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March 31, 2006

CAS Registry Adds Property Data, Spectra And Spectra References

.: From the CAS Press Release:

"Nearly 1.1 billion predicted and experimental properties, tags that refer to additional data and spectra have been added to CAS Registry records for 19 million substances...

... CAS Registry database reached a total of over 27 million organic and inorganic substance records in 2005. The database has been enhanced with the addition of experimental NMR and IR spectra from Wiley Subscriptions and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

After retrieving a CAS Registry record (e.g. Benzene), click on 'experimental properties'.

Randy attended the SciFinder Scholar Q&A at the ACS Meeting in Atlanta last Sunday, where the accouncements were made, including:

  • CASREACT® now includes >10,000,000 reactions
  • 981,000 abstracts were added in 2005
  • the following experimental spectra have been added to CAS Registry: 142,000 NMR, 28,000 IR, 19,000 Mass
  • 150,000,000th citation was added in January 2006
  • CAS Registry now includes >27,000,000 organic and inorganic substance records
SciFinder Scholar staff confirmed that work is beginning on a web-based format for SciFinder Scholar, and that consideration is being given to requested features such as the option to e-mail search results. No specific date has been set for when this will happen.

- Dana Roth and Randy Reichardt

March 30, 2006

IMechE Archive Now Available Back to 1847

.: The recently announced IMechE Archives includes the following journals:

  • Engineering in Medicine 1971-1988 (vols 1-17)
  • J. Mech. Eng. Sci. 1959-1982 (vols 1-23)
  • J. Inst. Locomotive Eng. 1911-1970 (vols 1-59)
  • Proc. Inst. Automobile Eng. 1906-1947 (vols 1-41)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., 1847-1982 (vols 1-196)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Automobile Division 1947-1970
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part A: Power Process Eng. 1983-1988 (vols 197-202)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part A: J. Power Eng. 1989 (vol 203)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part A: J. Power Energy 1990-1996 (vols 204-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part B: Mgmt. Eng. Manufact. 1983-1988 (vols 197-202)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part B: J. Eng. Manufact. 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part C: Mech. Eng. Sci. 1983-1988 (vols 197-202)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part C: J. Mech. Eng. Sci. 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part D: Transport Eng. 1984-1988 (vols 198-202)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part D: J. Automobile Eng. 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part E: J. Process Mech. Eng. 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part F: J. Rail Rapid Transit 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part G: J. Aerospace Eng. 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part H: J. Eng. Medicine 1989-1996 (vols 203-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part I: J. Syst. Control Eng. 1991-1996 (vols 205-210)
  • Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng., Part J: J. Eng. Tribology 1994-1996 (vols 208-210)
While access to abstracts, full text and references are "secured to subscribers", non-subscribers can use this resource to browse the tables of contents or search (all words, any words, exact phrase, Boolean search) within the various titles or search the full database (full text, abstracts, authors, title and limit by date).

Unfortunately, the IMechE Archives does NOT include the IMechE Conference volumes. The IMechE Library Catalogue is available for searching at: http://62.173.95.116/olibcgi/ntxcgi.exe

"Over 60,000 records are held on the catalogue, which provides details of all books, journals, conferences, seminars, preprints, pamphlets, standards and lectures held by the library. IMechE conference, seminar and proceedings papers are abstracted back to 1984."

Scirus Improvements

.: Please welcome Dana Roth as an "official" contributor to STLQ:

  • While I was initially very negative about Scirus, they seem to be adding content, although they are heavily weighted to Medline/PubMed, Science Direct and a few society publishers (e.g. IOP, IUC, Scitation) for their journal sources coverage. They have added the Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives (Caltech CODA) to their web sources.
  • Scirus provides grouping of results via keywords in context. For example, try 'zzyzx' as a search term. http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/ In the right margin there is an option to "Refine your search using these keywords found in the results"
  • Scirus index surpasses 250 million mark

    The Scirus index now contains over 250 million scientifically relevant Web pages. This includes pages found on government sites, academic websites, preprint servers, digital archives, repositories and patent and journal databases ..." For more information about Scirus' content sources" click: http://www.scirus.com/srsapp/aboutus/#sources

  • Grouping of results per source in Scirus

    Building on its existing feature to view results per general content type (Journal sources, Preferred Web sources and general Web), Scirus now offers the ability to ... ("View all results from...") ... for all Journal and Preferred Web results (including repository search partners and patents). "

    **For example: each Medline/PubMed reference offers the choice "view all ... results from MEDLINE/PubMed"

March 29, 2006

Japan Science and Technology Agency Releases Journal@rchive

.: The Japan Science and Technology Agency has release Journal@rchive, an archive of articles from Japanese journals, some going back to the 19th century. From the About page:

Journal@rchive is an archive site of J-STAGE operated by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). On Journal@rchive, academic journals scanned through the Electronic Archive Initiative are released from their first issues, including those issued in the 19th century. The Initiative commenced by JST in FY2005 aiming at two goals: (1) to preserve of academic heritages of Japan, and (2) to further promote worldwide distribution of Japanese research results.

Scopus and EBSCOHost Add RSS

.: I am back from the ACS Conference in Atlanta. My presentation was kindly received by those in attendance for an eight-speaker session that began at 08:00 on a Sunday morning!

.: Nice to see that Ebsco has released RSS feeds for search questions, as well as a visual search function, as reported in The Distant Librarian. While it's nice to see another database offer a function that EV2 has had since July 2005, EBSCO has buried the feeds within its Search Alert function, and it requires a 17-step procedure to set it up, which is a bit clunky. EV2 puts the RSS alongside a search as it develops, making for a quick c&p into an RSS reader.

Scopus is about to release RSS feeds as well, apparently on April 5th, 2006. More information here.

March 22, 2006

UBC Professor: Google Scholar On Par With Science Citation Index For Performing Citation Counts

.: From an article in the March 2006 issue of University Affairs / Affaires universitaires, "Canada's magazine on higher education," titled Google Scholar service matches Thomson ISI citation index, by Léo Charbonneau. Excerpt:

The free Google Scholar service does as good a job as Thomson ISI’s science citation index for performing citation counts and could be used as a cheap substitute to the costly Thomson service, says a University of British Columbia professor. Thomson’s citation databases are accessible through the company’s Web of Science portal only by subscription, which can cost a university tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Daniel Pauly, director of the Fisheries Centre at UBC, and Konstantinos Stergiou, of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, compared the two methods using 114 papers from 11 disciplines published between 1925 and 2004. For papers published before 1990, the authors found that the citation counts were proportional. In other words, if Thomson ISI found that a particular paper was cited 10 times as often as another, Google Scholar found the same ratio. However, for these older papers, the actual citation counts with Google were about half that of Thomson.

Charbonneau notes that the results of the study by Pauly and Stergiou were published in a recent issue of the onine journal, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 2005:33-35. The "note" is titled, Equivalence of results from two citation analyses: Thomson's ISI Citation Index and Google's Scholar service. The previous link is to the .pdf file, which as far as I can tell, should be open access.

According to the article, Pauly disagrees with University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa LIS professor Péter Jacsó's assessment of Google Scholar in his article, As we may search – Comparison of major features of the Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar citation-based and citation-enhanced databases, (.pdf file, may require subscription) published in Current Science, v83 n9, 10 November 2005. Jacsó wrote two other assessments of Google Scholar for his column, Péter's Digital Reference Shelf: Google Scholar Beta (Dec 2004), and Google Scholar Redux (June 2005).

I have to confess, I have never made the time to compare these resources, along with Scopus. When do we have the time to do this? I am grateful that reports and studies such as the aforementioned ones come to our attention, but even finding time to read and digest them is difficult. I work with researchers from first-year to post-doc and faculty, and find that after an hour's in-depth one-on-one consulting with a post-graduate student or researcher, it is all they can do to absorb one or two dbs of critical interest to them.

So I wonder, am I not doing my job to the best of my abilities if I don't keep up with these types of analyses? We have Scopus and Web of Science, and we all have access to Google Scholar. How many of you are using more than one of these on a regular basis? At the same time, I *know* I need to become more familiar with Google Scholar...

Encyclopædia Britannica Responds to Nature

.: Brian Simboli at Lehigh U posted a note on PAMNET regarding Encyclopædia Britannica's response to the article in the 15 December 2005 issue of Nature, "Internet encyclopaedias go head to head", by Jim Giles. EB's response is titled "Fatally Flawed: Refuting the recent study on encyclopedic accuracy by the journal Nature". Excerpt:

In its December 15, 2005, issue, the science journal Nature published an article that claimed to compare the accuracy of the online Encyclopædia Britannica with Wikipedia, the Internet database that allows anyone, regardless of knowledge or qualifications, to write and edit articles on any subject.1 Wikipedia had recently received attention for its alleged inaccuracies,2 but Nature’s article claimed to have found that “such high-profile examples [of major errors in Wikipedia] are the exception rather than the rule” and that “the difference in accuracy [between Britannica and Wikipedia] was not particularly great.”

Arriving amid the revelations of vandalism and errors in Wikipedia, such a finding was, not surprisingly, big news. Within hours of the article’s appearance on Nature’s Web site, media organizations worldwide proclaimed that Wikipedia was almost as accurate as the oldest continuously published reference work in the English language.3

Following the first two paragraphs is this line, in much larger font:
Almost everything about the journal’s investigation, from the criteria for
identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading.
After the references are listed (below), EB notes the following:
That conclusion was false, however, because Nature’s research was invalid. As we demonstrate below, almost everything about the journal’s investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading. Dozens of inaccuracies attributed to the Britannica were not inaccuracies at all, and a number of the articles Nature examined were not even in the Encyclopædia Britannica. The study was so poorly carried out and its findings so error-laden that it was completely without merit. We have produced this document to set the record straight, to reassure Britannica’s readers about the quality of our content, and to urge that Nature issue a full and public retraction of the article.

1Jim Giles, “Internet encyclopaedias go head to head,” Nature, December 15, 2005: 900-01.

2John Seigenthaler, “A false Wikipedia ‘biography,’” USA Today, November 29, 2005
(http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2005-11-29-wikipedia-edit_x.htm). “Free Encyclopedia
Wikipedia.de Has Copyright Issues,” DW-World/Deutsche Welle, November 29, 2005 (http://www.dwworld.de/dw/article/0,2144,1796407,00.html). “Wikipedia Caught in Podfather Turf War,” Podcasting News, December 5, 2005 (http://www.podcastingnews.com/archives/2005/12/wikipedia_caugh_1.html). All accessed March 7, 2006.

3Dan Goodin, “Wikipedia Science Topics As Accurate As Britannica-Report,” Associated Press, December 14, 2005. Gregory M. Lamb, “Online Wikipedia is not Britannica - but it's close,” Christian Science Monitor, January 5, 2006 (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0105/p13s02-stct.html). “Wikipedia Gets Things Right,” Red Herring, December 14, 2005 (http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=14873&hed=Wikipedia+Is+Fairly+Accurate#). “Assessing Wikipedia’s Accuracy,” All Things Considered, December 15, 2005 (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5055388).
Julian Dibbell, “Factually Speaking,” Village Voice, December 22, 2005
(http://villagevoice.com/screens/0552,dibbell,71299,28.html). “Fact or fiction? Online encyclopedias put to the test,” The Age, December 15, 2005 (http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/online-encyclopedias-put-to-thetest/
2005/12/14/1134500913345.html
). All accessed March 7, 2006.

March 21, 2006

Optics Express - Soaring Citation Rate for Open Access Title

.: Optics Express, the Open Access journal of the Optical Society of America, "... was recognized by Essential Science Indicators as having the highest percent increase in total citations in the field of Physics in both September 2005 and January 2006. Optics Express is a SPARC Leading Edge publisher partner.

March 17, 2006

Scirus News Update

.: The Scirus News Update for February 2006 is available, and includes information on the latest release.

March 16, 2006

Does the arXiv lead to higher citations and reduced publisher downloads for mathematics articles? -- article by Philip M. Davis, Michael J. Fromerth

As posted to Liblicense, SIGMETRICS, and PAMNET by Phil Davis:

Does the arXiv lead to higher citations and reduced publisher downloads for mathematics articles?
Authors: Philip M. Davis, Michael J. Fromerth
http://arxiv.org/pdf/cs.DL/0603056

An analysis of 2,765 articles published in four math journals from 1997 to 2005 indicated that articles deposited in the arXiv received 35% more citations on average than non-deposited articles (an advantage of about 1.1 citations per article), and that this difference was most pronounced for highly-cited articles. The most plausible explanation is not Open Access or Early View, but Self-Selection, which has led to higher quality articles being deposited in the arXiv. Yet in spite of their citation advantage, arXiv-deposited articles received 23% fewer downloads from the publisher's website (about 10 fewer downloads per article) in all but the most recent two years after publication. The data suggest that arXiv and the publisher's website may be fulfilling distinct functional needs of the reader.

March 15, 2006

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice - First Issue Now Available

.: The following is from an e-mail sent today, from my colleague Denise Koufogiannakis:

I'm pleased to announce that the first issue of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice has been published this morning. You can find the journal at the following URL: http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP

EBLIP is open access, peer reviewed, and is the first journal to focus specifically on evidence based practice in the information professions. EBLIP is published by the University of Alberta Learning Services, and proudly uses the Open Journal Systems (OJS) journal management and publishing system developed by the Public Knowledge Project.

The Evidence Based Librarianship Interest Group of the Canadian Library Association governs EBLIP by establishing the journal’s guiding principles and ensuring that the journal’s editorial board is in place on an annual basis.

Pam Ryan and I both serve as Editors for the journal, along with Lindsay Glynn, the Editor in Chief, from Memorial University. There is also an international Editorial Advisory board, and Evidence Summaries team.

If you have any questions about this journal, please do not hesitate to ask.

Denise
--------------------------------------------------
Denise Koufogiannakis, MA, MLIS
Collections and Acquisitions Coordinator
University of Alberta Libraries
Bibliographic Services
5th floor, Cameron Library
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2J8
Ph: (780) 492-5331
Fax: (780) 492-3695
E-mail: denise.koufogiannakis AT ualberta.ca
http://www.library.ualberta.ca/staff/denise_k/

March 14, 2006

SciFinder Scholar 2006: An Empirical Analysis of Research Topic Query Processing - article by A. Ben Wagner

.: As noted by Kevin Lindstrom on CHMINF-L, A Ben Wagner has written an article about the natural language algorithms used by SciFinder Scholar. The article is titled SciFinder Scholar 2006: An Empirical Analysis of Research Topic Query Processing, and it appears in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. According to the journal web site, free access is available to the HTML and PDF versions of Ben's article. Abstract:

Topical search queries in SciFinder Scholar are processed through an extensive set of natural language processing algorithms that greatly enhance the relevance and comprehensiveness of the search results. Little detailed documentation on these algorithms has been published. However, a careful examination of the highlighted hit terms coupled with a comparison of results from small variations in query language reveal much additional, useful information about these algorithms. An understanding of how these algorithms work can lead to better search results and explain many unexpected results, including differing hit counts for singular versus plural query words and phrases.

Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, Winter 2006

The Winter 2006 issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship is now available. The theme portion of the issue features three articles on Outreach and Marketing.

March 13, 2006

Knowledgespeak Updates

.: One of the consequences of working two jobs at the same time is that my inbox is growing faster than I can hit the delete button. Here are a few recent items from the Knowledgespeak news archive, which I have been meaning to post for some time:

  • BioMed Central unveils new online open access journal - "Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, has announced the launch of Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a new peer review system. Led by Editors-in-Chief David J Lipman, Director of the National Center Biotechnology Information (NCBI); Eugene V Koonin, Senior Investigator at NCBI; and Laura Landweber, Associate Professor at Princeton University, the journal seeks to provide authors and readers with a unique system of peer review.

    The journal will cover original research articles, hypotheses and reviews, and is available online at www.biology-direct.com. The journal includes publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology and Evolutionary Biology, to be soon followed by an Immunology section..."

  • Inderscience launches nine new peer-reviewed journals - "Scientific publisher Inderscience Publishers, Switzerland, has announced the launch of nine new peer-reviewed journal titles. The quarterly journals are available in print and online at http://www.inderscience.com.

    The new titles are: International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management (IJPQM); International Journal of Electronic Finance (IJEF); International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management (IJISCM); International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies (IJKMS); International Journal of Metadata, Semantics and Ontologies (IJMSO); International Journal of Value Chain Management (IJVCM); International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control (IJMIC); International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology (IJNGEE); and International Journal of Agile Systems and Management (IJASM)..."

  • Google unveils Google Page Creator - "Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has announced the launch of Google Page Creator, a web-based application that allows individuals to design and publish web pages, irrespective of skill or knowledge level.

    The Google Page Creator runs on any operating system and allows users to arrange texts, images or other forms of web content. It enables users to upload web pages with a single click even without the knowledge of web programming languages, such as HTML or JavaScript.

    The application, available at pages.google.com, can be accessed only with a Gmail account. Users can use upto 100MB of space for their pages and uploaded files. The pages created can be crawled by Google within a few hours of publication.

    However, web pages created using the new application will not receive any preferential treatment in Google search results."

  • China unveils its most comprehensive material engineering series - "The science and technology publishing industry in China received a shot in the arm with the launch of a comprehensive material engineering series, ‘China Materials Engineering Canon.’ The series, for the first time includes several significant technique parameters to facilitate research in the materials engineering sector.

    The 70-million-character and 26-volume book series summarises the country’s research in material engineering during the last decade. It combines enhanced foreign material technologies to aid domestic product research and development, environmental protection and energy-saving."

    More information is available at the People's Daily Online from China.

  • AAAS denounces anti-evolution laws at K-12 teachers event - "The board of directors of the US-based American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has strongly condemned proposed legislation and policies that would challenge the teaching of evolution. The move will deprive students of the education they need to be productive citizens in a growing technological, global community, says the board.

    At least 14 anti-evolution laws are pending across the US, including the Missouri HB 1266. Some of these bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasising "flaws" in the theory, or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Other bills seek to encourage teachers and students to explore the concept of intelligent design or other non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. The AAAS maintains that there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of evolution.

    The AAAS statement was released to help commence ‘Evolution on the Front Line’, an event for K-12 teachers at the recently held 2006 AAAS Annual Meeting in St. Louis. The free event, open to teachers, scientists, policymakers, students and reporters, was organised by AAAS in association with over 30 leading educational and scientific organisations. During the event, K-12 teachers across the US were invited to use instant ‘clicker-survey’ devices to identify the top four challenges that they associate in teaching evolution.

    Click here to read the original press release."

  • ISI Web of Knowledge sees 62% increase in usage - "Scientific information solutions provider Thomson Scientific, US, part of Thomson Corporation, has reported a 62 percent leap in the usage of its ISI Web of Knowledge resource during 2005. More than 54 million user sessions were recorded during the period and there was a 27 percent increase in the average number of sessions per customer. Each session represents a researcher logging on to ISI Web of Knowledge to explore, analyse and manage multidisciplinary content from journals, patents, proceedings and the web.

    The company implemented a faster development cycle in 2005 to help it respond faster to customer feedback. Developments that helped drive the usage increase include improved analytical power via the Analyze tool that enables users to gain insights into hidden trends and patterns in their search results.

    Other developments include the addition of Zoological Record, the oldest continuing database of animal biology; links to the HighWire Press free archive, the world's largest repository of free full-text life science articles; the entire INSPEC archive, giving access to over 70 additional years of international scientific and technical literature in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, computing and control engineering; and a series of enhancements making it easier to search, sort and analyse research literature.

    Click here to read the original press release."

March 10, 2006

Remote Engineering Research Assistance - A Day In The Life

.: Yesterday I worked in ETLC 2-006. ETLC E2-006 is a computer lab in the Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex at the University of Alberta, where we (two engineering librarians) provide an engineering research assistance service four hours a week to engineering students. I had planned to be there from 1:13-3:00, but ended up staying until about 4:14. I had two questions, b2b, both lengthy and detailed.

The first student I helped was in Materials Engineering 365 (a design course), and was looking for kinetic data on GeO2, germanium dioxide. His design group is working on reduction of GeO2 to solid germanium, using H2, hydrogen. We did extensive searching through a number of databases, including Knovel, which had some related information. Eventually we searched SciFinder Scholar. We tried various combinations of search terms, including the using the CAS RNs. We then started screening the citations, and it became evident that the research in this area had been published decades ago, and primarily in Russia and Japan. Naturally, the few citations we found that seemed bang on were either in Russian or Japanese.

I had a feeling we might hold some of the older Russian journal titles, so we began to check them in the NEOS catalogue. Not only did we have all but one title, we had some of the translation journals as well. After I finished the second question, and went back to Cameron with the second student, who needed information from the Chemical Economics Handbook (CEH), the Mat E 365 student saw me, and told me that he found exactly what he needed in the translated versions of the Russian articles we found in SciFinder Scholar. Lesson learned: the old stuff in our collection is still very, very valuable - the translation journals to which we once subscribed provided the solution to this student's search question.

The second student was in Chem Eng 465 (another design course), and her group was working on a number of issues, including a solvent called selexol, the cost considerations when designing an ammonia plant, and gasification. She told me that her group's off-campus industry contact told her that there was information in an SRI report on ammonia, but that he couldn't tell her what it was. As we began to search the SRI web site, my brain kicked in and I realized that he was probably referring to the CEH, which I told her was in the Cameron SciTech Library.

We searched Knovel, and found the CAS RN and selexol, along with a list of its synonyms, in Sax's. In the Knovel search results was a book called Gasification. However, when we clicked on the book, we were asked for an ID and PW. It appeared that this title, and the next one, Surface Production Operations (2nd Edition) Volume 2 - Design of Gas-Handling Systems and Facilities, were new titles that were considered "Premium Content." I had my cell phone, so I decided to call our Knovel rep, who was available. He explained that Knovel just created a new subject area, Oil and Gas Engineering, and that some of the titles were in the Premium category. It was so new that Knovel had not yet turned on access for libraries whose subscriptions include access to Premium Content, which includes the U of A. Our Knovel rep initialized our access to these titles, and the student and I were able to view these titles, which contained valuable information for her group. (BTW, this is typical of our Knovel rep, who tends to respond quickly and thoroughly to any questions or concerns about the Knovel db; excellent service all around.)

As we continued to search for additional information using Compendex, she made a telling comment, and I paraphrase: "You know, it's not that we don't know how to search, it's just that we don't know where to look." She explained that she uses Compendex after I had demonstrated it in class, but beyond that is not sure what resources to use next. This is the dilemma we face - we deal with an incredible, large set of resources, and at best, can only skim the surface when we teach our 50-minute sessions on library and research skills instruction. This is why I always stress, repeatedly, that if the only thing the students take away from our classes is an awareness that there are important, relevant resources out there to help them with their research, then that's half the battle. They know they can approach us for help and guidance, which is why we are here.

I walked back to Cameron with her, and showed her CEH. The section on ammonia had a lot of information she could use, and she was very happy to have access to it.

A good day indeed.

Call for Nominations - SLA Engineering Librarian of the Year Award

.: The following appears on the Ei Engineering Information website:

The Engineering Division of the Special Libraries Association is calling for nominations for their Engineering Librarian of the Year Award. The annual award is sponsored by Elsevier and highlights the accomplishments and contributions of members to the engineering librarian profession. The 2006 award winner will be presented with a plaque and $1,500 stipend at the SLA Engineering Division annual business meeting held during the SLA annual conference.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to nominate themselves or an associate.

Nomination Deadline: March 30th

Criteria for entry are:

  1. Membership in good standing for one year in the SLA Engineering Division as of January 1 of the year in which the award is given.
  2. Distinguished achievement in the engineering library profession, through an exceptional contribution on the job, within the SLA Engineering Division, or within the industry at large. This accomplishment should have taken place within the calendar year immediately preceding the nomination.However, in selected cases, based solely on the Awards Committee’s judgment, recognition may be given for an ongoing, long-term contribution.
Instructions for submissions:
Provide full name, address, telephone numbers, e-mail address, and a maximum one-page statement of the nominee’s qualifications to:

Joan C. Dubis
The Boeing Company
Library Services
5301 Bolsa Avenue - M/S H012-A001
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Joan[dot]c[dot]dubis@boeing.com
714-372-0993 (p) - 714-896-1737 (f)

IEE Computing and Control Engineering - Problem in IEEE Xplore With Latest Issue

.: Dana Roth sent along information about a problem with the latest issue of the IEE title, Computing and Control Engineering, as indexed in IEEE Xplore. The latest issue is v16 n6, December 2005, and is available on the IEE Digital Library. However, on IEEE Xplore, v.15(6),2004-5 is the first listed issue and v.16(6),2005-6 is not posted, although it is on the IEE website. All previous v15 2005 issues are available on IEEE Xplore.

Dana received the folllowing message from IEEE: "We just received the files for the new issue of IEE Computing and Control Engineering from IEE. It generally take about 30 days from the time we receive the files until the issue is posted in Xplore, so it will appear some time in early April."

March 9, 2006

"Time-out Sucks" or, How To Turn a Customer Complaint Into A Positive and Productive Experience

.: My friend and colleague, Rafael Sidi, Product Manager of Engineering Village 2, illustrates how the receipt of an angry e-mail from a user of his product can be turned around into something productive and positive. Excerpt:

This was the subject of an email that I got from one Engineering Village user. And the student was absolutely right, if I were in his place I would have sent similar email.

Below you'll find some of the correspondence (with his permission) that I had with this Student. I think one of the beauty of this open conversation is at the end the customer who was initially upset with your poduct is telling you how to enhance the product. In graduate school, one of my professors used to emphasize that we should "trust the process"; my motto in product development and business has been "trust the customer, they will tell you what is right and wrong and help you to create a better product.

Another lesson for me: We all talk about "workflow" (and sometimes we abuse the term) and about integrating our products into the "workflow" of our customers. I wonder how many of us thought that lunch break was in the workflow of our customers.

Review: Scopus vs Web o' Science

.: George Porter reports the following on various discussion lists today:

Judy Burnham has published a review of Scopus and a comparison of it with Web of Science. Burnham is the Assistant Director for Administrative and Regional Services in the Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library, University of South Alabama.

Judy F. Burnham. Scopus database: a review. Biomedical Digital Libraries 2006, 3:1. <http://www.bio-diglib.com/content/3/1/1>
Abstract: The Scopus database provides access to STM journal articles and the references included in those articles, allowing the searcher to search both forward and backward in time. The database can be used for collection development as well as for research. This review provides information on the key points of the database and compares it to Web of Science. Neither database is inclusive, but complements each other. If a library can only afford one, choice must be based in institutional needs.

Biomedical Digital Libraries (ISSN: 1742-5581) is an independent, Open Access journal hosted by BioMed Central.

March 7, 2006

George Porter: Society Publishers & The Developing World

.: This week the Royal Society of Chemistry announced their decision to provide free access to 150+ years of primary chemical literature to 53 developing countries. The announcement caused me to ponder the potential conflict between the primary mission of scientific societies (advancement and promotion of science) and the limited access major society publishers have (or are perceived to have) provided without exacting an access toll.

RSC explicitly mentions PERI (Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information) as a facilitator for registering for access. Barbara Hicks, Associate Publisher, American Physical Society informs me APS has had a program of providing free institutional access to the complete set of APS journals (1893+) in sub-Saharan Africa for a decade. APS "... has partnered with INASP/PERI, the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications/Programme for the Enhancement of Research Information. INASP/PERI has a wonderful mechanism for promoting the program on our behalf and we have had a overwhelming response." APS currently provides free access to research institutions in 44 nations.

Note that the number of countries included in the INASP/PERI portion of the APS and RSC programs is less than the actual number of countries to which they offer free access. Still, the number of INASP/PERI countries to which these societies provide free access is a standardized measure which can be used to compare society publisher behavior.

ACS and RSS

.: The American Chemical Society now offers a wide range of RSS feeds, including a News From ACS feed, as noted on e3 Information Overload. The full range of RSS feeds from ACS are listed here.

Speaking of the ACS, I will be attending its 231st Meeting in Atlanta in less than three weeks. I will be giving a presentation on blogs as part of the Social Software and Chemical Information session on Sunday, March 26.

March 3, 2006

Open Access Authoring@Caltech: OA Advocacy Without Attitude

Open Access Authoring @ Caltech is a new venue with a new strategy for communicating observed Open Access behaviors by campus researchers to campus researchers.

Have you ever noticed that advocacy is a concept fraught with potential conflict? Advocacy routinely involves pushing for change, not merely hinting or suggesting. Pushing is a strategy which is most usefully employed by those with a strength or elevation advantage. Sisyphus is a classic(al) example of lacking the strategic elevation advantage.

Campus politics is an intensely local game and is, in all respects, intense. Libraries and librarians are rarely power players in this realm. Advocacy, as such, "you should do thus and so..." will need to have resonance, momentum, the height advantage, to have any real impact. A documentary blog, asserting observed items of fact, may help to create momentum.

Open Access Authoring @ Caltech documents Open Access activity by Caltech researchers (faculty, research staff, grad students) from 2004 to date. There are slightly over 100 entries so far, documenting Open Access to technical report series, books, chapters, and articles. Authoring is only part of the Open Access movement and process, though. Journals have to be started, edited, and refereed.

These individual decisions, and as noted there are many, have not been well known within the library or across the campus. This blog is an attempt to change that situation. As more and more researchers observe the depth and breadth of support for Open Access already demonstrated on campus, perhaps it will become a larger part of the decision making process of where they choose to publish. With time, momentum could/will build to the point where a discussion of OA support would not be advocacy, but rather finding common ground and common wording to proceed further. - George Porter

March 2, 2006

George Porter: RSC Provides Free Online Access to Developing Countries -- Whither ACS?

The Royal Society of Chemistry issued a press release about this new development. The free access is for developing countries, many of which are in Africa, although former Soviet states Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic are also included. The program applies to the RSC archives (1841-1996). However, as Hareg Tadesse notes, "... the RSC is only one publisher of Chemistry Journals. And some of my key papers were not from the RSC. Therefore, I would like to call on all publishers of Chemistry Journals to follow the lead of the RSC to support young Chemists like me with their archives so that we can bring the benefits of Chemistry to our great continent."

BBC News carried an item on this development. Two entries appeared in Open Access News, RSC gives free online access to African researchers and More on RSC Archives for Africa initiative.

Kudos to RSC for taking this commendable step. RSC will not lose much, if any, potential revenue, but will surely generate goodwill and good science, the latter of which is a core mission of the society. In fact, the core mission of scientific societies (RSC, ACS, AIP, APS, IoP, AGU, etc) is to promote the advancement of their science and its understanding by society at large. Society publishers can easily be understood arising from this core mission.

The advancement and promotion of science is in many cases being relegated to a secondary role to the revenue producing publishing operations. RSC has taken an important step, albeit a small one, in acknowledging a truth which has thus far been ignored by most of the large society publishers. The archives are the accumulated scientific heritage entrusted to the society by generations of chemists with the expectation that RSC would promote the advancement of chemistry and its understanding by society. From the RSC charter:

The RSC's original Charter was granted in 1848. The RSC's Royal Charter, granted in 1980, states that:

"The object for which the Society is constituted is the general advancement of chemical science and its application and for that purpose:

1. to foster and encourage the growth and application of such science by the dissemination of chemical knowledge;...

I cannot fathom how anyone can justify this heritage and trust being held hostage by a profit motive, by a desire to extract continuing revenue at the cost of advancing the science which is supposed to be the fundamental purpose of the organization. The societies need to recoup their digitization costs, most properly from the research intensive labs, institutions, and corporations which generate and consume the bulk of the articles each year, or through grants.

The challenge to ACS to live up their charter and begin to provide access to a portion of the world's chemical heritage which they control is apparent. Will ACS step up and provide archival online access to researchers in developing countries? Surely they will, if they but reflect upon their charter.

SEC. 2. That the objects of the incorporation shall be to encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner the advancement of chemistry in all its branches; the promotion of research in chemical science and industry; the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of chemists through high standards of professional ethics, education, and attainments; the increase and diffusion of chemical knowledge; and by its meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications, to promote scientific interests and inquiry, thereby fostering public welfare and education, aiding the development of our country’s industries, and adding to the material prosperity and happiness of our people.

March 1, 2006

More on RSS Feeds

.: Rich Hoeg of Honeywell in Minneapolis is the creator of eContent - Technical Knowledge Management Online Resources. He has a number of good posts about All Things RSS. A couple of interest are: