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April 27, 2005

Alberta Library Conference

:: Geoff, Kenton, lighthouse thinker Stephen, Lawrence, and I are off to Jasper tomorrow to attend the Alberta Library Conference. No, we're not all travelling together! I'm driving Stephen to the conference tomorrow, and Mr Lessig is being driven by another colleague. So, there may be a break in STLQ posts in the next few days; or maybe not. We'll see.

Survey: Physical Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences and Technology Reference Tools

:: Diane Kovacs has posted the following message to a number of discussion lists, and is looking for input:

Dear Colleagues,
I've posted this survey to LIS-Scitech, STS-L, ELDNET-L, publib,
libref-l, LIS-LINK, DIG_REF, ERIL-L, Buslib-L, Govdoc-L, and
livereference. Please feel free to forward to your local or regional
discussion lists or individuals that might be interested:

Physical Sciences - http://www.kovacs.com/surveys/physscicoresurvey.html
Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology -

These are updates of the core reference surveys I've been doing every
other year or so. I will post the data I gather back to the lists I
post the surveys to for everyone to share. I am revising and will
post additional reference subject core tools surveys well.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful assistance.
Diane K. Kovacs, Web Teacher

Kudos for Catherine!

:: A round of applause for fellow Canadian scitech library blogger Catherine Lavallée-Welch, who has been honoured with the Sci-Tech Achievement Award of SLA's Sci-Tech Division for her work with her blog, Eng Lib! Well done, Catherine, and well-deserved - congratulations.

April 26, 2005

Open Access Journals Increase in Numbers

:: Interesting article in Wired News: Open-Access Journals Flourish. According to the article, at least 1,525 open access journals are available, which is between 5-10% of the journals on the planet.

John Wiley Launches New Digital Collection and Databases

:: From the InfoToday Weekly News Digest:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. announced the launch of the Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection. This is the latest addition to its growing collection of digitized journal libraries; it is the second one to be launched this year. The Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection is available via Wiley InterScience (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/backfiles), Wiley’s online publishing platform.

Spanning the years 1968 to 1998, the Analytical Sciences Backfile Collection contains digitized back-issue content across 13 journal titles. Subscribers now have access to more than 24,000 research articles and more than 180,000 digitized pages of new analytical sciences content. Articles are presented as fully searchable PDFs, with abstracts, bibliographic content, and literature citations available in HTML, which allows for both internal linking to cited content located on Wiley InterScience and external linking via CrossRef/DOI, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, and CAS.

John Wiley & Sons also announced the launch of two new natural products databases designed for organic and biochemistry research: AntiBase 2005 (for ISIS/Base and ChemFinder) and AmicBase 2005 (on CD-ROM in the following formats: Microsoft Access, CambridgeSoft ChemFinder, and MDL ISIS/Base). AntiBase 2005 is a database of 31,022 natural compounds from microorganisms and higher fungi. The data in AntiBase 2005 has been collected from the primary and secondary literature and then carefully checked and validated. AmicBase 2005 contains information about the antimicrobial and toxicological properties of pharmaceutical drugs and natural compounds produced through microorganisms and higher plants.
Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

April 25, 2005

Social Bookmarking Reviews

:: The v11 n4, April 2005 issue of D-Lib® Magazine features two interesting articles about social bookmarking. The first, Social Bookmarking Tools (I) - A General Review, provides a detailed review of current SB tools:

This paper reviews some current initiatives, as of early 2005, in providing public link management applications on the Web – utilities that are often referred to under the general moniker of 'social bookmarking tools'. There are a couple of things going on here: 1) server-side software aimed specifically at managing links with, crucially, a strong, social networking flavour, and 2) an unabashedly open and unstructured approach to tagging, or user classification, of those links.
The second paper, Social Bookmarking Tools (II) - A Case Study - Connotea, is a review of the bookmarking tool developed by the Nature Publishing Group for use by those working in the scientific community:
Connotea is a free online reference management and social bookmarking service for scientists created by Nature Publishing Group . While somewhat experimental in nature, Connotea already has a large and growing number of users, and is a real, fully functioning service. The label 'experimental' is not meant to imply that the service is any way ephemeral or esoteric, rather that the concept of social bookmarking itself and the application of that concept to reference management are both recent developments. Connotea is under active development, and we are still in the process of discovering how people will use it. In addition to Connotea being a free and public service, the core code is freely available under an open source license.
Connotea was previously mentioned in a post in January 2005. At the time, it had 38 users, and as of today, has 2,304 users.

Comment Problems

:: I've learned today that the comment function on my blogs isn't working. Comments can be submitted successfully, but never reach the site for approval. I'm working to repair the problem asap. My apologies to those who have posted messages and may have thought I was late to approve them, or was deleting them.

Knovel Announces K-Essentials

:: From a 25 April 2005 press release from the Knovel site:

Innovative Knovel Program Helps Businesses,
Academic Institutions, and Government Agencies
Make the Transition to a Virtual Library

K-Essentials offers free and unlimited access to interactive engineering and science references

NEW YORK, NY (April 25, 2005) - Knovel Corporation (www.knovel.com), a leading provider of revolutionary Web-based information services that increase productivity for millions of engineers, scientists, students, and librarians worldwide announced today the availability of an innovative new program to helps businesses, academic institutions, and government agencies make the transition to a virtual library. The new program, called K-Essentials, offers unlimited access to nine highly acclaimed science and technical references free of charge through Knovel’s Web-based platform which transforms information into actionable intelligence by integrating software tools with content.

“By making these important references freely available, we’re able to show how Knovel tools enable the manipulation and analysis of data, integrating it into the workflow of professionals in businesses, academic institutions, and government agencies,” said William Woishnis, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Knovel Corporation. “We’re confident that through the K-Essentials program, thousands of institutions will instantly see how transforming individual titles into a common database format provides a solid foundation for transitioning to a virtual library.”

Knovel technology (U.S. patent pending) transforms text content and numerical data of any type and complexity into a consistent research platform. Knovel’s flagship service—Knovel Interactive Library—takes advantage of this unique technology, combining leading technical references, databases and analytical software into one complete service.

The nine interactive engineering and science reference titles that are part of the K-Essentials program include:

  • Metallic Materials Properties Development and Standardization (MMPDS)
  • Military Handbook - MIL-HDBK-5H: Metallic Materials and Elements for Aerospace Vehicle Structures
  • Engineering Problem Solving - A Classical Perspective
  • International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology
  • Knovel Critical Tables Lite
  • Essential Practices for Managing Chemical Reactivity Hazards
  • Smithsonian Physical Tables (9th Revised Edition)
  • Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables
  • Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences
The K-Essentials program provides unlimited access for organizations and makes quality information convenient to find and use. K-Essentials users also benefit from Knovel’s dedicated technical support and customer service. To gain access to the K-Essentials program, free subscription requests must be made through a librarian, information specialist, or departmental manager. Qualified professionals may apply at: www.info.knovel.com/essentials.

April 22, 2005

Bonehead Move of the Year: Chemical Market Reporter Stops Including Chemical Prices In Its Issues

:: As reported in CHMINF-L by David Flaxbart:

Has anyone noticed the significant changes in Chemical Market Reporter? As of the March 28 issue, CMR has gone to a slick-magazine format. More importantly, the Chemical Prices section no longer appears. The CMR web site (http://www.chemicalmarketreporter.com/) provides access to this and other information only by registering with a subscription number, then logging in with a username and password. Obviously, this is not a viable solution for library users who have used CMR for years to obtain current chemical pricing information. I see no information on their web site about institutional web subscriptions, either.

CMR has just become much less useful for a library, and the publisher probably did not stop to consider this when redesigning the magazine. It's also unclear how Schnell, the longtime publisher, is related to ICIS, the new publisher.

This is the kind of news that makes me want to bang my head against a wall. What is up with this publisher? Once again, those of us in libraries supporting students and researchers who need critical nformation for their work and studies will be denied access because of a publisher's decision that most probably did not take the educational users of their product into account. Students on our campuses are studying engineering disciplines and when they graduate, many of them will become Paying Customers of publications like CMR.

CMR can be searched on Business Source Premier or ABI Inform. I searched it on BSP, and as expected, no "People and Prices" section is available past the v267 n12 21 March 2005 issue. The quality of the.pdf version of this section, when downloaded from BSP or ABI Inform has been marginable at best, but it was better than nothing, when the print edition might have been hard to track down for our users.

Having to use a subscription number plus ID and PW to access any journal is a useless exercise for libraries. This is an unwelcome development for libraries supporting chemistry and various engineering disciplines such as petroleum refining and chemical engineering. It will make it all the more difficult for students working on capstone projects in engineering design courses to secure prices for their research. Then again, students and faculty members don't generate subscription income as a rule, do they?

I'm also ticked because I recently completed an article for the Newsletter of the Chemistry Division of SLA on - wait for it - finding chemical and petroleum prices, and of course I mentioned the "People and Prices" section of CMR. (It was the editor, Mary Ann Mahoney, who e-mailed me with this news.)

I wonder if it's worth flooding the publisher with a number of angry e-mails? I will pass this information on to the chemical engineering professors on my campus, and ask them to consider taking some action about it; they will not be happy about it, to be sure. The editors of CMR may not have considered that this decision might alienate a few users, and yet this is what has happened; pity. Dumb, stoopid move.

CSA Launches "Sustainability" Open Access E-Journal

:: From an e-mail received today from Cambridge:

Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, a new peer-reviewed, open access journal, has launched publication. Accessible at http://ejournal.nbii.org/, the e-journal provides a platform for the dissemination of new practices and for dialogue emerging out of the field of sustainability.

Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy includes peer-reviewed full-text articles, guest editorials, and community essays. The guest editorial in the premier issue is by Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Research Professor, Harvard University. Each issue presents a symposium exploring the sustainability issues relating to the topic.

Complete issues of Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy will be published twice a year and are available at no charge at http://ejournal.nbii.org. In addition, articles for issues in progress will be posted after completing the peer-review and editorial process.

The journal is published as part of an ambitious government / private industry partnership between CSA and the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII).

For additional information about please access http://ejournal.nbii.org/about/about.html.

More information is available in the CSA Press Release.

UK Engineer Find Original Issue of Electronics Magazine With "Moore's Law" Article, Collects 10 Large From Intel

:: From the BBC News site:

A copy of the original Electronics magazine in which Moore's Law was first published has turned up under the floorboards of a Surrey engineer.

David Clark had kept copies of the magazine for years, despite pleas from his wife to throw them away.

Now the couple are celebrating after collecting the $10,000 reward which was offered on eBay by chip maker Intel.

Moore's Law, the principle that has driven the computer chip industry, celebrated 40 years this week.

"I am totally astonished. It is the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," Mr Clark told the BBC News website.

"I am really pleased about it because I studied physics and have always had interest in electronics. I could see the next 30 years were going to go like Moore's Law said, so I decided to go into electronics."


:: Geoff and I were testing the new version of Jybe this morning. Jybe is a program that allows you to connect with another computer so that you and the other user are looking at the same screen. Some of the features include:

  • PW Protected Sessions
  • Collaborative Scrolling
  • Collaborative Text Entry
  • Open/Restricted Browsing
  • Invite Others to Sessions
  • Integrated Presentation Conversion
There is much potential for collaborating with colleagues who are in different locations, or something as simple as explaining features on a web page to a distant user, such as in a chat reference situation. Plugins exist for IE and Firefox. It installs a toolbar in Firefox, which is a minor annoyance, since toolbars can't be moved in Firefox yet.

April 21, 2005

Engineering Design Classes - Jeanine Williamson

:: Jeanine Williamson, Engineering Librarian at Hodges Library, U Tennessee, recently surveyed other engineering librarians regarding resources they use when preparing for and instructing in engineering design classes. Here is her report:

Design Classes

Often different teams in a design class have different information needs. It may be best to talk with team leaders one on one.

One library assigns LIS graduate students to each design group to help them with their information needs.

Types of information used include patents, standard databases like IEL, INSPEC, e-books, and data handbooks; industry standards, trade catalogs, handbooks, demographics.

Sites to look at:

(Randy Reichardt, University of Alberta)
(Jim Van Fleet, Bucknell University)
(Linda Ackerson, UIUC)
(William Mischo, UIUC)

Patents, Industry Standards, Trade Catalogs, Handbooks, Demographics (population, consumption, market data),
(Sharon Shafer, UCLA)

USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office


European Patent Information (US/WO/JP Patents Search)

DEPATISnet information:


Industry standards

Trade Catalogs
e.g. McMasterCarr etc.
industrial ebay (http://business.stores.ebay.com/)


LexisNexis Statistical
World Development Indicators (CD-ROM)
Indicators Online

(Kevin Lindstrom, University of British Columbia)

My guess is that this is just the tip of the iceberg of resources developed and used by engineering librarians throughout the continent. Thanks to Jeanine for allowing me to post her results here.

April 20, 2005

Headless, Remote Controlled Flies

:: Be afraid. Be very afraid. Via: Clive Thompson.


:: The latest issue of E-STREAMS, Electronic reviews of Science & Technology References covering Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Science, v8 n3 March 2005, is available in HTML and PDF formats.

April 19, 2005

Village Voice on Academia and Blogging

:: Interesting article in the April 12th Village Voice, called PH.Dotcom: What if professors could lecture 24-7? Blog culture invades academia:

Imagine if the great thinkers of the past could have blogged, bouncing ideas off each other in real time, engaging in rapid-fire debates across borders. Would it have led to some kind of intellectual utopia, or total chaos? Would we be regaled with post after post from Adorno complaining about what he had for lunch that day?

Even if Blogger and Movable Type had existed back then, Adorno still might not have blogged about anything at all. Despite the ongoing media blitz about blogging, and the eye-popping stats—according to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 7 percent of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Internet said they have created a blog or Web-based diary, and blog readership jumped by 58 percent in 2004—the majority of professors and academic types still don't have blogs. Academic bloggers are increasing in number, but they're still a distinct minority.

Certainly blogs have moved into academia, but what interests me is the use, by students, of blogs for project management.

April 14, 2005

JSTOR Collection Announcement: Biological Sciences Collection

:: As announced by JSTOR on 13 April 2005:

JSTOR is very pleased to introduce the Biological Sciences Collection. The Biological Sciences Collection will include at least 100 titles when it is completed by the end of 2007. This collection will bring together the twenty-nine journals available in our existing Ecology & Botany Collection with more than seventy titles new to JSTOR. The journals in this collection offer greater depth in fields such as biodiversity, conservation, paleontology, and plant science, in addition to introducing new areas such as cell biology and zoology.

In developing the Biological Sciences Collection, JSTOR has partnered with two leading organizations in biological sciences publishing: the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and BioOne. Similar to the assistance they provided with the development of Ecology & Botany, the ESA assembled a committee of scholars to review and recommend journals to us, in addition to taking the lead in securing a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to digitize a portion of the collection. BioOne has joined this collaboration by facilitating the inclusion of many BioOne participating publications in the collection. In the future we hope to develop cross-site searching and article-level links between BioOne and JSTOR.

We invite you to view the complete details for this new collection on JSTOR’s web site. For collection descriptions, fee information, journal lists, and participation instructions, please see:


We are very happy to facilitate the growth and diversification of the JSTOR archive holdings with this new collection. The multidisciplinary JSTOR Arts & Sciences and Biological Sciences collections and the existing discipline-specific collections (e.g. Business, Ecology & Botany) have been designed to offer participation flexibility for libraries and institutions. With several options available, participants are able to choose both the collections and growth paths that are most appropriate for their needs.

This is great news, especially for campuses with large biological sciences departments like our own.

Digital Rights Management and Referex

:: We have been interested for some time in subscribing to Referex Engineering, the online full-text reference collection from Engineering Information:

Referex Engineering comprises three carefully crafted collections combining key sources of reference material. Content ranges from broad based engineering titles to highly specialized professional reference texts, provided an extensive and detailed base of reference material to support researchers, academics, R&D engineers, technicians and corporate engineers alike in their diverse work processes.
The three subject areas are Chemical, Petrochemical and Process, Mechanical and Materials, and Electronics and Electrical, all areas of great interest to us. To date, we have subscribed to Knovel, and a number of CRCnetBASE collections including ENG, CHEM, MATERIALS, NANO, ENVIRO, and FOOD.

We were hoping to add Referex to our collection, which would have made it stronger and of increased relevance to our engineering community, one of the most prestigious in North America at the moment. But the DRM (Digital Rights Management) component, which severely restricts access to Referex, has made the decision to subscribe to Referex untenable, and for now, we are reluctantly passing on subscribing to what appears to be a great product.

The DRM used by Referex is called WebPublisher3. It requires a plug-in to be installed on any computer accessing Referex. What the FAQ about DRM in Referex Engineering states is that authenticated users can copy, print, save and e-mail Referex content as pdf files, and these saved files can be opened on any computer which is authenticated to use Referex. But if working with an offline computer like a laptop, users must be on the computer they used to save the file(s) to view them. In other words, if a user saves a pdf file to a smart key or disc, and then tries to open it later on a laptop which isn't connected to a network, it won't open. However, we learned subsequently that a document saved can only be viewed on the machine used to access Referex and download the information, an even more severe restriction. Consider how impossible this would be to manage in a library with dozens of PAC stations on multiple floors. Each time someone used Referex, they would need to be aware, almost inherently, that to view the document they just saved, they would need to return to the same machine to view it. Word is, however, that Ei is working with the DRM software vendor to allow for more flexibility.

Another drawback is that Referex won't work on Mac computers, effectively eliminating (and alienating) a number of our users.

The plug-in is also of concern. My understanding is that IT staff would need to install the plug-in on every PAC station in every library, something that would take an enormous amount of time, energy, money and staff. I have been waiting for confirmation that this is what would need to be done, but am hoping I am wrong, and that the plug-in could be installed on a LAN.

With DRM added into Referex, my sense is that the product may have been designed with Ei's corporate clients in mind, rather than those of us in universities, colleges and engineering schools. DRM in Referex doesn't allow for use by students who will migrate from machine to machine.

I am a huge fan of Ei products, and have worked with Ei since 1993 in an advisory capacity. We are heavy users of Compendex, and have been spreading the word about its new RSS feeds option to our users. I'm hoping Ei can sort through this and make Referex more attractive and useful to those of us in libraries with a large user base. Knovel and CRC Press have been able to do it without any problems of which I am aware, and we are pleased with both products regarding access concerns. In the meantime, is anyone out there in academic libraries using Referex? If so, how have you worked around these issues?

Meantime, read the paper, Digital Rights Management: A failure in the developed world, a danger to the developing world (pdf or html), from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

April 12, 2005

Cindi Trainor on The Changing Balance

:: My good friend Cindi Trainor, techie-librarian at Claremont Colleges in CA and #1 U2 fan in America, has written a timely post on what she describes as "the changing balance". She ever so cogently describes what so many of us dealing with these days. She suggests that the problem "stems from taking on too much, from not letting go of (or transforming) the traditional when implementing the cutting edge, and I haven't the slightest idea what the remedy is." I agree. Cindi continues with the following:

At this year's Computers in Libraries conference, Clifford Lynch spoke of the era of "abundance" that we are in, particularly as it applies to information. The same concept was cogently written about in Educause Review by Paul Gandel, Richard Katz, and Susan Metros, in their article titled "The 'Weariness of the Flesh': Reflections of the Mind in an Era of Abundance" [PDF]. A colleague of mine suggested today that perhaps the "information overload" that we all feel couldn't be dissipated somewhat by changing our attitudes--we're not overloaded, we just have a *lot*. I'm not so sure. The problem that she speaks of, and of which I am also a victim, stems from taking on too much, from not letting go of (or transforming) the traditional when implementing the cutting edge, and I haven't the slightest idea what the remedy is. [See my earlier post, "Confessions of a Drowning Librarian." It's comforting to know that it's a crowded sea.]

What I sat down to write about this afternoon is not the idea of abundance but of a changing balance. Twenty, even ten years ago, librarians assumed that nearly anyone showing up at a service point was in need of information that they, the librarians, had, and that the patrons needed assistance and instruction in finding. It was our jobs to teach students and others the skills they needed to ferret out important information hidden within our moldering tomes and command-driven databases. For the first time, with the "Net Generation" (which I like much better than "Millennials," ugh), users are showing up at our service points already knowing how to use a vast array of technologies that still intimidates many librarians (and library IT staff). How is this increase in our users' knowledge affecting reference transactions? I'm only postulating here, since I don't "do" reference in the traditional, desk-bound sense, but I would guess that for some users and librarians, things are different than several years ago. I'll let my colleagues and friends who actually "do" reference articulate how. This is just a ... vibe I've been getting.

I still work the info desk during term, but off-site, in the Engineering bldg. My experience so far is that the ever-increasing tech savvy of students hasn't affected the nature of the reference transaction, but the numbers of said transactions are dropping as more students make use of all the online product we push to their desktop. But I also like the observation that "we just have a *lot*", because that's the simple truth. The only thing that hasn't changed, as our work and play choices continue to grow in numbers at a geometric pace is the number of hours in the day - it's still 24, dudes. I suffer from the same problem - I don't know what to permanently offload and let lie dormant indefinitely...

April 8, 2005

Taking RSS and Faceted Searching Into The Engineering Classroom

:: With the advent of faceted searching and RSS feeds in Engineering Village 2, the onus to spread the word falls upon, among others, liaison librarians working in engineering and its sub-disciplines. My subject and liaison responsibilities are chemical and materials engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology, and engineering management on my campus. (Aside: a new responsibility includes providing similar liaison services to the fledgling U of A Space Research group.)

Engineering Village 2 has moved ahead of other db producers in offering RSS feeds. With prompting from academic librarians (among others), Rafael Sidi & Co ensured that the EV2 RSS feeds would work within Bloglines, a welcome development indeed.

Yesterday, I gave my annual information resources lecture to graduate students and faculty in Mechanical Engineering. It was the first opportunity I had to present the RSS function within EV2 to a captive audience decidedly interested in these new features. In my lectures, I have 50 minutes to cover everything - library services, databases of relevance, resource guides, etc. I decided that in order to do this properly, and not alienate or confuse the audience, I would need to spend the majority of the lecture covering EV2's new offerings of faceted searching and RSS feeds.

A major concern for those of us who want our users to try the new EV2 features is that the majority of said users haven't used, or even heard of either of them, certainly not faceted searching. Can we reasonably expect to introduce RSS as well as the new faceted search feature within EV2, in what amounts to about 30 minutes of a 50-minute lecture, and do it successfully? To put it another way, I didn't want to look at any member of the audience at the end of the RSS/faceted search portion of my presentation, and find myself staring into the eyes of a chicken, eyes glazed over, no comprehension achieved whatsoever.

I spent time considering the best way to do this. I worked with my 2004 powerpoint slides, eliminated some of them, redesigned the others, eliminated some slides altogether, and created two ppt slides to use to explain faceted searching and RSS in EV2. I decided the best way to approach this (gently), would be to review the Compendex db, also mention Inspec and NTIS, because all three are searchable when you begin an "Easy Search" within EV2, and then briefly explain faceted searching. I used this slide for support, and then switched to a live search on Compendex.

Beginning the search, I mentioned that when you choose Compendex, EV2 opens in Quick Search mode, defaulting to Compendex only (Inspec and NTIS remain unchecked). I explained that to get to the faceted search feature, you need to switch to Easy Search. Once there, I began a search with the phrase self-assembly, and added Controlled Vocabulary terms monolayers, substrates, and nanostructured materials. During this process, I took the time to describe the faceted search feature by explaining the facets or clusters, in the right-hand column of the search, including Controlled Vocabulary, Author, Date, Language, etc. I wanted to ensure that the class understood the faceted searching function before moving on to RSS.

Having reached that point, it was time to move on to RSS. I switched back to ppt, and displayed this slide, created to explain RSS without causing weeping and gnashing of teeth. I tried to avoid all jargon and acronymns, and introduced Bloglines without discussing blogs in detail, but instead focusing on its function as an RSS feeds reader. I returned to EV2, clicked on the RSS button for the above search, and showed the class the long, unintelligble URL that pops up, advising them not to be concerned about its size or what it means. I switched to Bloglines, and logged into an account I had created for the class, into which I had already embedded two EV2 searches, so that they could see examples of using RSS. I cut and pasted the URL from the live EV2 search into Bloglines, to illustrate how to "subscribe" to an RSS feed, and finally, briefly demonstrated the "edit" function within Bloglines, which allows the user to change a feed description that looks something like: "( (self assembly) AND (({monolayers}) WN CV) AND (({substrates}) WN CV) AND ..... ", and change it something like "Self assembly and monolayers with substrates."

At that point I stopped, and ask the class something like, "So, what do you think? Does the use of faceted searching, and embedding an RSS feed in Bloglines make sense, based on what I presented to you? Are you still with me" Heads nodded in the affirmative, and I ended by referring the class to a handout I created to help them use Easy Search to get to the faceted searching functionality of EV2, and to them take an RSS feed and use it in Bloglines. After the class, I spoke to interested students for another 30 minutes. The full ppt presentation used in the mech eng graduate class is here.

I felt that the way I approached the lecture, i.e., how I presented the concepts of faceted searching and RSS with Bloglines - slowly and at a very basic level (not discussing blogs, for example), worked quite well. It was a gamble - I'd not presented something like this before, and I had to give it my best shot. I share my experience here because others may be considering presentations of a similar nature in their classes, and I think it's something we need to be doing anyway. One hopes that EV2 is but the first of many, if not all, major databases to offer RSS feeds with search results. The question is, what's taking the rest of them so long?

April 7, 2005

Weblogs: Their Use and Application In Science and Technology Libraries - Article Available

:: I have uploaded the article co-authored with Geoff Harder, "Weblogs: Their Use and Application In Science and Technology Libraries". The pdf version is here. The article has also been added to the category, "Articles and Presentations", in the right hand column of STLQ.

Please note that Haworth allows for preprint distribution rights, "including posting as electronic files on the contributor’s own Web site for personal or professional use, or on the contributor’s internal university/corporate intranet or network, or other external Web site at the contributor’s university or institution, but not for either commercial (for-profit) or document delivery systems." (Full details here.)

Elsevier Newsletter Adds RSS Feed

:: Well, duh. Finally, another publisher has added an RSS feed to its newsletter. Elsevier's SD Connect is now available in RSS. We continue to wonder: what is taking publishers so long to offer RSS feeds for their various press releases, newsletters, updates, and the like? (Via Shifted.)

:: BTW, regarding the blog article mentioned in the previous post, I am waiting for confirmation of approval to post the article to STLQ. I hope to have an answer later today.

April 6, 2005

Weblogs: Their Use and Application In Science and Technology Libraries

:: I am pleased to report the publication of an article1 co-authored by your humble correspondent and the amazing Geoff Harder, my friend and colleague (on the other side of the wall). The article, "Weblogs: Their Use and Application in Science and Technology Libraries", briefly covers the history of blogs and considers how they can be put to good use in the science and technology library setting:

Weblogs, or blogs, emerged in the late 1990s on the Web, quickly becoming a new way to communicate ideas, opinions, resources and news. Since that time, the community of blogs has grown to encompass specific subject areas of study and research. This article briefly discusses the history and background of blogs, including blogging software. Literature searches suggest very little has been published on subject-specific blogs in scientific and technical publications. Applications in science and technology librarianship are discussed, including team and project management, reference work, current awareness, and the librarian as blog mentor for students.
Please note that my work e-mail address listed in the article and on the Haworth web site is incorrect, and should read randy.reichardt@ualberta.ca

1. Reichardt, Randy and Geoffrey Harder. 2005. "Weblogs: Their Use and Application in Science and Technology Libraries." Science & Technology Libraries, 25(3), p105-116.

April 2005 LiveWire

:: Issue 6.4 April 2005 of LiveWire, from ACS, is available.

April 2005 Cites & Insights

:: I finally spelled it correctly from the outset! The v5 n6 April 2005 issue of Cites & Insights is available.

April 5, 2005

SLA-ENG Division Election Results

:: Congratulations are in order for Don Welch, Senior Librarian for the Bell Helicopter Textron - Research and Engineering Library in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Suzanne Christina, Staff Analyst in the Engineering & Technology group at Hamilton Sundstrand, United Technologies, in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The SLA-ENG Division election results were announced today, with Don as Incoming Chair, and Suzanne as Treasurer. Kudos and best wishes to both winners!

Revisiting The Blog People

:: Jessamyn West links to the editorial and letters in the latest Library Journal, written in response to the Michael Gorman's vicious attack on weblogs in the previous issue, "hopefully putting it to bed once and for all". I don't think it's going to go away that quickly.

:: Also of note: Walt Crawford has come over to the dark side, and is now blogging. Check out Walt at Random.

Patents Missing In Action?

:: Dana Roth posted the following to CHMINF-L, something of concern to all patent searchers, and to those of us who advise our users of the importance of searching patents while doing research:

This from the New Scientist

It might seem that the plethora of free online patent databases that now exist should make it easier to check the relevant patent documents, but Willem Geert Lagemaat (World Patent Information, vol 27, p 27) says this is not so. Univentio, the patent-information company he runs in the Netherlands, has discovered that Espacenet, the European online patent database, is missing 322,000 UK Patent Office documents, plus 186,000 and 17,000 patents respectively from the French and German offices.

Some of the missing documents were granted as recently as 2004. "The online archives have gaps simply because the documents were not scanned, either because they were missing or there was an error digitising them," Lagemaat says.
With many libraries now disposing of at least part of their paper archives to save money, it is no longer possible to guarantee that a paper version of every patent exists. People use the web to do the bulk of their patent research for free and only contact archives for the missing patents. "Such low-volume orders do not cover an archive's expenses," Lagemaat says.

The UK Patent Office says it has "no immediate plans" to dispose of its paper archive and is working with the European Patent Office to extend the electronic archive with scanned images of British patents. But as Lagemaat points out, images are of little use in prior-art searches because the text within them is not searchable.

Dana L. Roth

April 4, 2005

Blackwell Offers Free Backfiles to Selected Titles

:: George Porter forwarded a message written by Chuck Hamaker and posted to the SPARC Open Access Forum by Peter Suber, regarding Blackwell now offering free access to archives of some of their journals:

These journals on the Blackwell (s)ite all STATE they have free archives. There are others that are free at the moment, but don't have a statement about whether they are free or not, and their are other titles that just make certain sections i.e. reviews, free.

There are undoubtedly others. This was a quick run through. But it shows a significant number of major journals are making their backfiles free, across a range of subjects.

BLACKWELL's Free Archives -([partial list I'm sure]}

Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica
Published on behalf of the Institution Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica
Free access to issues over two years old

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Published on behalf of The British Pharmacological Society
All online journal issues older than one year are available free to all users.

Cellular Microbiology
Free access to all review articles
Free access to issues over two years old

FEBS Journal Now with every published paper since 1967 available online! As a service to the scientific community, FEBS makes all online issues of the journal available free to users one year after original publication. In addition, the review articles in every issue are freely available.

Genes to Cells
All online journal issues older than 6 months are available free to all users.

Hereditas is now an open-access journal. All content from the 2005 volume onwards is free for all to view. n.b. All issues from 1993 are marked “free content�

An official journal of the British Society for Immunology
As a service to the scientific community, all online issues of Immunology are available free to users one year after original publication. In addition, the review articles in every issue are freely available.

Journal of Applied Microbiology
Published on behalf of the Society for Applied Microbiology
As a service to the scientific community, the SfAM makes all online issues of JAM available free to users three years after original publication. In addition, the review articles in every issue are freely available.

Journal of Internal Medicine
All online journal issues older than December 2000 are available free to all users

Journal of Neurochemistry
Published on behalf of the International Society for Neurochemistry
As a service to the scientific community, ISN makes all online issues of Journal of Neurochemistry available free to users two years after original publication. In addition, the review articles in every issue are freely available.

Molecular Microbiology
Free access to issues over 18 months old

Plant, Cell and Environment
Free access to content over three years old

The Plant Journal
Published on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology
" All online journal issues older than 12 months are available free to all users." (from journal front page)
July 1991 (Vol. 1 Issue 1 )-12 month wall

Sociology of Health & Illness
1979-1996 free archives

Chuck Hamaker

David Stern on Open Access

:: David Stern, Director of Science Libraries and Information Services, Kline Science Library, Yale University, has written a timely piece on open access. He argues that the open access publishing model isn't necessary or wanted, and represents a danger to the stability of the current scholarly publication network. In Open Access or Differential Pricing for Journals: The Road Best Traveled?, from Online, v29 n2, March/April 2005, he writes:

Open access (OA) is becoming a reality, with new cost models under development. The various cost models will have serious short- and long-term implications for libraries and dangerously impact the scholarly communication network. I believe that the adoption of the OA model for journals will create serious instabilities within the existing scholarly publication industry. OA, as a business model, is neither necessary nor desirable. With or without the often-discussed author charges approach, it would be almost impossible to obtain the same amount of total revenue through selected libraries as now exists from the much larger base of library subscriptions. Tiered or differential pricing (and services) among the existing subscribers would be a far more logical approach to supporting a modified scholarly journal distribution network.