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January 27, 2007

Specialized Engineering Search Engines from Rich Hoeg

.: Rich Hoeg maintains an fascination and detailed blog called eContent. Rich wrote recently to advise that he has created some specialized engineering search engines using Google Co-op. Rich's search engines index

Among the screencasts Rich has created is the Google Co-op Screencast Tutorial, which provides guidance to those who wish to create their own search engine using Google Co-op.

January 26, 2007

British Library and US DoE to Collaborate on Global Science Gateway

.: From yesterday's Press Release, and as reported by Peter Suber, and elsewhere:

January 25 2007
THE BRITISH LIBRARY, LONDON -- Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Under Secretary for Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has signed an agreement with Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, to collaborate on the development of a global science gateway. The gateway would eventually make science information resources of many nations accessible via a single Internet portal.

Called ‘Science.world,’ the planned resource would be available for use by scientists in all nations and by anyone interested in science. The approach will capitalise on existing technology to search vast collections of science information distributed across the globe, enabling much-needed access to smaller, less well-known sources of highly valuable science. Following the model of Science.gov, the U.S. interagency science portal that relies on content published by each participating agency, ‘Science.world’ will rely on scientific resources published by each participating nation. Other countries have been invited to participate in this international effort.

Recognising the impact of international research efforts, Dr. Orbach stated, “It is time to make the science offerings of all nations searchable in one global gateway. Our goal is to speed up the sharing of knowledge on a global scale. As a result, we believe that science itself will speed up.”

Lynne Brindley said, “We are delighted to be embarking on what we expect to be a very fruitful collaboration with the DOE to develop the Science.world resource. The British Library has a long history of delivering online information resources through international partnerships – the most recent of which being the UK PubMed Central database, which has generated a huge amount of interest since it was launched on January 9.”

Increasingly science projects are international in scope, with researchers across the globe collaborating on projects as diverse as energy, linear colliders, genomes and the environment. At the same time, the US and UK have recognised the importance of providing their citizens with one-stop electronic access to increasing volumes of science information, with a growing sense of the need for reciprocity and sharing of science knowledge across national boundaries.

Objectives of the “Science.world” initiative are to:

  • Search dispersed, electronic collections in various science disciplines;
  • Provide direct, seamless and free searching of open-source collections and portals;
  • Build upon existing and already successful national models for searching;
  • Complement existing information collections and systems; and
  • Raise the visibility and usage of individual sources of quality science information.
The US Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) (www.osti.gov) will work with the British Library (www.bl.uk) and international counterparts to develop a prototype of “Science.world” in 2007.

For further information please contact: Ben Sanderson at the British Library Press Office (telephone 01937 546126, email: ben.sanderson@bl.uk) or Lawrence Christensen (telephone 020 7412 7114, email: lawrence.christensen@bl.uk)

Brave New Web: Welcome To The Publishing Revolution

.: Physics World (2007), 20(1), January is a special issue: Brave New Web: Welcome To The Publishing Revolution

Although the Web has made accessing papers much easier and faster – trips to the library are largely a thing of the past – the science-publishing model remains essentially unchanged. The Web is, however, forcing commercial scientific publishers to think hard about how they operate, as reported in this special issue.

"The open-access debate", still considers scientific publishing in terms of conventional papers. A bigger unknown surrounds the increasing use of the Web as a social network, or what is loosely known as "Web 2.0", through novel publishing tools like "wikis", "mash-ups" and "social tagging". These facilities allow any information – including scientific information – to be shared, commented upon and adapted online, which could lead to new ideas and forms of thinking, particularly in interdisciplinary research.

The vast majority (84%) of physicists have no idea what social tagging is, and only 14% have ever contributed to a work-related wiki. That lack of awareness is broadly mirrored by Physics World's own informal survey (see "Talking physics in the social Web").

No doubt many physicists will look down their noses at the "social Web" as a gimmick ... but as today’s young physicists grow up, working in an open and collaborative fashion on the Web will, for them, soon be second nature. (Edited extraction from the editorial, Brave New World)

Issue Contents:

Editorial: Brave new Web (**free)
Welcome to the publishing revolution.

Critical Point: The lost art of the letter (**free) by Robert P. Crease SUNY and historian BNL)
The historical importance of personal correspondence and attempts to archive important digital documents.

Forum: Blogging for physics (**free) by Sean Carroll (Particle Theory Group Caltech)
Why I like to blog .. By the 'author' of Cosmic Variance .

Feature: A revolution in bits by Matthew Chalmers (Features Editor Physics World)
Why the Web is changing physics publishing.

Feature: The open-access debate (**free) by Rüdiger Voss (CERN) and John Enderby (IOP Past President)
The pros and cons of free-to-read papers. Voss extols the virtues of open access, Enderby advocates caution.

Feature: Talking physics in the social Web (**free) by Martin Griffiths (Reviews and Careers Editor Physics World)
From "blogs" to "wikis", the Web is now more than a mere repository of information. Martin Griffiths investigates how this new interactivity is affecting the way physicists communicate and access information.

Feature: Peer review steps out of the shadows by Edwin Cartlidge (News Editor Physics World)
How the Web can open up peer review - "open peer review" has yet to catch on in the physics community.

Feature: The rise and rise of citation analysis by Lokman I Meho (SLIS, Indiana University)
Using the Web to quantify scientific output - the Web is allowing physicists and information providers to measure more accurately the impact of both papers and their authors.

January 24, 2007

TechXtra Expands Its Cross-Search Coverage

.: From the press release:

Expanded coverage for free technology search service - TechXtra

TechXtra, the free service for finding material in engineering, mathematics and computing, has added a bundle of new sources to its cross-search. Now, it's possible to search across 31 major collections (over 4 million items) for articles, eprints, technical reports, books, theses & dissertations, teaching & learning resources, the latest industry news and job announcements, and more!

In addition, TechXtra has partnered with GlobalSpec to bring you a free Patents and Standards search facility.

We've also increased the coverage of our OneStep Industry News and Job Announcement services by adding numerous new sources.

And that's not all! There are new, free, trade magazine subscriptions available, and we've also made some enhancements to the service which make it easier to use.

The new collections now covered by TechXtra's cross-search are:

  • Emerald - a well established publisher of academic and professional literature. TechXtra indexes a subset of Emerald Journals relevant to Engineering & Materials Science. Around 6,000 articles are indexed from approximately 15 Journals. Full text content is available to Emerald subscribers, or by pay-per-view.

  • JORUM - a searchable repository of learning and teaching resources for academic and support staff in the UK. TechXtra indexes around 1,500 JORUM objects. An Athens username and password are required to access the actual resources.

  • Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Virtual Library. TechXtra indexes a sample subset file from the ICE Virtual Library of papers produced between 1836-1998. Over 5,500 papers are indexed (including the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers). Full text content is available by subscription, or by pay-per-view.
These collections join arXiv, CISTI, CiteSeer, DOAJ, Inderscience, IoP, NASA Technical Reports, and many more in the TechXtra cross-search. For a full list of the collections covered by TechXtra, see: http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/index.html?action=collectiondetails. TechXtra aggregates, so that you don't have to!

In addition, TechXtra now offers a free Patents & Standards search: http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/patents/index.html provided in association with GlobalSpec.

Many new feeds have been added to TechXtra's OneStep News service http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/onestepnews/ giving this even wider coverage of breaking industry news. Over 5,000 of the latest industry news items are currently listed.
The new feeds include:

  • Platts - Nuclear, Metals, and Electric Power news.
  • Building Design & Construction News
  • IEEE Spectrum
  • Brightsurf Science News
  • PhysOrg News
  • SPIE NewsRoom
  • Control Design News
  • Wireless Net News

OneStep Jobs, http://www.techxtra.ac.uk/onestepjobs/ which gives access to the very latest new job announcements, has also increased its coverage. Over 7,000 new jobs are currently listed. New sources include:

  • 1Job
  • Resource Personnel - Oil and Gas Jobs
  • CV - Library
  • iMechanica Jobs
Various free trade magazine subscriptions are available via TechXtra's Magazine Subscription section http://techxtra.tradepub.com/ Titles are available to professionals who qualify. Subjects include:Various enhancements are being made to the TechXtra service interface, making it easier to use.

TechXtra's subject focus makes it an ideal finding tool for technology and technology-related materials.

In the majority of cases, the full text of items found through TechXtra is freely available. This includes the 8,000 Australian theses, nearly half a million articles in computer and information science from CiteSeer, items found via ARROW (Australian Research Repositories Online to the World), thousands of eprints from arXiv in mathematics and computer science, 300 earthquake engineering technical reports from Caltech Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory Technical Reports, many articles from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), theses and dissertations from NDLTD, learning resources from the National Engineering Education Delivery System (NEEDS), and more.

TechXtra is a freely available service, developed at Heriot Watt University in the UK. We receive no external funding for its development, so we rely on word of mouth to spread the word. Why not tell your colleagues about TechXtra, or blog about the service, or place a link to it from your websites.

For more information about TechXtra, contact:
Roddy MacLeod
Senior Subject Librarian
Heriot-Watt University Library
0131 451 3576

January 18, 2007

IEEE Signs Archiving Agreement With Portico

.: From an recent e-mail:

Dear Colleagues,

IEEE signs archiving agreement with Portico

Portico is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement with IEEE to preserve the organization’s periodicals and conference proceedings. The IEEE is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology. The international association produces nearly one-third of the world's literature in the fields of electrical and electronics engineering and computer science, as well as develops more than 900 active industry standards. IEEE serves engineers, scientists and other professionals in 160 countries and has more than 365,000 members worldwide.

Through this agreement with Portico, IEEE has committed 137 periodicals ( journals, transactions, magazines, newsletters ) and 163 conference proceedings for long term preservation, thus ensuring its publications will be available to future generations of scholars, practitioners, researchers and students.

In addition to supplying content, IEEE has agreed to make an annual financial contribution to Portico.

With the inclusion of IEEE publications, over 6,000 titles have now been entrusted to the Portico archive. The complete list of journal titles is available at http://www.portico.org/about/committed_titles_alpha.html and a list of participating publishers is available at http://www.portico.org/about/part_publishers.html.

Please visit the Portico website to view a current list of participating libraries http://www.portico.org/about/participating_libraries.html.

If you would like more information about Portico, or would like to discuss your institution’s participation in Portico, please do not hesitate to contact us at participation@portico.org.

Best regards,


Kenneth DiFiore, MLS
Associate Director of Library Relations, Portico
tel: 212 358-6415
fax: 212 358-6499
email: ken.difiore@portico.org
web: www.portico.org

January 15, 2007

More on Search Engines

.: A couple more interesting articles on search engines, via the Online Education db and Degree Tutor:

  • Librarian's Ultimate Guide to Search Engines - "Librarians were the ultimate search guides before search was re-invented with the web. They are trusted, credible sources for historical information, and pioneers and innovators of taxonomy of information. Librarians witness, search for, find, organize and catalog knowledge.Online research and the power of the web, have made accessing information only fingertips away from all of us, but the taxonomies and standards used for search will impact how people learn online and off for years to come. Below are some of the things librarians understand about search - and things that anyone doing online research can benefit from."
  • The Ultimate Guide to the Invisible Web - "When you use a search engine on the Internet and can't find what you're looking for, what do you do? Maybe you're seeking to learn something, which means you're probably going to keep trying until you find it. Or give up in frustration. Don't give up that easily. There's information out there that is actually not indexed in the big search engines. Such Web pages are part of what's called the Dark, Deep, Hidden or Invisible Web. Those pages that are actually indexed are known by some as the surface Web. Fortunately, the invisible Web is getting easier to search, with tools beyond the standard big three search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

    In the early days of the Web, computing power and storage space was at such a premium that the few search engines that were around often indexed only a tiny fraction of Web pages and not even full pages at that. But eventually space became relatively cheap and engines started indexing pages in full (full text), as well as more pages. Still, engines miss a lot of pages. Here's a guide to those "invisible" pages."

Using the Engineering Literature, Bonnie Osif, ed - A Review

.: Happy New Year everyone! I am pleased to report on a very positive review for the book, Using the Engineering Literature, edited with love and care by the amazing Bonnie Osif at Penn State. (Having a chapter in the book myself has nothing to do with my enthusiasm!) :-)

The review by Roddy MacLeod appears in the Internet Resources Newsletter, n146, December 2006. Roddy writes:

As Bonnie Osif, the editor of this impressive work, points out, quality information retrieval skills are often lacking in the engineering profession. The publication of Using the engineering literature will hopefully go some way to rectifying this situation, and will help those within, and without, the profession to discover and exploit the many information tools that exist – some of which are at present unfortunately underused.

This book is targeted at practicing engineers, engineering librarians and library school students. It consists of twenty chapters, written mostly, but not exclusively, by engineering librarians in North America, and amounts to 614 pages, including an excellent 65-page index. Each chapter covers a sub-discipline within engineering, apart from the first two (which provide an Introduction by the editor, and a chapter covering general engineering resources). The remaining chapters consist of an introduction to the sub-disciplines in question (Aeronautical and aerospace engineering, Agricultural and food engineering, Architectural engineering, Bioengineering, etc) and a full analysis of the most important information resources by format.

The basics are covered very well. There are hints on searching library catalogues (relevant Library of Congress subject headings are suggested). The main abstracting and indexing services are listed and described, as are subject specific databases, bibliographies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopaedias, handbooks, textbooks, journals, websites, search engines and portals, conference proceedings, reports, gray literature, professional associations, data compilations, standards and yearbooks.

A lot of work has gone into compiling this book, and the resulty is an extremely useful reference work which should be purchased by all libraries serving engineers of any kind.

© 2006 Heriot-Watt University

My thanks to Roddy on behalf of Bonnie, my chapter co-authors and myself for this very positive review. Roddy writes, "A lot of work has gone into compiling this book", and having experienced this first hand, I can tell you he knows of which he writes. I put more work into my chapter (on petroleum engineering and refining) than on anything else I have ever written. It was well worth the effort, however, to be able to give something back to the world of engineering libraries.

The book is also mentioned briefly in ASCE News, v31 n9 September 2006. The review suggests that "It is hoped that this publication will guide all ASCE members, whether students or practicing engineers, to resources that will enhance their work and studies."