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 5, 2003

20 Google Secrets

:: From Rita Vine's Sitelines: Tara Calishain, creator of ResearchBuzz, has written a short article called 20 Great Google Secrets. Many of these tips would be of use to us when helping our students search on the web. Like most searchers, most often I type in a word or phrase in quotations, and hope for the best. Some highlights from the article:

  • Using the expression intitle: at the beginning of a search restricts the search to the title of the web page.
  • I wasn't aware that Google could be used as a phonebook. Enter the person's name, city and state. If a result is found, it will appear at the top of the results page. Calishain advises that you can restrict searches to residential listings by prefacing your search with rphonebook:, and bphonebook: for business listings. What's weird is that there is no mention of these two search modifiers on the Google site where "Phonebook" is explained. How does Calishain know these commands exist? Problem for us in Canada: this feature only works for US listings.
  • Need a quick definition of a word or a phrase? Type define: followed by the word or phrase, and Google will search for the meaning of what you typed.
Another interesting feature: Google can restrict a search to a university site.

:: This is the homepage for the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Library. They offer resource guides in areas including engineering and science.

June 25, 2003

STM Lit Access, Corporate Blogging, Project Halo

:: Bonita Wilson's editorial in the latest issue of D-Lib Magazine, v9, n4, June 2003, discusses improving access to STM literature.

:: From the NYTimes: The Corporate Blog is Catching On. (via Karlin.)

:: From Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends, mention of Project Halo, a research effort by Vulcan Inc (founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 1986).

"Project Halo is a staged research effort by Vulcan Inc. towards the development of a Digital Aristotle, an application capable of producing user and domain-appropriate answers and justifications to novel (previously unseen) questions in an ever-growing number of domains.

The Digital Aristotle will differentiate itself from current search engine technology in a number of important ways. First, search engines require that a specific text containing the answer to a users query reside somewhere in the searched corpus. Next, the document containing the correct answer must reside fairly high among the ranked lists of documents it returns given the users specified keywords. And finally, the user needs to scan each document for the appropriate passage."

More information is available from this article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. What is of interest to scitech (and all) librarians is that the success of this project will have long-term implications for basic reference service. Digital Aristotle would provide a custom answer to each question, and "produce user and domain-appropriate justifications " each time, eliminating the production of ranked lists and the need for the user to scan them. Is this the next step in the evolution of virtual or chat reference?

June 23, 2003

We're Back

:: Greetings, everyone. Geoff and I have returned from SLA and post-SLA activities in NYC. Thank you for your patience.

:: Somewhat old news, but at the conference, SLA members voted to retain the name, "Special Libraries Association". SLA also appointed Janice Lachance as its new Executive Director.

:: Science has created a site dealing with SARS. Research papers are available as free content, not requiring a subscription to the online version of the journal.

:: The new NASA Technical Report Server has been available to the general public since April 2003. More information is available here.

:: The Internet Resource Catalogue of EEVL recently added its 10,000th record. EEVL is now available through Engineering Village 2.

:: Please see the Federal Communications Commission Release of Data on High-Speed Internet Access, which covers "summary statistics of its latest data on the deployment of high-speed connections to the Internet in the United States", during the period from July-December 2002.

:: Refereed papers from The Twelfth International World Wide Web Conference, 20-24 May 2003, Budapest, are now available.

:: For those of you working in libraries supporting civil engineering, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Civil Engineering Department has created a web site "devoted to providing resources that are intended to advance the use of the strut-and-tie method (STM) in education and design of structural concrete." This is a site that might be worth adding to your resource guide.

:: The Computer History Museum has created a timeline which explores the history of computing from 1945-1990. There is also a fascinating section on People and Pop Culture.

May 30, 2003

Mixed-Bag Special 03.05.30

:: Thank you to Teri Vogel (William Russell Pullen Library, Georgia State University) for bringing to Randy's attention the following: The Chronicle of Higher Education's Colloquy Live for Wednesday, June 4th, 1:00 pm EST, is about Academic Blogging: "Do Web logs, or "blogs," contribute to academic discourse? What should academics who want to blog know about the medium?" Join in for what promises to be an interesting discussion. The June 6 issue of TCOHE also features the article, "Scholars Who Blog: The soapbox of the digital age draws a crowd of academics", by David Glenn. Teri mentioned that she is doing a poster session at SLA (see Tue at 11:30 am) on the Pullen Library science newsblog, and that she is using The (sci-tech) Library Question as one of her examples of a librarian-to-librarian blog. Thank you, Teri!

:: The latest issue of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship in now available. Among the many interesting submissions:

ViFaTec Engineering Subject Gateway, reviewed by Thomas G. De Petro;
Hands-on Learning for Freshman Engineering Students, by Julie Arnold, Robert Kackley, and Stephen Fortune, University of Maryland;
Connecting Engineering Students with the Library: A Case Study in Active Learning, by Brian D. Quigley and Jean McKenzie, University of California, Berkeley;
Developing an Information Skills Curriculum for the Sciences, by Eleanor M. Smith, North Carolina State University

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