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April 27, 2006

New Hosted Patents Search Offering Introduced on Engineering Village 2™

.: Ei, Engineering Information, has launched its Ei Patents service on the Engineering Village 2 plaftorm. From the 24 April 2006 press release:

New York, N.Y. 24 April 2006 – Engineering Information (Ei) announces the introduction of Ei Patents to the Engineering Village 2 research and discovery platform. Ei Patents provides engineering researchers and scientists with an unmatched level of technical intelligence by utilizing powerful search functions and analytical tools alongside patents and databases of scientific literature. Ei Patents consists of patent applications and grants from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and European Patent Office (EPO).

Ei Patents addresses the need of scientists and engineering researchers to derive scientific and technical knowledge from patent literature. "Patents are a unique content source for technology and competitive intelligence as they often contain scientific information not published elsewhere" said Rafael Sidi, Vice President of Product Development, Engineering Information. "In the hands of engineers and researchers, products providing more meaningful access to patent information can accelerate problem solving, new product development and innovation."

Each patent record is a bibliographic reference containing a patent abstract, classification codes, patent citations and standard identifying metadata. Highly structured data enables powerful searching of patent content. Cited references link between a patent record and the other patents it cites. Cited reference searching allows users to search for any patents which cite a specific patent.

Ei Patents is unique in the way that it provides analytics and visualization of patent content at the search results page. Search results are clustered with record counts summarizing the most frequently occurring values among key data fields. These clustered fields or facets include inventor, assignee, classification codes, assignee country and year. The visualization of the patent content using faceted search allows researchers to gain insights and intelligence from the result display. Researchers can use this analytical tool to instantly learn of the most prolific inventor or organization patenting on a technology, discover new technology opportunities, and easily track their competitors.

Ei Patents allows researchers to analyze results from US and European patent databases along with results from scientific literature databases including Compendex® and Inspec®. Researchers benefit through being able to view patent references on a topic along with related publication from scholarly journals, conference papers, trade magazines and other sources. By viewing this information together, a researcher can review the work of an author/inventor across the outputs of their work.

"Simply being able to search through patents information on the free-web is not enough" explains Sidi. "Tools which help researchers to make sense of results, guide them toward more meaningful information and provide intelligence about a topic are really what engineering researchers require."

April 24, 2006

D-Lib Articles of Interest

.: The latest D-Lib Magazine is out, v12 n4 April 2006. A couple of articles caught my eye.

Coming Together around Library 2.0:A Focus for Discussion and a Call to Arms
, is an opinion piece written by Dr Paul Miller, Technology Evangelist at Talis in the UK. Abstract (with links to references removed):

'Library 2.0' is a term that provides focus to a number of ongoing conversations around the changing ways that libraries should make themselves and their services visible to end users and to one another. Through white papers, articles, blog posts, podcasts, presentations and more, at Talis we are taking part in this increasingly global conversation. Library 2.0 is more, though, than just a stimulus to conversation. The phrase captures notions of disruptive change, and promises to challenge both the ways in which we consider our library services and the forms in which they are offered to potential beneficiaries.
Libraries and the Long Tail: Some Thoughts about Libraries in a Network Age, is from Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, Research, and Chief Strategist of OCLC, and creator of Lorcan Dempsey's Weblog. The opening paragraph reads:

Discussions of the long tail that I have seen or heard in the library community strike me as somewhat partial. Much of that discussion is about how libraries contain deep and rich collections, and about how their system-wide aggregation represents a very long tail of scholarly and cultural materials (a system may be at the level of a consortium, or a state, or a country). However, I am not sure that we have absorbed the real relevance of the long tail argument, which is about how well supply and demand are matched in a network environment. It is not enough for materials to be present within the system: they have to be readily accessible ('every reader his or her book', in Ranganathan's terms), potentially interested readers have to be aware of them ('every book its reader'), and the system for matching supply and demand has to be efficient ('save the time of the user')

April 21, 2006

IEE and IEE Merge to Form IET - The Institution of Engineering and Technology

.: On 31 March 2006, the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) merged to form a new professional institution for all European engineers, known as IET, the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Information from the press release:

Europe’s largest professional society for engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology has been launched today in London.

The new Institution has been formed by the Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers and will have more than 150,000 members worldwide.

On the IET website, the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library has been changed to the IEEE/IET Digital Library. According to John Platt of IEEE, in an posting on PAMNET-L:
No changes to access through IEEE Xplore are expected. A few IEE journals or conferences will likely change their names following the merger, but that should be it.

April 20, 2006

Biointerphases - New Open Access Journal

.: Biointerphases has published its first issue, March 2006. Biointerphases is published by AVS, formerly the American Vacuum Society, and hosted by the American Institute of Physics.

Topics Include… •Interface spectroscopy •In vivo mechanisms •In vitro mechanisms •Interface modeling •Adhesion phenomena •Protein-surface interactions •Biomembranes on a chip •Cell-surface interactions •Biosensors / biodiagnostics •Bio-surface modification •The nano-bio interface •Biotribology / Biorheology •Molecular recognition •Cell patterning for function •Polyelectrolyte surfaces •Ambient diagnostic methods

From the introductory editorial:

So why did we start Biointerphases, which is placed amongst several competitors trying to publish the best science in the emerging field of "biological" surface science? If there would not be some very special and unique features to our new journal, we would not have taken over the responsibility to make this a successful and rewarding enterprise.

First, let us remark on the title, with includes the word "phase" in italics: Except for the solid/ vacuum interface at low temperatures, there probably is no other two-dimensional interface. In particular in solutions there will always be a gradient between the solid substrate and the bulk solution, and the same is true for solid/solid and inorganic/organic, and organic/organic interfaces; they all have a higher dimension, and a gradient which drives interfacial processes. Hence, the use of "interphase" rather than "interface" is to emphasise the higher dimensionality of the systems we discuss here.

The idea to launch a journal on biointerphase science has been around for a long time in the community. As is plainly evident, those active in the field spread their publications over several chemistry, physics and chemical, physical journals. There is no unique forum for the community to discuss issues of common interest, to announce meetings and other events, or to provide a job forum for post docs and young scientists. And finally, since biointerphase science involves scientists from all continents and many scientific fields, a common and freely accessible platform is needed to communicate our results and facilitate new collaborations.

These are good and honorable reasons to launch a new journal, but how will it be able to survive financially while providing unrestricted and free access to its content? First, we believe that those who are part of the community will support the journal by submitting their best work, and paying the very competitive and modest publication charges. Second, we will offer an interesting and diverse content including: regular articles; critical reviews; editorial commentary and perspectives, reports on ongoing research programs; opinionated essays and letters to the editor. This will hopefully not only make Biointerphases an attractive journal to read, but also has the potential to attract commercial and philanthropic sponsors. Third, we will strive for a very short turn around time (45 days) from submission to appearance on the web for articles requiring minimal editing or changes. But, of course, ultimately, the journals success will hinge on the acceptance and support by the biointerphase community.

Without the continuing support and financial engagement of the AVS this new journal would not have been what it is and what it will be. Without the willingness of all our colleagues and friends who serve on the Advisory Board and as co-editors, the Journal would not have started. We thank them all for their generous support providing ideas, concepts, and much of their precious time. Last, but by no means least, our thanks goes to Nancy Schultheis at the editorial office, whose untiring efforts drove the publication of this first issue of Biointerphases.

April 13, 2006

Microsoft Launches Windows Academic Live Search

.: Information Today reports that Microsoft has released its beta version of Windows Academic Live Search, in seven countries. Will it become known as WALS? Intital subject areas targeted are electrical engineering, computer science, and physics. Excerpt from the Microsoft press release:

REDMOND, Wash. — April 11, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the beta release of its Windows Live™ Academic Search service in seven countries. The new search service is designed to help students, researchers and university faculty conduct research across a spectrum of academic journals. The program is a cooperative effort between Windows Live Search, industry association CrossRef and more than 10 leading publishers. The initial beta release will target the subjects of computer science, electrical engineering and physics, and the company is working with multiple organizations to bring new subjects online in the near future. Windows Live Academic Search will offer peer-reviewed content from leading scholarly societies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and leading publishers Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons Inc. Windows Live Academic Search can be found at http://academic.live.com and will provide English-language results in select global markets.
So, we have one more open web source for our researchers to use in lieu of the databases to which we subscribe on their behalf. Has anyone tried using WALS outside of an IP-authenticated environment? The line that begins, "Windows Live Academic Search will offer peer-reviewed content from leading scholarly societies such as the..." is a bit misleading in that users will have access to said peer-reviewed content only if they are in an IP-autheniticated environment and their insitution subscribes to the citation they want to read. I haven't had time to check all the features, so if anyone has time, please send feedback.

April 12, 2006

Chemical & Engineering News Blogs ACS Meeting

"C&EN reporters attending the ACS national meeting in Atlanta last week ... filed a series of lively blog entries that appear exclusively on C&EN Online. " C&EN April 3, 2006 [Editor's Page] p.5
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/index.html [subscription required]

Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide

"Organic Chemistry Resources Worldwide is a website designed for organic chemists. It collects and annotates all useful organic chemistry sites and presents them in an intuitive way. This low-graphics, quick-loading guide has no access restriction, is available for a worldwide audience, and requires no registration or user fee." C&EN April 3, 2006 [Digital Briefs] p.42



"3D-Seek is a new kind of search engine that lets users find items in an online catalog without knowing the items' names, part numbers, or keywords. All the user needs is a freehand sketch. The 3D-Seek catalog currently contains more than 6,000 parts and continues to grow as suppliers manually upload their files or as the system's i-crawler Web spider discovers parts online." C&EN April 3, 2006 [Digital Briefs] p.42

(Randy: Of note is that it doesn't appear to work in Firefox, including in Safe Mode. I received a response from someone at Imaginestics, who advised that "We haven't tested our portal in Firefox yet. In case the i-Canvas ActiveX installation was not successful, you can download the ActiveX setup file directly from, http://www.3d-seek.com/3DSeek/i-Canvas_setup.exe.")

HigherEd BlogCon: Library & Information Resources Track Available

.: As posted by Jay Bhatt on a number of discussion lists, the presentations from the Library and Information Resources track, from HigherEd BlogCon, will be posted this week. RSS feeds are available for this track, and all other tracks.

Here is what is available so far:

I will link to the other presentations when they are available.

April 11, 2006

SPIE Newsroom

.: I'm behind in reporting this, but SPIE has launched a new industry and technical news source called SPIE Newsroom. SPIE offers e-mail alerts, but on a monthly basis only. I like the "newsroom" idea, it makes good sense. But a monthly update seems odd; at the very least, I think weekly updates, if not the option for daily, should be made available to the subscriber. RSS feeds are available, which is good, but are not immediately visible on the page. One needs to click on the e-mail icon, and scroll to the bottom of the page listing the subjects to which one can subscribe via e-mail, to get to this line:

If you would prefer more frequent updates, RSS feeds are available from each Technical Community page and from the SPIE Newsroom homepage
RSS feeds allow for instantaneous updates, which is the preferred method of current awareness for more and more people every day. So, a great new service from SPIE, but the options to subscribe need to be made more visible on the main page.

April 10, 2006

InfoToday: European Commission Releases Key Scientific Publishing Report

.: Information Today reported today that the European Commission has released its report on scientific publishing. Opening paragraphs from the article by Robin Peek:

April 10, 2006 — The European Commission has finally released its report on scientific publishing and now has firmly placed itself in the international discussion of where such publishing should go in the future. In June 2004, the European Commission began a study to examine the economic and technical evolution of scientific publishing in Europe. Originally the results were going to be made available in 2005, but the final report was released in January 2006. It was only made available to the public on March 31, 2006. The study was carried out by a consortium led by Mathias Dewatripont of the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

The study, undertaken by the directorate-general for research, sought to determine the conditions for “optimum” operation of the scientific sector and to assess how the Commission could help meet those conditions. European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “It is in all our interests to find a model for scientific publication that serves research excellence. We are ready to work with readers, authors, publishers, and funding bodies to develop such a model.”

It was not the intent of this study to replicate the “voluminous existing literature” but to focus upon the “state of the art.” In the balance, this report does a good job of not hammering us over the head with things that are already well-known and well-reported. However, this is not a frothy report, and the analysis in this 100-page document is from an economic perspective. This report even tackled the thorny issue of long-term preservation, which is largely absent from many other discussions.

The report acknowledged that much of the scientific research conducted in Europe is publicly funded and hence recommended that access to such research should be guaranteed.

The report is titled Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe.”

April 6, 2006

RLG News and ArchiveGrid

.: The current issue of RLG News, Issue 63 Spring 2006, and includes information about ArchiveGrid:

Thousands of libraries, museums, and archives have contributed nearly a million collection descriptions to ArchiveGrid. Researchers searching ArchiveGrid can learn about the many items in each of these collections, contact archives to arrange a visit to examine materials, and order copies.

ArchiveGrid is available to both individuals and institutions free of charge through May 31st. If additional grants funds or sponsorship are obtained, ArchiveGrid will remain free of charge; otherwise subscriptions will be available for institutions and individuals alike.

The contributor list crosses many subject disciplines. I'm not sure what the subscription price will be, I could not find any details on the RLG Price List.

April 4, 2006

National Library Workers Day

.: This is National Library Workers Day in the USA, and we celebrate as well in Canada, alongside our American friends and colleagues.

April 3, 2006

The Fully Electronic Academic Library® - Oh Really?

.: Has anyone read the v67 n1 January 2006 issue of College & Research Libraries? The lead article is titled The Fully Electronic Academic Library®, by Norman D Stevens, Director of the infamous Molesworth Institute. The abstract reads:

This description of the planning for the first academic library to contain only electronic resources, and no books and no paper of any kind, is derived from the limitless possibilities of our imagination. The concept of such a library and the dramatic changes it will bring in collections, budgets, staffing, services, and buildings are outlined in detail. Finally a few questions are raised as to whether such a library will best serve the information needs of academic institutions in the twenty-first century.
Stevens describes how the Molesworth Institute was commissioned in December 2000 to develop a plan for the new library of the Ezra Beesley University (EBU), which will accept its first students in 2007. By emphasizing cost-effective applications of IT, EBU's students will not use textbooks. To avoid major start-up costs, EBU will construct its own wind farm to generate power to run the campus.

Following a meeting of trhe Fellows of Molesworth Institute in April 2004, it was decided that EBU's Edmund Lester Pearson Library (ELP) would be an electronic library only - no books or paper products of any kind would be available. Stevens notes:

The ELP Library will contain no printed books or other printed material of any kind. Those constraints will apply to book substitutes (for example, microforms) and other specialized formats that require specialized mechanical equipment (for example, films, sound recordings and videos). No one, including staff, will be allowed to bring any of those materials into the library. That rule will be strictly enforced, and contraband will be seized at the entrances and destroyed on the spot. All information resources will be available only in digital formats and accessible only electronically. Paper will not be allowed within the library. The library will have no photocopy machines, no computer printers, no provision for the receipt of mail (the library will not have a mailing address), and no wastebaskets or recycling bins. Neither staff nor users will be allowed to bring notebooks or any other form of paper into the library. Only personal data assistants, computers, and other paper-free devices may be used to bring information into the building. This will require users to and staff to use their imagination rather than simply to print out copies of information to take home that they might never look at again. There will be hot air dryers, not paper towels, in the unisex rest rooms, which will feature the paperless Washlet toilets developed by TOTO that have a heated seat, a streamlined wand that provides a warm, aerated flow of water, and a warm air dryer.
Other important points to note:
  • So that the ELP Library can operate on a 24/7/365 cycle, it will only ever close on February 29th.
  • minimum starting salary will be $100,000
  • the arcade which connects the library to a classroom building will feature a changing moving light and sound show similar to one in Las Vegas
  • seating options will include "...club and lounge chairs, soft foam cubes and beanbags, bar stools and high tables, and hammocks."
This is hilarious stuff, the kind Stevens has been writing for decades. What's really weird is that there is no editorial in this issue, which might have explained why the article was published. It's hilarious, and I wonder how many readers might have taken it seriously.