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November 30, 2005

Nature Reports on Web 2.0

.: The v438 n7068 1 December 2005 issue of Nature is out today, and the News Features section focuses on Science in the Web Age, with three good reports on topics including social software such as blogs and wikis, the demise of print publications, and the impact of Google Scholar. Free access is available to the opening editorial by Sarah Tompkins, Science in the New Age: The Expanding Electronic Universe.

Declan Butler is the author of one of the features, Science in the New Age: Joint Efforts, in which he reports on blogging in science. Butler notes that while the Web is now moving in the direction of the "collaborative space" vision of its creator, Tim Berners-Lee, scientists seem to be slow to adopt new social software technologies, and are lagging behind in this movement. An excerpt from his article (subscription required):

For most users, the web in its first decade was like a big online library, where they mainly searched for information. Today it is undergoing a subtle but profound shift, dubbed Web 2.0, to become more of a social web, not unlike Berners-Lee's original vision. Yet scientists are largely being left behind in this second revolution, as they are proving slow to adopt many of the latest technologies that could help them communicate online more rapidly and collaboratively than they do now.

"I find it ironic that science is about the adoption, discovery and exploitation of new knowledge and techniques, yet the biggest revolution on the web is passing us by," says Greg Tyrelle, a bioinformatician at Chang Guan University in Taiwan. He has been experimenting with blog (short for web log) software for five years to interact with a growing audience of his peers and the wider public.

Declan was in contact with me earlier in November, as he prepared his report, and now has a blog, Declan Butler, Reporter.

November 28, 2005

All This and That

.: Ever get the feeling that it is becoming next to impossible to keep up with all the developments, changes, breakthroughs, new products, latest news in this proud and lonely profession of librarianship, let alone scitech librarianship? You do? Excellent, I'm not alone. These items are from 28 November 2005 of InfoToday's NewsBreak/Weekly News Digest:

  • Ingenta News from London: "An Ingenta (http://www.ingenta.com) representative telephoned last week to say the company has a “bumper selection of products to launch or relaunch” at Online Information (http://www.online-information.co.uk) this year. On Nov. 29 in London, the company will officially announce a new gateway service for libraries, called IngentaConnect Complete, which offers libraries a customized interface and branding, plus unlimited current awareness alerts. The service includes a license to Ingenta’s newly-named alerting service, InTouch. Ingenta will also introduce a new service that enables its participating publishers to group subsets of their journals by subject or theme. ConnectCollections can be offered by a single publisher or a group of cooperating publishers. The collection of journals can be licensed by libraries at consortial pricing rates."
  • Thomson Scientific Launches Web Citation Index: "Thomson Scientific (http://www.scientific.thomson.com), a business of The Thomson Corp., announced the launch of Web Citation Index, a multidisciplinary citation index of scholarly content from institutional and subject-based repositories. Web Citation Index provides users with a citation-based discovery vehicle for preprints, technical reports, dissertations, proceedings, and other gray literature. It is the result of a collaborative program between Thomson Scientific, NEC Laboratories America (NEC), and seven major institutions: Australian National University, California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the Max Planck Society, Monash University, University of Rochester, and NASA Langley"
  • Internet Archive Offers New Archive Service: "The Internet Archive (http:// www.archive.org) has launched the public W eb site http://www.a rchive-it.org, which allows users to create, manage, and search their own W eb archives through a W eb interface. The Archive-It service h as been developed, in particular, for memory institutions and state archives. The Internet Archive has been testing and developing the application through a pilot program that includes 13 institutions ( mainly l ibraries and a rchives) that are potential users of this service. The collections developed through the pilot are all available for search and browse access through the public facing site."

While on the Thomson site, I noticed more press releases about new developments such as:

  • New Data Mining and Visualization Tool From Thomson Scientific Answers the Problem of Information Overload: "Philadelphia, PA, USA - London, UK - November 28, 2005 - Today, Thomson Scientific announced the forthcoming launch of Thomson Data Analyzer, the powerful intelligence tool. The successor to Derwent AnalyticsSM, the Thomson Data Analyzer desktop software offers a powerful interface for managing and extracting business-critical insights from patent and scientific data within in-house or commercial databases.
    Thomson Data Analyzer provides an easy way to analyze trends, profile competitors, avoid or uncover patent and copyright infringement, and identify strategic development opportunities in information from a wide variety of Thomson Scientific databases including:
    • value-added patent records from Derwent World Patents Index® and Patents Citation Index™
    • full-text patent documents from Delphion®, MicroPatent PatentWeb® and Aureka®
    • current and retrospective multidisciplinary journal information from Web of Science® and INSPEC, via ISI Web of KnowledgeSM"

November 25, 2005

Dana Roth on Open Access Archives and STM

As commercial STM publishers continue to increase the subscription prices of their journals, and charge for backfile access, is it time for them to consider offering open access to their archives? Dana Roth of the Millikan Library at Caltech considers the benefits and consequences of such a move in this commentary:

Open Access Archives and STM Publishers - A Commentary by Dana Roth

One wonders ...

One wonders when commercial publishers might re-think their marketing strategies and recognize that their library subscribers deserve some compensation for years of annual price increases that far exceed inflation (for either CPI or pagination). The cumulative effect of decades of these often questionable price increases is exemplified by an analysis of the 2004 subscription costs, pagination, and cost/page.

Journal Title (publisher/volume) 2004 $ 2004 pp 2004 $/p
J. Electrochem. Soc. (ECS-v.151) $715 5825 $0.12
J. Solid State Electrochem. (Sp-v.9) $585 913 $0.64
Electrochimica Acta (P/Els-v.49) $4215 5260 $0.80
Electroanalysis (W/VCH-v.16) $2428 2094 $1.16
J. Applied Electrochem. (Kl-v.34) $2029 1291 $1.57
J. Electroanal. Chem. (Els-v.560-572) $9469 4267 $2.26

Factoring in the ISI Impact Factors (IP) and normalization of the cost/page/IP values for each commercial journal against the Journal of the Electrochemical Society (JES) produces some very startling results. These normalized values (2004N$/p/IP) are possibly a measure of the cost-effectiveness of each journal compared with JES.

Journal title - 2004 ISI/IP 2004$/p/IP 2004N$/p/IP
J. Electrochem. Soc. - 2.36 0.05 1.0
Electrochimica Acta - 2.34 0.34 6.8
Electroanalysis - 2.04 0.57 11.4
J. Solid State Electrochem. - 0.98 0.65 13.0
J. Electroanal. Chem. - 2.29 0.99 19.8
J. Applied Electrochem. - 0.98 1.60 32.0

While the Electrochemical Society's JES is somewhat unique in its very reasonable cost/page, they are certainly not publishing this journal at a loss. The normalized values of the 2004 cost/page/IP indicate that the J. Electrochem. Soc. is more cost effective than the J. Applied Electrochem. by a factor of 32. Alternatively, looking simply at the difference in the $cost/page data suggests that, if published by a society, J. Electroanal. Chem. could be priced at $512/year instead of $9649.

Given these presumably handsome profits, would it be unreasonable to suggest that commercial publishers consider making their online archives freely available thru an equivalent of PubMed Central?

One can only imagine the enormous positive public relations that the first commercial publisher will receive for this small token of appreciation to the library and research community ... and that this might encourage others to follow suit. This would also have the beneficial effect of freeing up funds for the learned society journal back files, which when their capital costs are met could also be made freely available. Thus, with a little publisher cooperation, an Open Access environment for virtually all journal articles published more than ten years ago would be a reality.

P.S. Publishers should also strongly consider offering RSS feeds, and MARC records for new online books in addition to currently offered e-mail announcements.

Dana L. Roth
Millikan Library / Caltech 1-32
1200 E. California Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91125
626-395-6423 fax 626-792-7540
dzrlib AT ibrary.caltech.edu

November 22, 2005

EBSCO Provides Free Access to Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA)

.: Was surfing Stephen's Lighthouse when I read an entry about EBSCO now providing free access to Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts. From the EBSCO site:

EBSCO Publishing is proud to provide the Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) database as a free resource to anyone interested in libraries and information management. This world-class bibliographic database provides coverage on subjects such as librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more. Delivered via the EBSCOhost platform, LISTA indexes more than 600 periodicals plus books, research reports, and proceedings. With coverage dating back to the mid-1960s, it is the oldest continuously produced database covering the field of information science.

Note: Be sure to set a bookmark for http://www.libraryresearch.com. This link takes you directly to the LISTA database. Make it a "favorite" so this free resource is available whenever you need it!

Library of Congress to Build World Digital Library

.: From a post on Maphist, via CNN:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Library of Congress is kicking off a campaign on Tuesday to work with other nation's libraries to build a World Digital Library, starting with a $3 million donation from Google Inc.

Librarian of Congress James Billington said he is looking to attract further private funding to develop bilingual projects, featuring millions of unique objects, with libraries in China, India, the Muslim world and other nations. This builds on major existing digital documentary projects by the Library of Congress -- one preserving an online record of Americana and another documenting ties between the United States and Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain. "The World Digital Library is an attempt to go beyond Europe and the Americas...into cultures where the majority of the world is," Billington told Reuters in a telephone interview.

As an example, Billington said the Library of Congress is in discussions with the national library of Egypt to include a collection of great Islamic scientific works from the 10th through the 16th Century in the World Digital Library. "We are trying to do a documentary record of other great cultures of the world. How much we will be able to do will depend on how many additional partners we attract," he said.

Over the past decade, the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress has digitized more than 10 million items to create a documentary record of Americana. A link is located at: http://www.loc.gov/memory/. These include manuscripts, maps, audiovisual recordings, cartoons, caricatures, posters, documentary photographs, music, and, to a lesser extent, historic books. The World Digital Library would draw on a similar variety of multimedia objects.

A second project, known as the Global Gateway and introduced in 2000, involves collaborations with five national libraries in Europe and Brazil that focus on documenting ties between each of those countries and U.S. culture. (http://international.loc.gov/intldl/find/digital-collaborations.html/)

Global cultures

By contrast, the World Digital Library will focus on creating records of global cultures. The Library of Congress will contribute its own body of works to a blended collection with other countries. More than half of the printed volumes in the Library of Congress are in languages other than English. "It will deal with the culture of those people rather than with our contacts as Americans with those cultures," Billington said.

Web search company Google (Research) has agreed to work with the Library of Congress on developing standards for indexing the digital collections and by providing computer equipment.

The Library of Congress push adds momentum to a variety of competing projects by leading Internet companies and some of the world's greatest libraries to make available online a range of historic literature, audio recordings and film archives. The plans unveiled over the past year mark the most sustained drive yet to make good on the vision of Internet pioneers to open the world's library collections to a global online audience. The dream suffered from a lack of funding and the distractions of the dot-com era's get-rick-quick schemes. Among these are a major push by Google with five major academic libraries to digitize their book collections.

Meanwhile, the Open Content Alliance, backed by Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp., the non-profit Internet Archive and other major libraries, is looking to create an online clearinghouse for historic books, audio and films. The Google Print project has been met with lawsuits by the New York-based Authors Guild and five U.S. publishers who are seeking to block Google's plan to create an online card catalog of copyright works in the collections of its library partners.

November 18, 2005

Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship 44, Fall 2005 Issue Now Available

.: The Fall 2005 issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship is now available at http://www.istl.org/. Featured articles include:

Andrea Twiss-Brooks' article is one of five on the theme of "facilities."

eMolecules Introduces Chmoogle

.: The following appeared on CHMINF-L this morning, and on the eMolecules web site:

SAN DIEGO -- November 18, 2005 -- eMolecules, Inc. today announced the launch of Chmoogle (www.chmoogle.com), the world's leading free open-access chemistry search engine. Chmoogle's mission is to discover, curate and index all of the public chemical information in the world, and make it available to the public. Chmoogle distinguishes itself by extremely fast searches, an appealing presentation of results, and high-quality chemical drawings.

"The world's knowledge in chemistry is an invaluable resource", said Dr. Klaus Gubernator, eMolecule's Chief Executive Officer. "It lies dormant until it becomes searchable by every chemist. The language of chemistry is chemical structures. Chmoogle makes the world's chemistry searchable by structure. Just draw a molecule using your favorite structure drawing tool and hit Go!."

Craig James, Chmoogle's Chief Technology Officer, explained, "The scale and speed of Chmoogle is unlike anything that's come before. We had to start from scratch, build a new chemical database engine from the ground up, so that we could give users the response times they expect, handle one of the world's largest collections of molecules, and respond to the unique demands of the world wide web."

Chmoogle allows users to send queries, results and individual structures as links to their colleagues via email. This feature creates an unparalleled collaborative environment for chemists worldwide.

Chmoogle provides "Chmoogle Free" code that users can embed into their own web sites for direct access to Chmoogle, as well as hosted cheminformatics systems and full web sites for chemical suppliers, pharmaceutical and other chemical industries.

Not being a chemistry librarian, I will defer to those qualified to comment on the functionality and utility of this new product.

November 17, 2005

RSS Feeds Added to IEEE Periodicals

.: John Platt from IEEE sent the following e-mail yesterday, advising of the new RSS feeds from IEEE:

As part of yesterday's maintenance release of the IEEE Xplore digital library, RSS feeds for new issues of IEEE journals are now available for all titles. Feeds are available individually from each journal's main page in IEEE Xplore.

To see one example, visit the Proceedings of the IEEE main page at

RSS feeds can also be found through the Table of Contents Alerts service, which continues to offer notification by email.

This is great news, allowing users interested in IEEE titles to embed RSS feeds into their newsreaders, and reduce incoming e-mail. However, there is nothing on the Tables of Contents Alerts page about RSS feeds. Check this page instead.

BioMed Central to Publish ACS Title in 2006 as Open Access

.: KnowledgeSpeak reports that BioMed Central will assume publication of Geochemical Transactions, the online journal of the Geochemistry Division of ACS, beginning 1 January 2006. From the BioMed Central press release:

BioMed Central is pleased to announce that it will publish Geochemical Transactions, the online journal of the Geochemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, from January 1, 2006. Geochemical Transactions ranks third in impact factor among geochemistry journals and will become the first open access journal in the field.

Geochemical Transactions joins the 140+ open access journals currently published by BioMed Central, including over 70 titles that are run by independent editorial groups. In line with the publisher's open access policy, all articles published in Geochemical Transactions from January 1, 2006 will be immediately and permanently accessible online free of charge. All articles that were published in the journal prior to 2006 will also retrospectively become open access.

November 16, 2005

SPIE Digital Library News

.: The SPIE Digital Library continues to expand and upgrade. From the November 2005 Subscriber E-Newsletter:

Access papers faster with e-First: You can now access papers from SPIE conferences starting just two weeks after the conference. With e-First, Proceedings papers go online as soon as they are approved for publication, providing faster access to timely content. View current proceedings.

SPIE Journals began e-First publication in January 2005. With e-First, new journal articles are added regularly until the issue closes and the next issue is opened to new papers. View current Journal issues.

Archive nearing completion: The SPIE Digital Library now includes Proceedings of SPIE going back to 1990 (SPIE Volume 1200). The Journal archive will be completed by mid-November. The SPIE Digital Library now includes 205,000 full-text papers from 1990–present.

To view listings of all Proceedings volumes currently available, use the Browse links, which can be found in the left column on any page in the SPIE Digital Library. Proceedings can be browsed by Year, Symposium, Volume No., Volume Title, and Technology.

STS/ASEE ELD/SLA Sci-Tech Continuing Education Survey 2005

.: From various discussion groups:

This is your chance to tell us what you want to learn about! The results from this survey help us plan conference programs and other continuing education opportunities on topics that are current and interesting to you.

It is available at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=445321287697
The survey is only open until November 18, 2005. Please take a few minutes to fill it out.

ALA's ACRL Science and Technology Section, the American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Libraries Division, and the Special Libraries Association Science-Technology Division are collaborating on this survey. Your participation will help these organizations as they plan for continuing education events in the future.

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

If you have technical difficulties taking this survey, please contact:
Betsy Spackman, Life Sciences Librarian, Brigham Young University, betsy_spackman AT byu.edu

Thanks for your participation!

November 15, 2005

Inspec Archive Available via EBSCOhost

.: From today's KnowledgeSpeak Newsletter:

EBSCO Publishing has announced the availability of the new database, Inspec Archive - Science Abstracts 1898-1968, via its EBSCOhost platform. Inspec is considered a key addition to the company's existing database, as it caters to all institutions that perform research in the fields of computer science, engineering, physics and other sciences.

Created by the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Inspec Archive allows access to the digitised version of the complete compilation of Science Abstracts Journals, which was the precedent of the existing Inspec database. With coverage spanning 1898 to 1968, the database comprises more than 870,000 records with original classifications. Inspec Archive indexing supports the present Inspec Thesaurus Terms and Inspec Classification Codes. The supplementary indexing provides both Inspec and Inspec Archive users with a seamless search facility.

The new database offers lengthier abstracts inclusive of figures, graphs and tables from the original document. It also features books, conference proceedings, reports and theses. Institutions can access Inspec and Inspec Archive simultaneously through EBSCOhost.

November 13, 2005

Nature Podcasts

.: Not sure how I missed this one, but Nature is offering weekly podcasts since 5 October 2005. From the Nature site:

Welcome to the Nature Podcast. Each week we'll be publishing a free audio show, presented and produced by Chris Smith, a doctor, virology researcher and radio presenter from the University of Cambridge, UK.

Each show will feature highlights from that week's issue of Nature and interviews with the people behind the science, and journalists covering the research.

November 10, 2005

IEEE and Flickr

.: From the November 2005 What's New @ IEEE For Students: "Over on the Flickr photo-sharing site, hundreds of pictures have been tagged with the search term "IEEE," offering a glimpse at IEEE activities around the globe. Check them out at: www.flickr.com/photos/tags/ieee/"

AIP Conference Proceedings Alert Service

.: George Porter sent a note about a new alert service from the American Institute of Physics, called New Volume Alerts:

Librarians are invited to register for alerts of newly-published volumes in the AIP Conference Proceedings series. This free service is meant to provide librarians with bibliographic data to facilitate inclusion of each new volume in online catalogs or other indexing services.

Each e-mail alert will include bibliographic data for the title, as well as a complete table of contents. Alerts are available in either plain-text (ASCII) or HTML format. Alerts are delivered directly to the e-mail address you specify; alerts in HTML format are fully linked to abstracts and full text. Please note that the e-mail address you enter will not be sold or otherwise distributed to any other individual or entity.

As George notes in his e-mail, "It will beat the heck out of trying to remember to go scope out the site every week or so to forward info to Cataloging.
" :-)

Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch - Investigating Resource Discovery Issues in Engineering Digital Repositories

.: Roddy MacLeod sent an e-mail, advising about the following:

Two PerX (Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch) Project deliverables are available, and may be of interest:
  1. Listing of Engineering Repository Sources
  2. Engineering Digital Repositories Landscape Analysis, and Implications for PerX
The Listing builds on such sources as Sarah Kirby's listing of searchable abstracts in scitech. The purpose of the listing is not to provide a comprehensive list of all worldwide repositories, but is rather an attempt to identify the most significant repositories of relevance to engineering and to provide examples of repositories via type and coverage. Its quite long!

The Analysis reviews the landscape in the area of digital repositories within the subject area of engineering, as identified in the Listing. The document provides a synopsis of the current state of digital repository and metadata repository provision (including obvious gap areas) within engineering related disciplines. It proceeds to discuss various issues concerning repository provision and how they might relate to the provision of an Engineering Repository cross search service.

Regarding the Listing, we're not particularly interested in anything that's been missed unless it is an important source which is interoperable.

We're interested in comments on both documents, but particularly the Analysis. Do other SciTech LIS people agree with our analysis? Do you have anything to add? Comments are welcome, to me, please.

There’s also an RSS feed: http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/perx/news/perx.rss:
News about the PerX project and the Engineering Repository Cross Search Demonstrator.

Roddy MacLeod MA, DipLib, MCILIP
Senior Subject Librarian
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Tel (0131) 451 3576 Fax: (0131) 451 3164
R.A.MacLeod AT hw.ac.uk

November 9, 2005

50 Years of Citation Indexing

.: Dana Roth reports on PAMNET that the current issue of Current Science, v83 n9, 10 November 2005, has a feature section called 50 Years of Citation Indexing. From the editorial:

We celebrate in this issue the fiftieth anniversary of a paper published by Gene Garfield. What is so great about that paper in Science 1955? In some ways, that paper sketched the conceptual foundations of scientometrics, which was later enriched by Garfield, Derek de Solla Price, Joshua Lederberg and Robert Merton. More importantly, it led to wholly new ways of searching the literature and understanding the structure of scientific knowledge. Says Joshua Lederberg, in the Preface he wrote for Genetics Citation Index in 1963, and which we have reproduced in this issue (page 1502): ‘I had no idea how to look up the literature in the documentation field and from past experience with subject indexing in science had little confidence in the utility of a literature search’. Lederberg found the perfect solution to his problem in citation indexing. ‘It was parallel to many others in my own research activity. How often I have run across some older reports on methods or on some curiosities of bacterial variations and been frustrated in attempts to find later work on the same subject and, especially, critical enlargement on the earlier work.’ It was fitting that Garfield chose a geneticist to introduce his revolutionary database, as geneticists are concerned with parent–offspring relationships that make it easy for them to understand ‘the structure of scientific activity that is inherent in citational references’
Among the featured articles is one authored by Dana, titled "The emergence of competitors to the Science Citation Index and the Web of Science." Other articles include: "Early impressions of citation indexing" by Joshua Lederberg, "Citation and hyperlink networks" by Andrea Scharnhorst and Mike Thelwall, and "As we may search – Comparison of major features of the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar citation-based and citation-enhanced databases" by Péter Jacsó.

November 7, 2005

CFM: Special Issue of Internet Reference Services Quarterly on Federated Searching

Internet Reference Services Quarterly, a refereed journal published by The Haworth Press Inc., invites proposals for a special issue on federated searching. The issue (12 1/2) will tentatively be published in February 2007.

We hope the issue, which may also be published as a monograph, will cover a wide range of topics pertaining to federated searching or metasearching. For the purposes of this issue, federated searching is defined at a search system with a common interface which enables simultaneous searching of databases or other resources from a variety of vendors. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementations of the various software packages (MetaLib, ENCompass, WebFeat, etc.) at different sized campus or as part of consortia
  • Issues related to implementation or use of the software
  • Interface decisions
  • Comparison to and competition with Google Scholar
  • Metasearch standards
  • Technical services issues (i.e. metadata, etc.) relating to federated searching
  • Information literacy issues related to federated searching
  • Instruction of federated searching to various groups
  • Utilization of federated searching at the Reference Desk
  • Usability studies
  • Assessment of federated searching technologies
  • Studies of how widespread the phenomenon is, etc.

Theory-based manuscripts and case studies are acceptable. While the editors expect the issue to center around federated searching in academic libraries, manuscripts are also welcomed from other libraries (public, state, special) or consortia which have implemented federated searching technologies. Additional manuscripts may be independently solicited.

Proposals of no more than two (2) pages should be submitted to Christopher Cox at coxcn AT uwec.edu no later than December 15, 2005. First drafts will be due no later than March 1, 2006. Final drafts (following double blind review) will be due no later than June 1, 2006.

For more information about Internet Reference Services Quarterly, please visit http://www.haworthpress.com/web/IRSQ/ . For any questions related to this announcement please contact IRSQ editor Christopher Cox via e-mail or at:

Christopher Cox
Editor, Internet Reference Services Quarterly
McIntyre Library
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
105 Garfield Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004

Access 2005 Audio Presentations Now Available

.: Audio files of the presentations from the recent Access 2005 conference, held in Edmonton, Alberta, from 17-19 October 2005, are now available for downloading. Featured speakers included the following:

November 3, 2005

Implementing Podcasting in the Classroom Web Conference

.: Interesting post from Gerry McKiernan on STS-L that will be of interest to all who are following the ongoing developments in podcasting. Implementing Podcasting in the Classroom Web Conference takes place on Wednesday, November 30th, from 1300-1430 hrs EST. Details from the site:


"Podcasting" seems to be as popular a buzzword today as "mp3" was in 1999 when it became the number one search word on the internet. However, just as in 1999, many still do not know what this new technology is or how to take full advantage of it in an academic setting. The Implementing Podcasting in the Classroom web conference will examine how existing technology infrastructure can be used in conjunction with podcasting technology to reach students in new and meaningful ways. Join us to examine a fully-deployed classroom podcasting program and explore how this new technology could be deployed on your campus.

Who Should Attend:

This event is designed to demonstrate how to effectively implement a podcasting program to technology administrators desiring specific details on existing implementations in classroom settings. This includes vice presidents of instructional technology and chief information officers deciding on how to best implement a new podcasting program, distance learning support staff, library technology administrators, and audio-visual and multimedia support staff.

A single site connection registration fee is $350.00US.

November 2, 2005

Students Using Blogs

.: Interesting short piece from News in Science, 2 Sept 2005 on use of blogs by students. Excerpt:

Blogging is helping students to think and write more critically, says an Australian researcher, and can help draw out people who would otherwise not engage in debate.

These are the preliminary findings of PhD research by Anne Bartlett-Bragg, a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, who has been using weblogs or blogs in her own teaching since 2001.

"[The students] are thinking more critically," she says. "They are learning to be responsible and they're communicating outside the boundaries of the classroom and the institution, and they like that."

Since the fall of 2003, I have been introducing blogs as project managmenet tools as part of my information and research skills sessions offered to design students in chemical, materials and mechanical engineering. To date, quite a few student design groups, usually with four members, have made good use of blogs in this way.

November 1, 2005

STS/ASEE ELD/SLA Sci-Tech Continuing Education Survey 2005

.: From an STS-L e-mail: "Want to learn more about the latest topics in the sci/tech library world? Here's your chance to tell us what you want to learn. ALA's ACRL Science and Technology Section, the American Society for Engineering Education Engineering Libraries Division, and the Special Libraries Association Science-Technology Division are collaborating on this survey. Your participation will help these organizations plan relevant conference programs and other continuing education. Follow this link to take the survey:


Questions about this survey should be sent to:

Terri Freedman, Head, Collier Science Library, Bryn Mawr College, tfreedma AT brynmawr.edu

If you have technical difficulties taking this survey, please contact:
Betsy Spackman, Life Sciences Librarian, Brigham Young University, betsy_spackman AT byu.edu

Thanks for your participation! The survey will be open until November 18, 2005."

ISI's Impact Factor: Wagging the Dog?

.: Bob Michaelson posted a note to PAMNET-L regarding a long article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on ISI's "impact factors." The article is called The Number That's Devouring Science: The impact factor, once a simple way to rank scientific journals, has become an unyielding yardstick for hiring, tenure, and grants, and is written by Richard Monasterky. Bob also points to a discussion of the article on Crooked Timber. Both are worth reading. Excerpt from Monasterky's article:

In the beginning, during the late 1950s, it was just an innocent idea in Eugene Garfield's head. A Philadelphia researcher who described himself as a "documentation consultant," Mr. Garfield spent his free time thinking about scientific literature and how to mine information from it.

He eventually dreamed up something he called an "impact factor," essentially a grading system for journals, that could help him pick out the most important publications from the ranks of lesser titles. To identify which journals mattered most to scientists, he proposed tallying up the number of citations an average article in each journal received.

This accounting method sounds harmless enough. Outside academe, few people have even heard of it. Mr. Garfield, though, now compares his brainchild to nuclear energy: a force that can help society but can unleash mayhem when it is misused.

Indeed, impact factors have assumed so much power, especially in the past five years, that they are starting to control the scientific enterprise. In Europe, Asia, and, increasingly, the United States, Mr. Garfield's tool can play a crucial role in hiring, tenure decisions, and the awarding of grants.

"The impact factor may be a pox upon the land because of the abuse of that number," says Robert H. Austin, a professor of physics at Princeton University.