September 28, 2006

George Porter and Caltech Libraries: Growth of the CODA Repositories

.: George Porter, Technical Reference Librarian at Caltech's Sherman Fairchild Library and sometimes-contributor to this blog, is featured in a recent article in News and Updates from Caltech Library Services. Specifically, his work on the Caltech Collection of Online Digital Archives (CODA). Excerpt:

The Caltech Collection of Online Digital Archives (CODA) has been receiving a lot of publicity in the Open Access Authoring @ Caltech blog site ( This is partly due to the increase of faculty and student awareness and interest in the on-line availability of research material.

When asked to give a brief description of CODA, George Porter, a Technical Reference Librarian in the Sherman Fairchild Library for the last 9 years, first responded that CODA is a number of things. It is primarily a digital collection of all Caltech authored technical reports, books, conference papers, and oral histories from the Caltech archives, as well as a repository for Caltech dissertations and electronic theses (ETD’s). The repository was launched in 2000, and as of 9/5/06 we have 2,884 dissertations on file. It has been mandatory, since 2003, for all graduate students to submit their theses electronically.

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

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.

November 10, 2005

Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch - Investigating Resource Discovery Issues in Engineering Digital Repositories

.: Roddy MacLeod sent an e-mail, advising about the following:

Two PerX (Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch) Project deliverables are available, and may be of interest:
  1. Listing of Engineering Repository Sources
  2. Engineering Digital Repositories Landscape Analysis, and Implications for PerX
The Listing builds on such sources as Sarah Kirby's listing of searchable abstracts in scitech. The purpose of the listing is not to provide a comprehensive list of all worldwide repositories, but is rather an attempt to identify the most significant repositories of relevance to engineering and to provide examples of repositories via type and coverage. Its quite long!

The Analysis reviews the landscape in the area of digital repositories within the subject area of engineering, as identified in the Listing. The document provides a synopsis of the current state of digital repository and metadata repository provision (including obvious gap areas) within engineering related disciplines. It proceeds to discuss various issues concerning repository provision and how they might relate to the provision of an Engineering Repository cross search service.

Regarding the Listing, we're not particularly interested in anything that's been missed unless it is an important source which is interoperable.

We're interested in comments on both documents, but particularly the Analysis. Do other SciTech LIS people agree with our analysis? Do you have anything to add? Comments are welcome, to me, please.

There’s also an RSS feed:
News about the PerX project and the Engineering Repository Cross Search Demonstrator.

Roddy MacLeod MA, DipLib, MCILIP
Senior Subject Librarian
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Tel (0131) 451 3576 Fax: (0131) 451 3164
R.A.MacLeod AT

October 31, 2005

Images Repository Library for the Sciences?

.: David Stern from Yale posted the following to a number of listservs last week:

The ARTstor board is thinking about whether there's a need in the sciences for a resource like ARTstor - that is, a centralized licensed digital library of relevant images, along with tools that lend themselves to pedagogical and scholarly uses.

They are considering bringing together a few folks - science librarians with fairly wide portfolios, slide curators for science programs if such exist, and perhaps a professor or two engaged with digital media. My initial resonse was: I am sure this makes sense for certain disciplines. My immediate focus would be on astronomy, topology (mathematics of surfaces), condensed matter physics (properties of surfaces), and remote sensing satellite images.

I have been asked by my friends at ARTstor if I might suggest a few names. Your suggestions, and comments, would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, feedback, etc., please contact David at david.e.stern AT For more responses to David's e-mail, search the PAMNET archives, using the phrase, "images repository".

September 1, 2005

PerX (Pilot Enginering Repository Xsearch) - Roddy MacLeod

.: Roddy MacLeod, Senior Faculty Librarian, Heriot-Watt University Library, Edinburgh, offers the following details about the new digital repository program, PerX:

PerX (Pilot Enginering Repository Xsearch)

PerX is a new project, funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) via the Digital Repositories Programme (DRP). In a nutshell, PerX will develop a pilot service to provide subject resource discovery across a series of repositories of interest to the engineering learning and research communities. This pilot will be used as a test-bed to explore the practical issues that would be encountered when considering the possibility of full scale subject resource discovery services.

PerX will address various aspects relating to two of the main objectives of the DRP, namely the scoping of a common national repository service infrastructure, and the cultural and practical issues affecting the implementation and usage of digital repositories. It will do so with particular emphasis on issues concerning subject-based access to digital repositories. The information retrieval needs of academics are very often subject specific, yet, with one or two notable exceptions, those subject-based needs are not currently well catered for by the digital repository landscape. The PerX Project will therefore help to evaluate the usefulness of the subject-based approach to resource discovery.

PerX will be concerned specifically with the subject area of engineering information. The information landscape in engineering is complex, and includes not only resource types such as learning materials and scholarly articles, which are common to all sectors, but also standards and specifications, technical data, technical reports, trade news and patents. There are numerous publishers and national bodies in engineering, many of which produce material of value to the academic community. Further complicating the landscape are the professional societies which play an important role in STM publishing. PerX will therefore take a broad-based view of what constitutes a repository, reflecting the real situation of resource discovery, and will investigate issues surrounding subject-based access to various digital repository materials, in addition to institutional repositories.

Digital repository work within engineering is not well supported compared with other disciplines, and uptake and usage of digital repositories by the engineering community has been disappointingly slow. The findings of the Project will help to understand why this is the case, and advocacy materials produced by the Project will help to improve the situation.

PerX will use some of the outputs of the JISC-based Subject Portal Project (SPP) will build upon them, test them, examine maintenance issues, examine end-user attitudes, and produce outputs which will help to gauge the actual need for subject-based access to the digital repository landscape. The Project will also investigate various sustainability models for possible future fully fledged subject-based services.

The PerX lead partner is the Institute for Computer Based Learning, School of Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Heriot Watt University, UK, EH14 4AS. Other partners include: Cranfield University, Institution of Civil Engineers/Thomas Telford Limited, Adiuri Systems Ltd, The Geotechnical, Rock and Water Resources Library (GROW) in Arizona, and the Regional Support Centre East Midlands.

Contact details: Roddy MacLeod, Senior Faculty Librarian, Heriot-Watt University Library, Edinburgh EH14 4AS
e-mail: R.A.MacLeod AT; phone: +44 (0)131 451 3576