server on one of the students' accounts, and then showing them how to uploaded documents, create posts, etc. Rewarding work, despite the time consumption.


Yesterday I heard from one of the students who noted that their group could no longer get to their blog, as the URL seemed to have changed from http to https. A bit of investigation revealed that the campus servers had been upgraded, and if anyone's site was password protected, the URL would change as such. The solution seemed to be straightforward: go in to the Settings in the Blogger account for each blog to which I had added the .htaccess file, and change the URL to https. Problem is, the Blogger Settings will not accept the change. Type in https, click Save, and it returns to http.

This left two options: delete the .htaccess file, thus removing password protection, or leave as is, and each time a group member goes to the blog or tries to open a document or ppt presentation within, live with the error page that returns on the click, and then go to the https version of the URL.

This is a small example of the problems we can encounter when working with students to set up blogs for project management, and one's institution doesn't support the software. Hopefully this will change sometime soon.

I can report that despite any minor roadblocks such as this, the groups using blogs are doing a great job, and finding the blog to be a worthwhile tool for engineering design project management.

March 22, 2005

Scirus Indexes Patent Data for 13,000,000 Patents

:: From the Elsevier site, Scirus now includes patent data:

Amsterdam, 22 March 2005 – Elsevier today announced that its free science-specific search engine, Scirus, has now indexed 13 million patents. Patents indexed in Scirus include those from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). By making patents available through its index, Scirus has expanded its service to include new and valuable information sources...

Bill Clinton To Speak At SLA in Toronto

:: Word is out that President Bill Clinton has been added to the list of general session speakers at SLA in Toronto. From a post on SLA-ENG today:

This morning it was announced to the Board, that former President Bill Clinton recently agreed to be a general session speaker for the SLA Toronto meeting. He will speak on Wednesday morning , from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. This is really exciting news! We wanted the conference planners to be among the first to hear. Promotional and PR Information is being developed and will be sent out as soon as we are able to the entire membership. We do not foresee this conflicting with any division programming, except as mentioned earlier, Wednesday morning sessions will now begin at 7:00 a.m.

Beilstein Launches Open Access Journal on Organic Chemistry

:: George Porter sent word about the following new open access journal for organic chemistry:

San Diego, CA.: The prestigious Beilstein-Institut today announced the launch of the first major Open Access journal for organic chemistry. Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry will be published by the Beilstein-Institut in co-operation with BioMed Central, the Open Access publisher. The peer-reviewed online journal will begin publication during 2005, and a call for papers, providing full information for authors, will be issued in May.

Director of the Beilstein-Institut Martin Hicks made the announcement at the American Chemical Society 229th Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Professor Jonathan Clayden, of the University of Manchester, has been confirmed as the Editor-in-Chief, and an international editorial advisory board is also being appointed.

The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry will publish outstanding original research on all aspects of organic chemistry and related disciplines. Areas covered in the journal will include: organic synthesis, organic reactions and mechanisms, natural products chemistry and chemical biology, organic materials and macro- and supramolecular organic chemistry.

As an Open Access journal, the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry will offer the international community of organic chemists the opportunity to make their research results freely available immediately on publication, and permanently available in the public archives of science.

The journal will publish full research articles and short communications, as well as occasional reviews and commentary articles. Supplementary data will also be published. There will be particular emphasis on speed of publication and on presentation of the articles in a chemically intelligent way. The journal will be made freely available online, while an annual print archival edition will be available for purchase at cost.

The Beilstein-Institut is committed to improving communication among chemists and will support the journal financially, including the publishing costs, to enable the journal to be open access without charge to authors.

Just as Beilstein has been synonymous with high quality scientific publishing for over two centuries, so BioMed Central has become synonymous with high-quality, online Open Access publishing in the biomedical disciplines, and is now making its publishing expertise available to new fields. BioMed Central now publishes over 130 Open Access journals, and will provide the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry with a complete publishing system, maintain and host the journal.

Together these two organizations will ensure that the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry offers authors, readers and libraries the highest quality service.


Further information is available on the The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry site:
Scientists publish research in learned journals so that it can be registered as their work, certified by their peers, disseminated to interested readers, and archived as part of the body of scientific literature. The recent emergence of open access journals, which are freely available to readers online, enhance the journal publishing process without compromising its important quality control function. Open access journals are not only fully refereed, but are also being covered by the Science Citation Index and have impact factors.

The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry will begin publication during 2005. A Call for Papers providing full information for authors, will be released in May 2005. It will be a peer-reviewed online journal, published by the Beilstein-Institut in co-operation with BioMed Central, and the first major open access journal in this field. As such it will offer the international community of organic chemists a service that has been available to life scientists for some time - the opportunity to make their research results freely available on an open access basis and in the public archives of science...

Cindi Posts The OpenURL Cybertour Presentation

:: Cindi Trainor has added all the slides and such from the OpenURL Cybertour she did at CiL 2005. She then posted links to the Instant Messaging Cybertour she did at CiL as well.

Updates to Previous Entries on Scopus and Patent Downloading

:: Comments were received regarding resources mentioned in previous entries, and I felt the information was important enough to be added to a new post.

  • Regarding the entry, Review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus, Christina Pikas advised that "My colleague, Susan Fingerman, wrote a very detailed review of Scopus for Online magazine (it's put out by Information Today). That magazine is indexed full text in a bunch of the general academic databases like Wilson and Ebsco." Here's the citation: Fingerman, Susan. "SCOPUS: Profusion and Confusion". Online v29 issue 2, 36-38.
  • Regarding the entry, Guide To Downloading Patents on the Internet, Dana Roth wrote to add Patent Fetcher to the list.
My thanks to Christina and Dana for the additional information.

March 21, 2005

Cindi's Computers in Libraries Reports

:: For further coverage of Computers in Libraries, please check my friend Cindi Trainor's observations from the second and third days, her final thoughts, and while you're at it, send her much sympathy after reading about her and her family's Nightmare Trip From Hell!

Creative Commons Expands, Advertises for Science Commons Executive Director

:: The Creative Commons, the group working to reform copyright, announced in November 2004 the creation of the Science Commons:

The mission of Science Commons is to encourage scientific innovation by making it easier for scientists, universities, and industries to use literature, data, and other scientific intellectual property and to share their knowledge with others. Science Commons works within current copyright and patent law to promote legal and technical mechanisms that remove barriers to sharing.
To develop and launch the project, Creative Commons is seeking an Executive Director for the Science Commons:
The growing abundance of biological and other scientific data, and the explosion of technologies permitting their worldwide availability and distributed processing, present a unique opportunity. Science Commons seeks to enable scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs to make the most of this historic opportunity and its promise for broadening collaboration and accelerating the pace and depth of discovery. Science Commons will work to counter the application of locks and legal restrictions on scientific data, discovery, and experience, while developing the incentives and means to ease their movement, examination, and productive use among researchers and industry.

We are seeking an Executive Director to develop and launch Science Commons. The Executive Director will report to the Creative Commons Board chairman and will work with active Board and advisory group members.

Jay Bhatt: Informing Library Users About Availability of Individual Online Books

:: Jay Bhatt at Drexel posted the following on a number of discussion groups this morning:

On a recent post in ELDNET-L, Kate Thomes posted an interesting question on ebooks. My question more deals with how do we inform our users about their online availability. More specifically single individual online reference works such as the Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Engineering.

Issue 1:

Users normally go to their university's electronic resources web page and then access electronic books such as engnetbase, knovel, etc. Each ebook within these colllections is most likely linked in the online catalog. Since collections such Knovel and ENGnetBASE are also linked from eresources page, users may access them directly without going to the online catalog.

My question is: Do users take advantage of the online catalog to find ebooks? How do we increase their usage so that it is easier to make renewal decision? It is impractical to include a growing collection individual ebooks in eresources pages such as http://www.library.drexel.edu/resources/engineer.html where we can try to have a separate page listing each individual encyclopedia, for example. It is time consuming and labor intensive on the other users have a tendency to go through alphabetical listing of long ejournal title lists and accessing the title they want.

Recently, I posted tips to our students and faculty on how to find individual online handbooks and encyclopedias.

For example,

Kirk-Othmer encyclopedia of chemical technology [electronic resource] / executive editor, Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz ; editor, Mary Howe-Grant
Encyclopedia of polymer science and technology [electronic resource] / editorial board, Herman F. Mark ... [et al.] ; editor-in-chief, Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz.

Issue 2:

Collection such as Referex from elsevier does not have a separate link to access; users will need to go to engineering village2 and then find a tab for ebook search. The tab does not include the name Referex. This sometimes is very confusing to students. How do they know that 'ebook search' refers to 'Referex'?

I still have not received a satisfactory answer from any vendors in terms of what books they are making available online. Please refer to Randy Reichardt's blog entrya nd then go to http://www.montague.com/review/knovel.htm
item #5 (Engineering information productivity tools)

For example, Wiley publishes number of print and electronic books. What percent of those print books are also available online? What percent of all elsevier books are available in Referex? We get books through our approval plan and I need to check each every book to make sure it is not available online. If available online, I do not want to add print copy in most cases. I have not found many duplicates so far.

I will really appreciate any feedback on this.

Regards,

Jay

Jay Bhatt
Information Services Librarian (Engineering)
Hagerty Library, Drexel University
TEL 215-895-1873
FAX 215-895-2070
EMAIL bhattjj AT drexel DOT edu

Engineering Assistance page:
http://www.library.drexel.edu/services/refengineer.html

Engineering Resources Blog
http://englibrary.blogspot.com

EEVL adds CSA Hot Topics, Issue 3 of IoP's Librarian Insider Available

:: Roddy MacLeod wrote to advise that EEVL, The Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing, has added the CSA Hot Topics series to their site:

Hot Topics, which give access to in-depth reports on topical engineering and technology issues, have been added to EEVL, the Internet guide to engineering, mathematics and computing. The Hot Topics are freely available, and are provided through CSA.
:: Issue 3 of IoP's Librarian Insider is available via their website, or in .pdf format.

March 18, 2005

IoP To Offer "Cited By" Links Using CrossRef

:: From a post on LIBLICENCE-L:

In September 2003, we announced that papers in our Electronic Journals had been enhanced by links to citing articles from The American Physical Society and NASA's Astrophysical Data System. I'm pleased to report that our 'Articles citing this article' tool has now been developed further. In keeping with our tradition of innovation, we have become the first publisher to implement 'cited-by' links using CrossRef's Forward Linking service.

We have made 'cited-by' links available for papers published in the last 10 years. Over the coming months, we will be working our way through our entire journal archive, back to 1874. To take a look at forward linking in action, go to the following paper from New Journal of Physics and select the 'Articles citing this article link' on the right hand side:

http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1367-2630/1/1/006

New Journal of Physics is our open-access electronic-only title (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft) so the 'cited-by' links are available to all. For our other journals, this facility is limited to subscribers.

Said Ed Pentz, CrossRef's Executive Director

'Forward Linking - where publishers retrieve and display links to other articles that cite their content - is a natural extension of the CrossRef linking network and will provide a better online reading environment for researchers and scholars. We currently have over 90 member publishers preparing to use this new service, and are very pleased to see IOP publishing be the first to go live with it.'

As other Publishers follow our lead, you will start to see more and more 'cited-by' links from our papers. Similarly, when reading papers on other publishers' websites, you will come across 'cited-by' links back to IOP journals. Comprehensive information trails, forwards and backwards in time, will become a reality.

We will keep you posted on our progress.

Regards,

Lucy Braithwaite
Senior Product Manager
Institute of Physics Publishing

PS Look out for other tools on our abstract pages to help you find related articles, including our 'Search highlighted text' facility, which enables you to highlight text on screen and then search.

Institute of Physics
Registered charity No. 293851
76 Portland Place, London, W1B 1NT, England

IOP Publishing Limited
Registered in England under Registration No 467514.
Registered Office: Dirac House, Temple Back, Bristol BS1 6BE England

A very interesting development. As a colleague said today in an e-mail, "It's looking as if, just when Scopus thought it was going to muscle in on Web of Sci's pie, those clever people at CrossRef are handing out free pie to everyone."

Guide to Downloading Patent Copies on the Internet

:: Again via Rafael's site, the Guide to Downloading Patent Copies on the Internet from The Invent Blog. The post was made on 27 September 2004, and was updated on 23 February 2005. Some good information here.

March 17, 2005

State of the Blogosphere March 2005

:: Via Rafael's site, a link to David Sifry's "State of The Blogosphere, March 2005, Part 1: Growth of Blogs". He reports that Technorati is tracking >7.8 million blogs and 937 million links. The Technorati site today lists 7,926,598 weblogs watched, and 950,105,944 links tracked. The blogosphere has increased in size 16 times in the past 20 months, and ~30,000 - 40,000 new blogs are being created daily. It's not all good, Sifry reports, as part of the growth can be attributed to spam blogs.

Review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus

:: I've been trying to make time to learn more about Scopus since we acquired it. It is a very powerful database, with substantial content. Will it supplant others we use here? There is a very detailed comparative review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus, in the v6 n3 January 2005 issue, by Louise F Deis, Princeton, and David Goodman, Long Island University. Their quick summary in one sentence: "Quick summary in one sentence: Keep Web of Science and buy Scopus if you can once the publisher gets the data loaded." Two additional entries related to this review include the authors' comments on a review of WoS and Scopus in the 15 Jan 2005 Library Journal, and a letter to the authors in response to their review from two librarians at the R.W. Van Houten Library, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Reviews of Full-Text Handbook-Type Collections

:: On ELDNET-L (I can't link to the post), Kate Thomes asks:

Hi everyone. I know this topic has been discussed on ELDnet before, but my library system was not dealing much with the issues at the time and I do not find a record of the discussion in my files.

I would like to know if folks have assessed the relative merits of various ebook services including Referex, EngNetBase, Kluwer Online Reference Works, knovel, etc.

Does anyone have an ELDnet discussion summary of this topic, or have specific experiences and opinions they'd like to share with me?

If you have comments, Kate can be reached at Bevier Engineering Library, U Pittsburgh, at 412-624-9620 or kthomes+ AT pitt DOT edu.

I thought it would be interesting to see what reviews of some of these products are "out there", so did a quick web search, and found a few:

I searched archives of Free Pint, Charleston Advisor, E-STREAMS, Péter's Digital Reference Shelf, but couldn't find much else, which means I've probably missed a few.

IEEE Xplore 2.0 Coming March 26

:: All subscribers to any products available on IEEE Xplore are aware of the impending upgrade next week. If you're not aware, and are considering subscribing, check out the information on the new upgrade available on the IEEE Xplore Release 2.0 - March 2005 page.

March 16, 2005

20th Computers In Libraries in DC

:: The 20th Annual Computers In Libraries, a conference I've never attended, is on in Washington DC. A number of librarians attending are blogging the conference, so I'll point to my good friend Cindi Trainor's excellent detailed report(s) at Chronicles of Bean.

Latest Ei Update Available, Featuring Yrs Truly

:: The March/April 2005, v3 n1 issue of Ei Update is available for viewing, featuring updates on faceted searching and the forthcoming study: Role of Information in Innovation 2005. The Librarian's Corner for this issue was written my your humble engineering librarian-type weblogger, and is called RSS: Moving Into the Mainstream.

March 15, 2005

Economics of Scientific and Biomedical Journals: Where Do Scholars Stand in the Debate of Online Journal Pricing and Site License Ownership between Libraries and Publishers?

:: The latest issue of First Monday includes the article, Economics of Scientific and Biomedical Journals: Where Do Scholars Stand in the Debate of Online Journal Pricing and Site License Ownership between Libraries and Publishers?, by Haekyung Jeon-Slaughter, Andrew C Herkovic, and Michael A Keller:

The emergence of e–journals brought a great change in scholarly communication and in the behavior of scholars. However, the importance of scholars’ behavior in the pricing of scientific journal has been largely ignored in the recent debate between libraries and publishers over site license practices and pricing schemes. Stanford’s survey results indicate that sharply increasing costs are the main reason for individual subscription cancellation, driving users to rely on library or other institutional subscriptions. Libraries continue to be a vital information provider in the electronic era and their bargaining power in the market and the importance of roles in scholarly communication will be increased by branding and a strong relationship with users. Publishers’ strategy for thriving in the electronic era is not to lose personal subscribers. Cooperation among the three sectors — scholars, libraries, and publishers — promises optimal results for each sector more than ever.
Also of interest, an article on televison archiving by Jeff Ubois:
Worldwide, more than 30 million hours of unique television programming are broadcast every year, yet only a tiny fraction of it is preserved for future reference, and only a fraction of that preserved footage is publicly accessible. Most television broadcasts are simply lost forever, though television archivists have been working to preserve selected programs for fifty years. Recent reductions in the cost of storage of digital video could allow preservation of this portion of our culture for a small fraction of the worldwide library budget, and improvements in the distribution of online video could enable much greater collaboration between archival institutions.

March 14, 2005

E-STREAMS v8 n2 February 2005

:: The latest issue of E-STREAMS: Electronic reviews of Science & Technology References covering Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Science , is available in pdf and html formats.

Infotrieve to Launch Life Science Research Center

:: Paula Hane reports the following on InfoToday:

March 14, 2005 — Infotrieve, Inc. (http://www.infotrieve.com), a company that has specialized in document delivery for information professionals in the STM (scientific, technical, and medical) markets, has announced the upcoming launch of a new Web-based “search and discovery” research environment for scientific researchers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and other life science-related industries. The new Life Science Research Center (LSRC), which is scheduled to launch on March 25, will let bench scientists and lab workers search the full text of diverse types of content (both core literature—like journals, book chapters, and patents—plus scientific content, such as gene data) and then discover common themes and relationships among the results.

“Infotrieve’s LSRC will have an immediate positive impact by simplifying the search process for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other life science-related researchers,” said Wes Crews, Infotrieve president and CEO. “Scientists shared with us that they are overloaded with information and that information is in too many places, making the discovery process inefficient and time-consuming. The LSRC streamlines the search process, facilitating faster and more relevant results.

March 11, 2005

International Journal of Rotating Machinery Goes Open Access

:: George Porter forwarded this post from Peter Suber on Open Access News, which will be of interest to engineering librarians, especially mechanical:

Hindawi Publishing has announced that The International Journal of Rotating Machinery has converted to open access, effective immediately. From the announcement: 'IJRM is edited by Prof Wen-Jei Yang of the University of Michigan, USA. The journal employs an open access model based on article processing charges to be paid by the authors' institution or research grant. The journal shall have an online edition which is free with no subscription or registration barriers and a print edition which shall be priced at a level reasonable for covering the printing cost. All articles published in the journal shall be distributed under the "Creative Commons Attribution License," which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Hindawi is currently working on retro-digitizing the back volumes of the journal and will make these volumes available online in the near future.' (PS: Kudos to Hindawi for this important step.)
This is good news, but with one concern. The subscription through MetaPress goes back to v8 n1 Jan/Feb 2002, whereas Hindawi is offering it from v9 n1 Jan 2003 only. A minor quibble perhaps, but there will always be at least one researcher who needs that one volume to which access is no longer offered.

March 10, 2005

Update - Free Resources Containing Searchable Abstracts in Science, Technology and Engineering

:: In an earlier post, Sarah Kirby compiled a list of free resources with searchable abstracts in scitech areas. In February, she updated the list with additional sites, which have been added to the master list of resources.

March 9, 2005

What Use Is A Printed Archive?

:: On CHMINF-L, Nigel Lees asks, "What Use is a Printed Archive?" It's a question facing all of us who are moving from print to electronic editions:

In common with other libraries I am under increasing pressure to dispose of much print within the RSC’s Library & Information Centre and would like to raise the responsible disposal or retention of print as an issue for discussion. In the UK there is no national clearing house for printed disposals hence the `Round Robin’ email begging other libraries to take the print they are disposing of. Obviously the national library in a country is an important contact but they are not always able to take material either. The British Library in the UK used to have a service called BookNet which did serve as a sort of clearing house where you could advertise your journals there for disposal. The email to various listservs asking for help is its successor. However BookNet was not the same as formulating a national policy on disposals though it did help. For example, how many copies of printed Tetrahedron does a country need to keep? Is the one or two printed copies kept by the national library enough or do we need say 5 or more copies to ensure a safe and viable archive is kept for next 100 years or so? In the UK the development of SUNCAT a national periodicals catalogue will help in the checking of the existence of a journal but not necessarily whether the institution in question will keep it indefinitely.

In my view it is the decentralization of the `national archive’ that really ensures that knowledge is kept for posterity (the LOCKSS principle). Having said that I believe that there is an over supply of print and that other libraries could dispose of theirs providing they can get access electronically (to everything they had in print) or easy access to other libraries that continue to hold that material in print. The question remains who decides who holds what and if libraries like the RSC’s are under pressure to dispose of much print where are the major subject collections, in this case chemistry, to be held? I have a series of questions that may help me formulate a policy on disposals but also may stimulate a discussion on what to do (responsibly) with our printed archives. I would be very grateful if you could spare some time to look at them.

  1. Should a country formulate a national print disposal policy setting up a clearing house so that valuable material is not accidentally thrown away? Hence we could avoid “…but I thought you were keeping it…!”
  2. Is the present system of emails to listservs, informal contacts etc working well enough so that an extra level of bureaucracy is not necessary?
  3. Do we assume that popular chemistry journals such as from RSC, ACS, Elsevier, Wiley etc are ok to dispose because someone else will keep them?
  4. Are we all happy with electronic archiving so that it is now safe to dump print equivalents?
  5. Are collections any use these days or have they had their day? What is the point of a collection?
  6. How many of you, for example, have complete collections of Chemisches Zentralblatt (formerly Chemisches Centralblatt, Chemisches und Pharmaceutisches Centralblatt, Pharmaceutisches Centralblatt)? Should we dump ours (hardly used) or would anyone want it? In 50 years time would anyone care? It is taking up lots of space.
  7. Similarly with Russian language chemistry journals – we have very good collections of these. Should we dispose of them to save a few thousand pounds per year? How can I justify saving these if no-one else wants them? Many are translated anyway, though not always from vol 1- 8/ I would be interested to know how many of you have really dumped (not stored away) your copies of RSC or Elsevier journals as you have bought outright the electronic archive?
To reassure you we are working with the British Library on this, but may still have difficult decisions to make.

No doubt you could add to these questions. In essence there are three fundamental points: how do we as librarians responsibly dispose of print; does it really matter if collections die as long as we know someone out there has an accessible copy in print or electronic; can we agree on what should be kept in print, by whom and where.

I would value your input.

Regards
Nigel
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Nigel Lees, Manager Library & Archival Services Library & Information Centre (LIC) Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House Piccadilly, London W1J 0BA, UK

Phone: +44 (0)20 7437 8656; Fax: +44 (0)20 7287 9798
Email: Library AT rsc DOT org
Web: www.rsc.org/library and www.chemsoc.org

Read the responses to Nigel's request for feedback from Ben Wagner at University of Buffalo.

March 8, 2005

Theory of Computing -- New OA journal

:: As posted by George Porter to PAMNET-L (and other listservs): Theory of Computing (ToC) is based at the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science, with mirrors at IIT Kanpur, SzTAKI, Budapest, and KTH, Stockholm. ToC cites the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics (EJC) as the source of its publishing model. Considering that EJC recently has been added to ISI's Web of Science, this seems like a reasonable choice of role models. In addition, ToC has a separately published section, Quantum Computing.

Theory of Computing is the second of two Open Access journals specializing in theoretical computer science which were inspired by the editorial board revolt at the Journal of Algorithms. [For background on the Journal of Algorithms kerfuffle, consider reading Commentary: The Crisis In Scholarly Communication and Journal of Algorithms Fallout Getting Noticed, Stanford U Takes Stand Against "Pricey Journals] Both are overlay journals, utilizing the Computing Research Repository (CoRR), the computer science portion of arXiv.

The other title, which debuted last month, is Logical Methods in Computer Science (LMCS). LMCS is a free,Open Access ejournal published through the International Federation for Computational Logic (IFCoLog).

Theory of Computing
Fulltext v1+ (2005+)
http://theoryofcomputing.org/
ISSN: ??

Quantum Computing
Fulltext v1+ (2005+)
http://theoryofcomputing.org/articles/quantum/
ISSN: ??

Logical Methods in Computer Science
Fulltext v1+ (2005+)
http://www.lmcs-online.org/
ISSN: ??

George S. Porter
Sherman Fairchild Library of Engineering & Applied Science
California Institute of Technology
Mail Code 1-43, Pasadena, CA 91125-4300
Telephone (626) 395-3409 Fax (626) 431-2681
http://library.caltech.edu
contributor http://stlq.info |
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html

March 7, 2005

More on Gormangate

:: As my friend Tony Dalmyn noted, I didn't include a link to Michael Gorman's original column in the LA Times, Google and God's Mind, in the previous post about his Library Journal column about blogs, so there it is. I mention this because I want to draw your attention to a new blog, Qućdam cuiusdam by esteemed colleague Peter Binkley, Digital Initiatives Project Librarian at the University of Alberta, in which he offers an insightful, informed and educated response to Gorman's take on the Google project. Peter works on Peel's Prairie Provinces, a major digitization project to enhance and improve access to the history of the Canadian prairie provinces:

Peel's Prairie Provinces is a resource dedicated to assisting scholars, students, and researchers of all types in their exploration of the history and culture of the Canadian Prairies. The site contains both an online bibliography of books, pamphlets, and other materials related to the development of the Prairies and a fully searchable collection of the full texts of many of these items. As of September 2004, the Peel bibliographic database holds some 7,200 titles, approximately 2,500 of which have already been rendered in digital form and mounted on the Web site. These materials are extremely varied in terms of their content and provide an extraordinarily diverse picture of the Prairie experience. These items date back to the earliest days of exploration in the region and include a vast range of material dealing with every aspect of the settlement and development of the Canadian West. These sources are also highly diverse in regard to the cultural experiences that they reflect. Although English-language titles predominate, the databases contain a very substantial body of materials in French, Ukrainian, and numerous other languages.

The project is based on resources documented in Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies. Gorman calls digitization projects "expensive exercises in futility", easily interpreted by Peter as "wasting my time." Scholars working in this area would beg to differ. Tony notes that Google "is a dumb brute which brings up lots of commercial and promotional sites and lots of oddball sites on any given search." Fair enough, but it's here to stay and is indexing scholarly material (such as IEEE Xplore, for example), and thus providing access to thousands of peer-reviewed publications (among others), including the full-text, if the user is on an IP-authenticated computer. Students are using it before any proprietary, scholarly database more often than not. Librarians face the task on a daily basis of informing students of the scholary datatabases available to them in addition to, but not necessarily in lieu of, Google.

That said, with the advent of Google Scholar, as mentioned, anyone can run a search and receive dozens, hundreds of citations to publications found in scholary journals, conferences, etc. Someone working in electrical engineering can run their search on the IEEE db, run the same seach on Google Scholar, and receive more results, because other scholarly publications are indexed there besides the IEEE db.

Perhaps Mr Gorman needs to rethink his dismissal of Google's archiving project, drop the nasty tone ("Boogie woogie Google boys"? - give me a break), and revisit the issue. I wonder, is he upset because Google is undertaking something libraries might have be doing themselves, rather than in partnership with Google?

Discussion will continue. Mr Gorman's dismissal of weblogs, subsequent to his criticism of the Google digitization project, is ironic, given the interesting and thought-provoking discourse that has followed on so many of them. For that reason, he is to be genuinely thanked - many librarians and others outside the field are engaged in valuable debate as a result. Read Barbara Fister's "Google's Digitization Project - What Difference Will It Make?", in Library Issues, v25 n4, March 2005, for another perspective. Now I have to get back to work.

ACS Broadens Article Access

:: From Chemical & Engineering News, March 7, 2005, v83 n10, p10: "ACS Broadens Article Access - Conditions set for free availability one year after publication"

The American Chemical Society is broadening access to research articles published in its scholarly journals. The society is introducing two experimental policies that define how readers can view free digital versions of the articles beginning one year after publication.

The first policy represents a response to public access guidelines recently released by the National Institutes of Health (C&EN, Feb. 7, page 23). NIH encourages authors whose work it funds to submit their peer-reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central, the agency's free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature. ACS has decided to take on the task of submission to PubMed Central on behalf of its authors, according to Robert D. Bovenschulte, president of the society's Publications Division. ACS will authorize PubMed Central to make the authors' versions of unedited manuscripts available to the public 12 months after the edited, final articles are published by ACS.

The above reported by Sophie Rovner. Via: Open Access News.

:: The March v6.3 2005 issue of ACS's LiveWire is now available.

Open Access Bibliography

:: Charles W Bailey,Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development, University of Houston, sent the following e-mail regarding the Open Access Bibliography:

The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement's efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature.
Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography's references have such links).

This bibliography has been published as a printed book (ISBN 1-59407-670-7) by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

ARL and the author have made the above PDF version of the bibliography freely available. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

March 5, 2005

A Thoughtful Response to Michael Gorman

:: As previously noted, Michael Gorman is receiving considerable, and frankly, well-deserved criticism for his Library Journal column, Revenge of the Blog People. Feedback is coming from not only librarians, but those outside the field. This response to Gorman's column in the LA Times and his LJ column, by non-librarian CJ Nieman in LA, is one of the best I've read yet. It is thoughtful and articulate, and I encourage you to read the complete post, Nieman writes:

Digital books will never be a perfect substitute for real books, but they can complement each other. No one is suggesting replacing one with the other.

Michael Gorman needs to trust readers to know how to read a book the way they see fit, and not worry about how the book is presented.

He was heavily criticized online for his views, and he wrote a response titled "Revenge of the Blog People!" In the piece, Gorman dismissed his detractors, many of whom were bloggers who characterized him as a Luddite. He also makes several subtle insults at blogging culture and those he believes are obsessed with technology.

The reason Gorman's opinions have a slightly musty odor to them -- something that smells of technophobia -- is because he believes advocates of digital libraries, such as Google, want electronic media to "supplant and obliterate all previous forms," according to his Los Angeles Times article.

His comments are deeply rooted in his profession as a librarian.

I'm not knocking the trade -- I have a lot of respect for librarians as patrons of literature. They have an admirable and often thankless job.

But his suggestion that Google and others like them want to replace brick-and-mortar libraries is the sound of an alarmist.

I'm not an apologist for technology -- I may have a degree in Management Information Systems, but my difference with Gorman is in how information is used, not in what mode it is delivered.

Gorman should remember that the book itself is a technology -- and it remains the greatest technology in human history.

So I chose to make remarks here in a blog -- another technology -- because I think of a blog as another way to deliver information efficiently, nothing more, nothing less.

LIS News has gathered together some of the responses to Gorman's column.

March 3, 2005

Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library Announced in Alberta

:: Yesterday, in the Speech From the Throne, which opened the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature of the Province of Alberta, preliminary details of Bill 1, the Access to the Future Act, were read by His Honour The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, CM, AOE, Lieutenant Governor. Among the highlights was the announcement of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library. Lois Hole was the Province's previous Lieutenant Governor, who passed away on January 6, 2005. Mrs Hole was passionate about libraries and literacy. Among the tributes planned for her by the Government of Alberta, the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library will have a dramatic impact on services provided in post-secondary libraries in Alberta. It is one of a number of initiatives announced regarding Bill 1:

The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library is a leading-edge initiative centered on the work already underway at the University of Calgary. This province-wide initiative will, at full implementation, allow all post-secondary students and faculty, wherever they are located in the province, access to the resources and knowledge currently held in the individual libraries of Alberta's technical institutes, colleges or universities. The library will be governed by The Alberta Library, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and Athabasca University.

This initiative will be a digital gathering place for students, faculty and the community to access a wealth of knowledge. It will also provide a mechanism for sharing of print collections. Building on the opportunities created by the SuperNet and post-secondary collaborations already in place, the Digital Library will be part of a province-wide system that, with SuperNet, will give Alberta capabilities for e-learning, e-health and e-commerce across the province that are second to none.

The wide-ranging access to the vast array of information made available by this innovation will make Alberta one of the most information-rich provinces in North America. Through the technologically sophisticated learning facilities of Alberta's universities, the Digital Library will support satellite points to connect people with life-long learning.

Initial costs for the Digital Library are estimated at $30 million over three years. The project will include the acquisition of digital information products, implementation of infrastructure to deliver information to the entire post-secondary system, and the development of four regional Digitization Centres.

Needless to say, our imaginations were wandering just a little in my library today. Does this mean that all electronic resources currently available at all of Alberta's universities, colleges, and technical institutes will be made available at all the libraries in those institutions? Imagine the possibilities, not to mention the contract negotiations with the vendors! Regardless, it is a fitting tribute in honour of Lois Hole, whose library legacy program continues to enrich the lives of people in Alberta.

Engineering Resources: The New Weblog from Hagerty Library at Drexel University

:: Congrats to Jay Bhatt and Andy Wheeler of Hagerty Library at Drexel, on the creation of the new blog, "Engineering Resources":

An informative blog that lists new print and electronic resources available from the Hagerty Library at Drexel University. It will also include new and useful web resources on engineering information retrieval.

Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School

:: Carl Selinger, an independent consultant in various industries including aviation and transportation, has written a timely book for engineering students called Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School: Skills For Success in the Real World 1. He is also a contributing editor to IEEE Spectrum, writing the career strategy column for the magazine. Twelve of his career strategy columns were subtitled with the same title as his book, as part of a professional development series for younger engineers.

Stuff You Don't Learn In Engineering School covers a lot of ground for a 178-page book, and is designed to help the new graduate prepare for life in the corporate engineering world. Its purpose is to help new engineers learn the important "soft skills" they will need to succeed and grow in the workplace and beyond. Topics covered include writing, speaking and listening, making decisions, getting feedback, setting priorities, being effective in meetings, understanding yourself and others, working in teams, learning to negotiate, being creative, workplace ethics, developing leadership skills, adapting to the workplace, coping with stress, and having fun.

What's missing, of course, is research and information gathering skills. Are such skills not critical to the success of the new engineer, or simply not considered "soft skills"? Words like "library", "database, and "research" do not appear in the index. Mr Selinger holds two engineering degrees, and has extensive college teaching experience, and as such, must be aware of the major research tools of the engineering profession. I wonder why he chose to exclude this important component of the engineer's professional career from his book? Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School is peppered throughout with quotations from engineers Mr Selinger has met through his seminar series. The first quotation reads:

What you don't know will hurt you and hold you back. - Consulting engineering at Cooper Union Seminar
My question to that engineer is: would "what you don't know" include a lack of knowledge and awareness of major engineering information and research resources? Ron Rodrigues, in his article, "Industry Expectations of the New Engineer" (requires subscription to view), lists numerous reasons why developing strong research skills and expertise in using online databases would help the engineering working in industry 2. These include finding licensable technologies, checking to see if an experiment has been done already, identifying research frontiers, locating and creating patents and other intellectual property, developing new products or upgrading existing ones, improving processes, solving equipment-failure problems using root cause analysis, and many more.

Perhaps Mr Selinger does not consider research and information gathering skills to be "soft", and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt until informed otherwise. However, new engineers need to be aware of the information resources that serve their profession, and how to use them. In his 2001 article, Mr Rodrigues notes that "Engineering literature is growing exponentially and beginning to move more quickly towards a digital future." In 2005, this is a reality, as publishers are making their indexes and abstracts, for decades available only in print, now available online back to Year 1 of publication. These include Compendex, Inspec, SciFinder Scholar (Chemical Abstracts), NTIS, and many others.

If and when Mr Selinger decides to publish a second edition of his very timely and useful book, I hope he decide to include a chapter on research and information gathering skills. Meanwhile, do consider adding this title to your engineering collection. Since first becoming aware of it, I have mentioned the book in every information resources session I teach in mechanical, chemical and materials engineering.

1. Selinger, Carl. 2004. Stuff You Don't Learn in Engineering School. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press; Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Interscience.

2. Rodrigues, Ron. 2001. "Industry expectations of the new engineer." Science & Technology Libraries 19(3/4): 179-188.