" /> SciTech Library Question: October 2007 Archives

« August 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

October 31, 2007

Web of Knowledge 4 (New Version) - "All Databases" Search Problem

The new version of WoK allows you to do an 'All Databases' search across all years. This is a nice expansion of the old CrossSearch (which was limited to 'topic' searching.

A user mentioned that an article authored by Caltech's 'EW Hughes' published in 1941 was missing from WoS.

I searched WOS (au=Hughes EW and py=1939-1945) and found 3 articles but not the 1941 article in question.

I then did an 'All Databases' search (WoS+INSPEC). This found the same 3 articles but again not the missing 1941 article.

I then searched INSPEC alone and, in addition to these 3 articles, there were two more, both from June 1941.

It seemed odd that the two additional articles in INSPEC were not retrieved in a 'All Databases' search that supposedly included INSPEC.

Thinking it might be a problem with the new WoK version (WoK4), I contacted the ISI helpdesk [ts.support.americas@thomson.com], and here is their (edited) reply:

1. The two additional articles in INSPEC are from a JACS issue that was left out of the Century of Science backfile.

2. The reason why these articles were not retrieved in an 'All Databases' search relates to a special author search set-up in Inspec to handle author names, which include periods between initials ... unlike WoS.

In Inspec, the system automatically bumps the initials together for searching. This [automatic bumping] does not transfer to 'All Databases' searches, so that 'All Databases' author searches will not retrieve INSPEC articles, if you search with 'bumped' author initials.

The moral of this tale is that you should search with both forms of an author's initials (e.g. Hughes EW or Hughes E.W.) in an 'All Databases' search, that includes INSPEC.

- Dana Roth

P.S. the missing 1941 article has been cited over 1000 times and was the subject of one of Gene Garfield's 'Citation Classics' ...

Actually all the articles from JACS Jan.-June 1941 are missing. My contact at ISI claims they are working on adding them but more complaints (hint,hint) might help get them moving faster.

October 23, 2007

Scitopia Update

.: For those not aware, Barbara Quint reports in the 22 Oct 2007 Information Today Newsbreaks on the launch of the full (not now) version of Scitopia. Excerpt:

Improvements made since June focused on increasing the precision and consistency of keyword and author searches, increasing the system’s speed in returning results, and tweaking the language and layout. In the language and layout category, changes were being made right to the last. A generally favorable review of Scitopia by Yale University science librarian, Joseph Murphy, dated Aug. 16 and published in the October issue of The Charleston Advisor (www.charlestonco.com), had some complaints that have already been corrected. Dana Roth, chemistry librarian at the California Institute of Technology, was kind enough to do some tire-kicking of the latest Scitopia. Noting Murphy’s concerns, he found, “ The Search button is now easy to find. They have changed the Limit To pull-down menu to a complete listing of the societies, which allows selecting as many or few publishers as you want to search.”

The primary improvement made as the system went through its beta phase involved establishing a standardized XML gateway for all partners that could handle search queries effectively by working through the search syntax problems when dealing with the different metadata structures and procedures at all the partner databases. Eric Pepper, SPIE director of publications, explained how the XML standard “adapts the query structure to the source structure before transmitting the request. The database recognizes the syntax of the query and can return it in the syntax the database expects.”

At the moment, I'm looking for Joe's article to which Barbara refers, but can't find it. (Working on that ...)

October 13, 2007

Cindi Trainor and the Changing Face of Libraries

.: Props to WebJunction, the "online community for library staff", for its current feature on colleague and friend Cindi Trainor from EKU Libraries. WJ's Member Spotlight feature this month is Cindi Trainor and the Changing Face of Libraries. I met Cindi in Minneapolis in 1999, and since then have been influenced by her astute and timely observations of what we do in librarianship, in areas such as the uses and applications of social software such as Flickr and Facebook (not to mention her undying love of U2). Usually I am not aware of her impact on me until after it happened - I'll be working on something, a project, article, blog post, whatever, and realize well after the fact that some aspect of it was based on something I read on Chronicles of Bean, or in an e-mail or IM from Cindi. Regardless, the WebJunction piece is a welcome tribute to an unheralded mover-and-shaker in our profession.

One point in the article that hit home with me was Cindi's assertion that it's time for technology to move from being the responsibility of a few to become a focus of everyone working in a library. She notes:

"It's critical to connect staff to the systems that their customers use," she says, "so that those who listen to user suggestions and experience user frustrations are empowered to improve these technological tools either directly or through collaboration with our vendors." Many library vendors have begun implementing technologies that enable user feedback and content portability; libraries must apply these same principles to their services in order to evolve.
Congratulations on this article, Cindi! :-)