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! :-)

November 16, 2006

UCLA Student Gets Tasered Repeatedly For Failing to Show ID in Powell Library CLICC Computer Lab

.: This is incredibly disturbing on so many levels. Details are available from The Daily Bruin, UCLA newspaper. The video is very loud, with screaming and profanity, so you might want to use headphones to watch it. The Daily Bruin also reported on the community response to the taser incident.

17 Nov 2006 addendum. These articles are from the 17 November 2006 issue of The Daily Bruin:

July 14, 2006

Dana Roth Celebrates 40 Years of Service at CalTech

.: Dana Roth, Chemistry Librarian Extraordinaire, recently celebrated 40 years of service to the profession at CalTech. I have had the good fortune of knowing and working with Dana since the fall of 1993, when we were among the first members of the fledgling Engineering Information Scope and Coverage Committee. Please see this well-deserved tribute to Dana on the ACS Livewire Blog.

March 13, 2006

Knowledgespeak Updates

.: One of the consequences of working two jobs at the same time is that my inbox is growing faster than I can hit the delete button. Here are a few recent items from the Knowledgespeak news archive, which I have been meaning to post for some time:

  • BioMed Central unveils new online open access journal - "Open access publisher BioMed Central, UK, has announced the launch of Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a new peer review system. Led by Editors-in-Chief David J Lipman, Director of the National Center Biotechnology Information (NCBI); Eugene V Koonin, Senior Investigator at NCBI; and Laura Landweber, Associate Professor at Princeton University, the journal seeks to provide authors and readers with a unique system of peer review.

    The journal will cover original research articles, hypotheses and reviews, and is available online at The journal includes publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology and Evolutionary Biology, to be soon followed by an Immunology section..."

Continue reading "Knowledgespeak Updates" »

February 15, 2006

EPA Set to Close Library Network and Electronic Catalog

.: Cindi Trainor forwarded this to me just now: Bush Axing Libraries While Pushing For More Research. Ironic timing, considering the previous post about the end of the research library in natural sciences. Another very serious example of public information in the USA about to disappear.

Washington, DC — Under President Bush’s proposed budget, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is slated to shut down its network of libraries that serve its own scientists as well as the public, according to internal agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In addition to the libraries, the agency will pull the plug on its electronic catalog which tracks tens of thousands of unique documents and research studies that are available nowhere else.

Under Bush’s plan, $2 million of a total agency library budget of $2.5 million will be lost, including the entire $500,000 budget for the EPA Headquarters library and its electronic catalog that makes it possible to search for documents through the entire EPA library network. These reductions are just a small portion of the $300 million in cuts the administration has proposed for EPA operations.

One wonders how EPA scientists can be expected to do their research. Research libraries and library systems haven't made it to the point where their services are entirely virtual.

January 28, 2006

Brooklyn PL Reclassifies James Frey's "Memoir" as Fiction

.: Not a scitech issue, obviously, but still of interest. Based, no doubt, on the fallout from his admission of falsifying and embellishing parts of his book, Brooklyn Public Library has reclassified James Frey's so-called memoir, A Million Little Pieces, from the Dewey classification of 362.29 (drug abuse, etc.) to fiction.

January 4, 2006

InfoToday Updates

.: The following are from recent InfoToday Newslinks, and may be of interest to you:

  • CSA Acquires Community of Science and Scirus to Index IoP Journals.
  • Wrapping up 2005; Looking Forward by Paula J Hane, where I learned another new word, "swicki":
    Eurekster introduced the swicki, a free search engine designed for personal Web publishers (including bloggers) and small-business Web sites to put on their sites ( It’s a blend between a search engine and a wiki in that it learns from the behavior of a site’s users to deliver tailored search results. There’s also a link on every search results page for swickis that allows you to compare the results side by side with any of the main search engines. It’s designed to show that the swicki results are more targeted.
  • Into The 'Tagosphere', also by Paula J Hane, from the Issue 75/January 2006 Newslink. Excerpt:
    I recently went to check out Yet Another Search Engine that had just launched (I call it the YASE phenomenon). But this one had a new twist and some intriguing language. Here’s what is posted at the site ( “Warning: This isn’t your Dad’s search engine… Wink lets you search across the Tagosphere. If you’re using services like Digg, Furl, Slashdot, or Yahoo! MyWeb, this is your search engine. Find the latest links that people like you think are great. Enjoy!”

    Now, you may just be feeling good that you understand the term “blogosphere,” and here we’re thrown a new term, “tagosphere.” While I’d been following the popular use of Web tags, I was introduced to social tagging firsthand when I helped blog several ITI conferences. Readers were able to easily locate blog posts about the Internet Librarian 2005 event because those of us involved agreed to use “IL05” as the way to identify posts about this conference. Tags seem to work best for close-knit social communities.

November 28, 2005

All This and That

.: Ever get the feeling that it is becoming next to impossible to keep up with all the developments, changes, breakthroughs, new products, latest news in this proud and lonely profession of librarianship, let alone scitech librarianship? You do? Excellent, I'm not alone. These items are from 28 November 2005 of InfoToday's NewsBreak/Weekly News Digest:

  • Ingenta News from London: "An Ingenta ( representative telephoned last week to say the company has a “bumper selection of products to launch or relaunch” at Online Information ( this year. On Nov. 29 in London, the company will officially announce a new gateway service for libraries, called IngentaConnect Complete, which offers libraries a customized interface and branding, plus unlimited current awareness alerts. The service includes a license to Ingenta’s newly-named alerting service, InTouch. Ingenta will also introduce a new service that enables its participating publishers to group subsets of their journals by subject or theme. ConnectCollections can be offered by a single publisher or a group of cooperating publishers. The collection of journals can be licensed by libraries at consortial pricing rates."
  • Thomson Scientific Launches Web Citation Index: "Thomson Scientific (, a business of The Thomson Corp., announced the launch of Web Citation Index, a multidisciplinary citation index of scholarly content from institutional and subject-based repositories. Web Citation Index provides users with a citation-based discovery vehicle for preprints, technical reports, dissertations, proceedings, and other gray literature. It is the result of a collaborative program between Thomson Scientific, NEC Laboratories America (NEC), and seven major institutions: Australian National University, California Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the Max Planck Society, Monash University, University of Rochester, and NASA Langley"
  • Internet Archive Offers New Archive Service: "The Internet Archive (http:// has launched the public W eb site http://www.a, which allows users to create, manage, and search their own W eb archives through a W eb interface. The Archive-It service h as been developed, in particular, for memory institutions and state archives. The Internet Archive has been testing and developing the application through a pilot program that includes 13 institutions ( mainly l ibraries and a rchives) that are potential users of this service. The collections developed through the pilot are all available for search and browse access through the public facing site."

Continue reading "All This and That" »

October 26, 2005

Microsoft Enters The Digital Print Game; Google Responds to Critics

.: Some interesting news on the movement to digitize all the books in the world! ;-) In Microsoft joins book search plan, the BBC reports the following:

Microsoft has joined a Yahoo-backed effort to digitise the world's books and other works to make them searchable and accessible to anyone online.

The software giant said it would work with the Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, to initially put 150,000 works online.

The move comes as Google faces growing legal pressure from publishers over its own global digital library plans.

Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain.

Meanwhile, Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google, wrote a commentary that was published in the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal on October 18, 2005, and has been reprinted in the Official Google Blog; here is an excerpt:
Imagine sitting at your computer and, in less than a second, searching the full text of every book ever written. Imagine an historian being able to instantly find every book that mentions the Battle of Algiers. Imagine a high school student in Bangladesh discovering an out-of-print author held only in a library in Ann Arbor. Imagine one giant electronic card catalog that makes all the world's books discoverable with just a few keystrokes by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That's the vision behind Google Print, a program we introduced last fall to help users search through the oceans of information contained in the world's books. Recently, some members of the publishing industry who believe this program violates copyright law have been fighting to stop it. We respectfully disagree with their conclusions, on both the meaning of the law and the spirit of a program which, in fact, will enhance the value of each copyright. Here's why

Google's job is to help people find information. Google Print's job is to make it easier for people to find books. When you do a Google search, your results now include pointers to those books whose contents, stored in the Google Print index, contain your search terms. For many books, these results will, like an ordinary card catalog, contain basic bibliographic information and, at most, a few lines of text where your search terms appear..

October 24, 2005

Various Items of Interest

.: The latest .pdf edition of Walt Crawford's Cites & Incites, v5 n12 November 2005, is available.

.: Interesting piece from Inside Higher Education: A Call To Action Against Intelligent Design reports on the "state of the university" address by Cornell University’s interim president, Hunter R. Rawlings III, given last Friday. He calls upon faculty members across subject disciplines to involve themselves in public discussions regarding why intelligent design is both popular and incorrect.

.: Issue 5 of IOP's Librarian Insider is available (.pdf format.)

September 28, 2005


.: A few tidbits of interest in an otherwise quiet week:

September 8, 2005

Autonomy and NetLibrary to Provide Libraries with an Improved Learning Environment

.: Interesting news item from a couple weeks ago:

DUBLIN, Ohio, USA, 19 August 2005— The NetLibrary division of OCLC Online Computer Library Center today announced that it has partnered with Autonomy Corporation plc (LSE: AU. or AUTN.L), a global leader in infrastructure software for the enterprise, to provide academic, public, corporate and special libraries with improved search and retrieval functionality.

NetLibrary provides electronic content and technical delivery solutions to more than 13,000 institutional libraries, corporations and government agencies worldwide that provide research, reference, digital learning, and general interest content to their constituents via web-based technologies.

"Improving and enhancing our technical platform remains a critical priority for us. After several months of research, Autonomy stood out among the 13 software providers we reviewed" said Tom Whitcomb, Senior Director of Information Technology. "We wanted to add additional functionality for our patrons as well as improve upon the ability of library patrons to find relevant content more quickly. Autonomy stood out as offering the technology that could fulfill these requirements.

Autonomy's technology allows NetLibrary to index eBooks, eJournals, and other popular eContent types regardless of format and/or location. These resources can be made up of multiple file types from different repositories including internal pdf and html documents, external Web sites, and databases such as SQL and Oracle. This can all then be aggregated together and made available through a single search interface. Additionally, NetLibrary will employ several other Autonomy features, such as: cross-linking of files, content summarization, content suggestions, spell checking, and other features that enable users to find the materials they are looking for more quickly and comprehensively.

Read the full press release here.

August 18, 2005

David Stern Takes The Helm at Haworth's Science & Technology Libraries

:: David Stern, Director of Yale University Science Libraries, will become the new editor of Science & Technology Libraries, effective with the v27 2006 issue. As David is not only a trusted colleague but a great friend, I wish him the best as he takes on this new challenge. The journal will be in good hands. On various discussion groups today, David writes:

Julie Hurd will be stepping down after many years of excellent service to the community, and I will become the new editor of Science & Technology Libraries effective with vol. 27 (2006).

As with any journal editor, I depend upon authors for timely content, and perhaps authors serving as guest editors for special theme issues. At this time the journal is seeking submissions for future issues, so please consider contributing an article yourself and encourage your colleagues to consider publishing information about interesting projects and concepts. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to discuss a possible article idea in greater detail.

Below I outline some ideas for a revised STL, including a few possible special theme topics. As you review my thoughts below on possible future topics, please let me know if you are interested in contributing your novel ideas, techniques, tricks, tips, or insights to our profession.

I anticipate the following sections in future issues:

  1. News of Note: This will be a one-page column created at deadline providing the latest news in our areas.
  2. Visions & Directions: This will be a column written by rotating editorial board members on current topics. Each column will provide a position statement, and will be followed by continued discussion on our soon-to-be-released weblog or wiki.
  3. Research papers, and/or case studies with implications.
  4. Tools Watch: This section will review books, articles, databases, and web entities. It will highlight significant new tools in relation to science and technology public services, collection development and management, and metadata concerns.
  5. SCI-5 will continue to highlight trends and tools.

Continue reading "David Stern Takes The Helm at Haworth's Science & Technology Libraries" »

June 21, 2005

Sirsi and Dynix Merge

:: Who knows what the implications are with this merger, but it's happened. There is already a new, scary looking website. Details from an e-mail received today, complete with corporate spin:

Today, I have exciting news to share with you and others in the Sirsi family prior to announcing it to the world: Sirsi and Dynix, two long-time library technology leaders, are merging to create a single company focused on developing and delivering information technology for libraries and consortia. Yesterday, we signed an agreement to merge our worldwide operations. But this is just the first step. Next comes the integration of the two companies - a process already begun and the major portion of which should be completed before the end of 2005. I'll mention more about the integration process below.

Continue reading "Sirsi and Dynix Merge" »

May 31, 2005

PNAS Withdraws (For Now) Paper Which Could Aid Bioterrorists

:: Cindi sent a link to this story from NPR, which describes how a preview copy of a paper to be published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was withdrawn after US government officials said that the paper contains information that could aid bioterrorists. The topic of the paper deals with what might happen if terrorists slipped botulinum toxin into the US milk supply?

NPR reporter David Malakoff said that after journalists were sent a preview copy of the paper, PNAS began to receive many questions from reporters and others they (the reporters) had called, including senior officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Department asked PNAS not to publish the paper because the information in it might aid terrorists. For now, PNAS has agreed, but will review the paper again with a commitment to publishing it in the future.

The author of the paper is Lawrence M Wein of Stanford, who was surprised by the decision. Unable to talk about the content of the paper because it has yet to be published, he noted that the paper contains only information readily available to the public, which could help prevent a botulinum attack.

The NPR page provides a link to the audio of the 3'15" report.

May 16, 2005

More On The ACS - NIH/NCBI Chem Abs/PubChem Story

:: OK, that headline was a mouthful, I know. Previously I posted Gary Wiggins' commentary on ACS, PubChem and open access. A quick browse throught CHMINF-L led me to a number of other posts which may be of interest to you. First up is a link to the article in the 25 April 2005 issue of Business Week, called "Whose Molecules Are These?". The article notes:

The National Institutes of Health thought it had a great idea for advancing science -- but its concept is threatening the world's largest scientific society. The plan: Put information about a vast number of molecules, which could be used to probe genes and biological functions, into a public database, dubbed PubChem. Scientists then could use the data to uncover new knowledge or new drugs. The information would come from other public databases,scientific papers, and publicly funded research.

But the project has run into fierce opposition from the 158,000-member American Chemical Society (ACS). The nonprofit group has its own database of 22 million molecules, the Chemical Abstracts Service, that typically costs thousands of dollars to access and accounts for more than half of the society's $421 million annual budget.

Another article appeared in ACS's hometown newspaper, Columbus Dispatch. In early May, an article appeared in Science, Vol 308, Issue 5723, 774 , 6 May 2005, called "Chemists Want NIH to Curtail Database". The article describes how the ACS has enlisted the Governor of Ohio and Ohio's state delegation to push its case against NIH.

For more CHMINF-L posts on this developing story, go to the CHMINF-L Archives search page, search for "pubchem and acs", and restrict your search from April 2005 to the present.

May 15, 2005

U Texas Austin Moving Books Out, Digital Access In

:: Interesting article in the May 13 2004 edition of NYTimes. Called "College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age", the author, Ralph Blumenthal, writes that the University of Texas at Austin plans to disperse most of its Undergraduate Library's 90,000 volumes to collections elsewhere on campus, later this summer. In their place will be a 24 hour information commons, that will include "software suites" and centres for writing instruction and computer training, assistance and repair.

Such digital learning laboratories, staffed with Internet-expert librarians, teachers and technicians, have been advancing on traditional college libraries since appearing at the University of Southern California in 1994. As more texts become accessible online, libraries have been moving lesser-used materials to storage. But experts said it was symbolic for a top educational institution like Texas to empty a library of books.

The trend is being driven, academicians and librarians say, by the dwindling need for undergraduate libraries, many of which were built when leading research libraries were reserved for graduate students and faculty. But those distinctions have largely crumbled, with research libraries throwing open their stacks, leaving undergraduate libraries as increasingly puny adjuncts with duplicate collections and shelves of light reading.

On my campus, we dispersed our undergraduate library collection amongst the other major subject collections some 12-15 years ago, for a number of reasons, including the need to free up space for the second largest map collection in Canada. The difference here is that U Texas Austin's UG collection will not be replaced with a different set of books, but with computers. It will be interesting to see how the librarians and associate staff are redeployed in the new environment.

May 12, 2005

The Declining Number of Entry Level Jobs in Librarianship

:: Rachel Holt and Adrienne Stock, writing in Library Journal, describe the very sad and sorry state of the library job market for new graduates:

Data from the library job market and mounting anecdotal evidence show that there is cause for alarm. The number of full-time, professional positions in libraries is dwindling, salaries continue to be depressed, more entry-level positions are being liquidated or "deprofessionalized," and qualified job seekers are having trouble securing work. Meanwhile, an industrywide MLS recruitment drive is in full swing, ensuring another large crop of graduates will be spilled out into the job market each year. Even with this bumper crop of new professionals, library administrators complain about the lack of qualified applicants for available positions.
Following their analysis of the current situation, they conclude the following:
While there is an intense, ongoing campaign to recruit new MLS students, there is no concerted effort to hire them once they've graduated. It is unreasonable to invite an influx of new colleagues into the profession without making room for them. It is unfortunate that those entering the profession are being told that there is a current shortage of library workers, since this is not entirely true. Schools recruit an excess of people into MLS programs. While some who are recruited will fail to finish their degrees and others are already working in libraries, there will be a large number who would make excellent librarians given the right opportunities. They reach the job market and discover there are far fewer options than they had anticipated; they conduct lengthy job searches, settle for underemployment in paraprofessional or part-time positions, or, if they're fortunate, find a professional position. Some of them move to nonlibrarian work that pays better and carries more authority and prestige.

When the hiring crisis finally arrives, administrators will look down their hiring ladders and realize that they have very few qualified library professionals to promote into leadership posts. They will consolidate or liquidate their open positions, or they will hire from outside the profession. This will leave even fewer openings for new MLS graduates, and we will find ourselves right back where we started.

How do we correct this course? Begin career training for all graduating MLS students. Create formal networks for mentoring new professionals. Establish partnerships between schools and local libraries to provide apprenticeships to recent graduates. Make library experience a prerequisite for graduation from MLS programs. And, finally, find ways to ease experience requirements to allow new professionals to find good jobs. Get excited about welcoming new librarians into the work force. Let our new colleagues know that we appreciate them as agents of change, or we will risk losing the very people best positioned to carry the library into the future.

April 27, 2005

Kudos for Catherine!

:: A round of applause for fellow Canadian scitech library blogger Catherine Lavalle-Welch, who has been honoured with the Sci-Tech Achievement Award of SLA's Sci-Tech Division for her work with her blog, Eng Lib! Well done, Catherine, and well-deserved - congratulations.

April 22, 2005

UK Engineer Find Original Issue of Electronics Magazine With "Moore's Law" Article, Collects 10 Large From Intel

:: From the BBC News site:

A copy of the original Electronics magazine in which Moore's Law was first published has turned up under the floorboards of a Surrey engineer.

David Clark had kept copies of the magazine for years, despite pleas from his wife to throw them away.

Now the couple are celebrating after collecting the $10,000 reward which was offered on eBay by chip maker Intel.

Moore's Law, the principle that has driven the computer chip industry, celebrated 40 years this week.

"I am totally astonished. It is the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me," Mr Clark told the BBC News website.

"I am really pleased about it because I studied physics and have always had interest in electronics. I could see the next 30 years were going to go like Moore's Law said, so I decided to go into electronics."

March 21, 2005

Creative Commons Expands, Advertises for Science Commons Executive Director

:: The Creative Commons, the group working to reform copyright, announced in November 2004 the creation of the Science Commons:

The mission of Science Commons is to encourage scientific innovation by making it easier for scientists, universities, and industries to use literature, data, and other scientific intellectual property and to share their knowledge with others. Science Commons works within current copyright and patent law to promote legal and technical mechanisms that remove barriers to sharing.
To develop and launch the project, Creative Commons is seeking an Executive Director for the Science Commons:
The growing abundance of biological and other scientific data, and the explosion of technologies permitting their worldwide availability and distributed processing, present a unique opportunity. Science Commons seeks to enable scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs to make the most of this historic opportunity and its promise for broadening collaboration and accelerating the pace and depth of discovery. Science Commons will work to counter the application of locks and legal restrictions on scientific data, discovery, and experience, while developing the incentives and means to ease their movement, examination, and productive use among researchers and industry.

We are seeking an Executive Director to develop and launch Science Commons. The Executive Director will report to the Creative Commons Board chairman and will work with active Board and advisory group members.

March 3, 2005

Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library Announced in Alberta

:: Yesterday, in the Speech From the Throne, which opened the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature of the Province of Alberta, preliminary details of Bill 1, the Access to the Future Act, were read by His Honour The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, CM, AOE, Lieutenant Governor. Among the highlights was the announcement of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library. Lois Hole was the Province's previous Lieutenant Governor, who passed away on January 6, 2005. Mrs Hole was passionate about libraries and literacy. Among the tributes planned for her by the Government of Alberta, the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library will have a dramatic impact on services provided in post-secondary libraries in Alberta. It is one of a number of initiatives announced regarding Bill 1:

The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library is a leading-edge initiative centered on the work already underway at the University of Calgary. This province-wide initiative will, at full implementation, allow all post-secondary students and faculty, wherever they are located in the province, access to the resources and knowledge currently held in the individual libraries of Alberta's technical institutes, colleges or universities. The library will be governed by The Alberta Library, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and Athabasca University.

This initiative will be a digital gathering place for students, faculty and the community to access a wealth of knowledge. It will also provide a mechanism for sharing of print collections. Building on the opportunities created by the SuperNet and post-secondary collaborations already in place, the Digital Library will be part of a province-wide system that, with SuperNet, will give Alberta capabilities for e-learning, e-health and e-commerce across the province that are second to none.

The wide-ranging access to the vast array of information made available by this innovation will make Alberta one of the most information-rich provinces in North America. Through the technologically sophisticated learning facilities of Alberta's universities, the Digital Library will support satellite points to connect people with life-long learning.

Initial costs for the Digital Library are estimated at $30 million over three years. The project will include the acquisition of digital information products, implementation of infrastructure to deliver information to the entire post-secondary system, and the development of four regional Digitization Centres.

Needless to say, our imaginations were wandering just a little in my library today. Does this mean that all electronic resources currently available at all of Alberta's universities, colleges, and technical institutes will be made available at all the libraries in those institutions? Imagine the possibilities, not to mention the contract negotiations with the vendors! Regardless, it is a fitting tribute in honour of Lois Hole, whose library legacy program continues to enrich the lives of people in Alberta.

February 2, 2005

Chemical Industry Responds to Authors of "Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution"

:: Legal action has been launched by twenty US chemical companies to discredit the authors of the book, "Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution":

Twenty of the biggest chemical companies in the United States have launched a campaign to discredit two historians who have studied the industry's efforts to conceal links between their products and cancer. In an unprecedented move, attorneys for Dow, Monsanto, Goodrich, Goodyear, Union Carbide and others have subpoenaed and deposed five academics who recommended that the University of California Press publish the book Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. The companies have also recruited their own historian to argue that Markowitz and Rosner have engaged in unethical conduct. Markowitz is a professor of history at the CUNY Grad Center; Rosner is a professor of history and public health at Columbia University and director of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health at Columbia's School of Public Health.
The authors of the book are Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner. From the U California Press site:
Deceit and Denial details the attempts by the chemical and lead industries to deceive Americans about the dangers that their deadly products present to workers, the public, and consumers. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner pursued evidence steadily and relentlessly, interviewed the important players, investigated untapped sources, and uncovered a bruising story of cynical and cruel disregard for health and human rights. This resulting expos is full of startling revelations, provocative arguments, and disturbing conclusions--all based on remarkable research and information gleaned from secret industry documents.
Via Bob Michaelson on CHMINF-L.

February 1, 2005

Inside Higher Ed

:: Bob Michaelson, writing on CHMINF-L, reports the following:

There is a new free online journal (though part blog), called Inside Higher Ed

Currently in beta, with some content but anticipated to grow significantly, this is something like Chronicle of Higher Education online, only free and born online -- and is structured more for the online environment. Note that the February 1 issue has science content: an interview with "rising faculty star" Alison Farmer, a fifth-year astrophysics graduate student at Caltech who will be taking a postdoc at Harvard.

(By the way, I learned of this at the blog Crooked Timber, which is a very interesting site too!).

More information is available on the Inside Higher Ed website:
Welcome to Inside Higher Ed, the online source for news, opinion and career advice and services for all of higher education. Whether you're an adjunct or a vice president, a grad student or an eminence grise, we've got what you need to thrive in your job or find a better one: breaking news, provocative daily commentary, blogs, discussion areas, practical career columns, and a powerful suite of tools to help higher education professionals get jobs and colleges identify and hire employees.

Today, the site contains only a fraction of the features and services that you'll find here soon, but we wanted to introduce ourselves.

Inside Higher Ed was founded in 2004 by three executives with decades of expertise in higher education journalism and recruitment. We believed that higher education was evolving quickly and radically, and that the time was right for new models of providing information and career services for professionals in academe.

They plan to offer daily e-mail reports soon, to which I respond: RSS feeds as well, please?

December 30, 2004

TRN's Technology Research Advances of 2004

:: TRN Technology Research News has released its list of Top Picks for Technology Research Advances of 2004. Areas covered include biotechnology, communications, computing, engineering, energy, security, nanotechnology, applied physics, and the Internet.

December 8, 2004

Why We Deserve A Hug

:: William R Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University, reminds us, those of us who work as librarians, why we rock:

...You see, our library has the most effective search engines yet invented librarians who are highly skilled at ferreting out the uniquely useful references that you need. Rather than commercializing the library collections, why not export to the public market the most meaningful core of Hopkins' intellectual property the ability to turn raw information into useful knowledge.

I hope by now you realize that any talk of taking our library public is simply to emphasize the point missing in all this Google mania: Massive information overload is placing librarians in an ever more important role as human search engines. They are trained and gifted at ferreting out and vetting the key resource material when you need it. Today's technology is spectacular but it can't always trump a skilled human.

Have you hugged your librarian today?

November 17, 2004

Science In For A Rough Ride in USA?

:: As suggested in a post to CHMINF-L, "It might be a good idea to circulate this to other librarians with interests in the sciences." An article in Wired News suggests that the scientific community is expecting four more years of confrontation with the Bush administration. Article excerpts below list the major concerns of scientists:

Global Climate Change - Many scientists expect the White House to continue to disregard mounting evidence that human activity is contributing to climate change. And the administration is expected to continue to weaken regulations on polluting industries.

Renewable-Energy Research - President Bush has stated that his administration's goal is to make the United States "much less dependent on foreign sources of energy." But if the next four years are anything like the past four, his administration will continue to trim government involvement in renewable-energy projects while strongly encouraging research that favor the fossil-fuel industry.

Science Education - Science educators are bracing for another four years of fighting against anti-evolution crusaders who want to teach alternate theories of the origin of life, confusing students.

November 5, 2004

University of Alberta Names Mechanical/Metallurgical Engineer as New President

:: The University of Alberta has named a mechanical/metallurgical engineer as its new president for a five year term, beginning in June 2005. Dr. Indira Samarasekera is VP Research at the University of British Columbia, where she is the former Director, The Centre for Metallurgical Process Engineering, Professor, Department of Metals and Materials Engineering, Ph.D., P.Eng., F.C.A.E., F.R.S.C., and Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing:

Dr. Indira Samarasekera, Director and Professor in the Centre, specializes in the analysis of metals/materials processes in which the thermal and mechanical state of the material during processing profoundly influences the product. Her expertise in heat transfer and stress analysis has led to research of a number of processes with a major emphasis on the continuous casting and hot rolling of steel, and the growth of single crystals for electronic devices much of it done in close collaboration with Canadian companies.
As an inventor, she has created mathematical models which can predict the mechanical properties of hot rolled steel. Dr Samarasekera will be the 12th president of the University of Alberta, and the first woman to hold the post.

November 3, 2004

U Hawaii Manoa Hamilton Library Flood Damage Update

:: Librarians at U Hawaii Manoa Hamilton Library have been posting flood updates to various discussion groups. The following was posted on ELDNET-L, by Bob Schwarzwalder of the U Hawaii Manoa Library:

The situation here is very bad. This last Saturday night, at about 8:30 Hawaii Time, we experienced a flash flood. We had heavy rains and a landslide sent a number of trees down Manoa stream, forming a dam and diverting a massive wave of water through campus. 35 buildings were affected, the Library receiving the worst damage. We had 12 feet of water in some places in the library with 7 feet through-out the ground floor. Library materials were scattered across campus. Interior walls were torn down. In large areas of the ground floor, there is nothing left standing. Fortunately no one was killed and injuries are few and minor.

We lost everything on the ground floor including government documents, maps, serials, cataloguing, acquisitions, the UH Library School, and our server room. On the first floor our sci/tech dept suffered minor damage, but our systems dept was flooded. As head of IT for the Library, and provider of catalog and proxy services for academic and several special libraries across the state, the losses were terrible. Our entire technical services division was on the ground floor -- nothing is left. But, we did have backups.

Continue reading "U Hawaii Manoa Hamilton Library Flood Damage Update" »

November 2, 2004

U Hawaii Manoa, Hamilton Library, Hit Hard by Flood

:: The University of Hawaii at Manoa, and its Hamilton Library (site down at the moment, duh!), suffered severe damage during a flash flood on October 31st. The basement of the Hamilton Library turned into a river as 90,000 maps and tens of thousands of archival photos were soaked. We have a large map collection in our library, with over 550,000 maps, and over 1,000,000 air photos, so this hits home hard!

Check these sites:

October 6, 2004

Google Begins Book Search Service

:: From NewsScan Daily for Oct 6, 2004:

Google is launching a new service designed to help publishers sell books online. Called Google Print, it will allow users to see book excerpts alongside ordinary Google Web page search results, and will carry a link to buy the book from a variety of online book retailers, including Amazon. "It's an advantage for publishers because it offers them the possibility to promote books online. And for users, it gives them the advantage of accessing information about authors and books and even to read a little from the books," says a Google spokesman. (Reuters/USA Today 6 Oct 2004)
More information is available from the Google site.

September 20, 2004

News Items of Interest from Information Today

Amazon Launches Search Site, Inc., a subsidiary of, Inc., has launched to make searching the Internet more effective. The new site builds on a beta test version the company introduced in April 2004 that offered Google searching of the Web combined with searches of Amazon's books and site information from Amazon's subsidiary, Alexa Internet. The official launch of adds several information sources and new search and organizational features. The company says the new site is more of an information management tool.

Continue reading "News Items of Interest from Information Today" »

May 18, 2004

Sci-Tech Library Newsletter - New!

New edition of Sci-Tech Library Newsletter (05/17/04):

This newsletter is available to the public at the following locations:


1. "CrossRef Search" PILOT Free federated search engine!
Exploring Search Engine Overlap , Magnetic Storm , Progress in the Study of the X-Ray Background , Biological Sciences: The Cicadas Are Here! , Two on Animal Encounters , , Education and Human Resources: International Education Indicators , Engineering: Engineering Conference International, Golden Gate Bridge , The IDE Virtual Design Museum , Engineering Is a Dream Career , Geosciences: GISS: Goddard Institute for Space Studies , Mathematical and Physical Sciences: Molecular Origami , Polar Programs: NOAA Arctic Theme Page , Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: The Portable Antiquities Scheme , Black Ships and Samurai , Caveman Challenge ...and more... plus news items from Edupage

April 28, 2004

Gravity Probe B - Was Einstein Right?

:: Interesting article from on the Gravity Probe B, launched on April 20th. The probe will use four gyroscopes to attempt to detect if spacetime is bending around the Earth:

Gravity Probe B is the relativity gyroscope experiment being developed by NASA and Stanford University to test two extraordinary, unverified predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity.

The experiment will check, very precisely, tiny changes in the direction of spin of four gyroscopes contained in an Earth satellite orbiting at 400-mile altitude directly over the poles. So free are the gyroscopes from disturbance that they will provide an almost perfect space-time reference system. They will measure how space and time are warped by the presence of the Earth, and, more profoundly, how the Earth's rotation drags space-time around with it. These effects, though small for the Earth, have far-reaching implications for the nature of matter and the structure of the Universe.

March 25, 2004

PLoS Wins a 2004 Wired Rave Award

:: The Public Library of Science has won a 2004 Wired Rave Award, "For cracking the spine of the science cartel." PLoS "is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource." Their flagship journal, PLoS Biology, has reached v2 issue 3, March 2004. PLoS Medicine will begin publishing in the fall of 2004.

The complete list of the 2004 Wired Rave Awards is here. (via GP.)

March 9, 2004

Incident in the Library

:: Today in our library, a student was attacked and stabbed in the arm and shoulder by three other individuals, while studying on the second floor. Most of us working in the building weren't aware anything had happened until afterwards. The student apparently bolted from the library, bleeding profusely. Soon afterwards, Campus Security, the Edmonton Police, and other officials were in the building. Currently, a section of the entrance, and the second floor, are sealed off as a crime scene. The incident made the local news, and a statement was issued by the University. In addition, the students on campus are already discussing it online.

The event and its aftermath left most of us feeling a bit unsettled. In my 25+ years as a librarian, I've never experienced anything like this.

February 20, 2004

Publishers split over response to US trade embargo ruling

The following is from Nature, v429, n6976, p663.

    Publishers split over response to US trade embargo ruling

    [WASHINGTON] Iranians struggling to secure free speech at home are facing a fresh set of restrictions from the US government.

    The US Department of the Treasury has ruled that editing or publishing scientific manuscripts from Iran, Libya, Sudan and Cuba violates the trade embargo on these countries. And US publishers and scientific societies are divided over how to respond.

    At a meeting in Washington on 9 February, David Mills, the treasury official in charge of implementing the policy, told representatives of 30 publishers that anyone wanting to publish papers from Iran should seek a licence from the treasury department. He also suggested that US scientists collaborating with Iranians could be prosecuted.

Continue reading "Publishers split over response to US trade embargo ruling" »

February 10, 2004

MIT Libraries Declines Three-Year Elsevier and Wiley Renewals

:: Another major library system has joined Cornell University Library in not renewing their subscriptions to Elsevier journals. MIT Libraries has announced it will not renew three-year online and print subscription packages from Wiley InterScience and Elsevier Science. Last year, the Faculty Committee of the Library System expressed their concern about this issue:

    we are concerned about the pressures exerted on the scholarly publishing system by a small number of highly profitable commercial publishers concentrating in science and technology journals. These publishers lock libraries into high-priced packages for combined print/electronic output, and contractually constrain libraries ability to manage expenditures. Libraries must invest a continually larger percentage of their budgets in providing access to these publications.

    **Professor Marcus Zahn, Chair of the Faculty Committee on the Library System The MIT Faculty Newsletter, Dec.-Jan., 2003

MIT Libraries was offered the three-year renewal packages through their membership in the NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), but the cost and commitment to proceed became prohibitive:
    "Through our membership in the NorthEast Research Libraries Consortium (NERL), the MIT Libraries were offered three-year renewals for our Wiley and Elsevier packages of print and electronic journals. The costs of these two packages constitute approximately one-third of the Libraries budget for serials (those materials we pay for by subscription on a continuing basis). The multi-year agreements required a commitment not to cancel titles (or to substitute other titles at the same price level for any cancellations). The decision to decline the three-year renewals was difficult because the terms for one-year renewals were considerably less attractive. However, the one-year renewals put us in a position of being able to cancel titles next year if we need to."
So what happens next? Harvard University Library has cancelled subscriptions to ~100 Elsevier journals. With the most important research institutions on Planet Earth cancelling journals from the largest STM publisher, where does that leave their scientists, scholars and engineers? Will these actions put pressure on Elsevier to drop their prices, or will they increase them further so that those of us who still subscribe will bear the brunt of their losses to date?

January 27, 2004

The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives

Cartographers and historians alike will be interested in The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives:

Evidenceincamera has been created by The Aerial Reconnaissance Archives (TARA) at Keele University. Our aim is to make the aerial reconnaissance photographs, deposited by the UK Ministry of Defence at TARA, accessible via the internet.

During World War II, photgraphic reconnaissance played a major part in the intelligence war. The advanced photographic techniques developed, gave intelligence officers the ability to view the enemies activities in 3D, and make highly accurate assessments. Discover a new way of looking at our history, and our future at evidenceincamera.

Unanticipated levels of traffic to the site have forced the temporary closure of the archive, although they are working to bring the site up in the near future.

January 15, 2004

Libraries in Iraq

As posted to Jerome-L...

Some of you may recall that in early December I had posted the first release of The Library of Congress and the Cultural Property Office of the US Department of State Mission To Baghdad Report on the National Library and the House of Manuscripts from their visit during October 27-November 3, 2003.

Since then, the website for the Committee on Iraqi Libraries has been cataloged by LC see: LCCN = 2003692800, and also that a second and now third, illustrated version (of the report) appeared at the Library of Congress website in December 2003, along with a Press Release announcing that "A 30-minute film titled 'The Library's Mission to Baghdad,' produced by the Library and featuring interviews with the team members, will debut at the American Library Association's 2004 Midwinter Meeting to be held Jan. 9-14 in San Diego, Calif."

See Link:

There is also a URL for the Middle East Library Association Website on it:

I thought some of you may like to know about this.



Joseph E. Saad
Instructional Assistant

December 16, 2003

World's Largest Book Unveiled

:: Weighing in at 59 kg/113 pounds, and measuring 5 feet high and almost 7 feet long, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Himalayan Kingdom, a 114-page picture book about the country of Bhutan, won't be fitting on any standard library shelves in the near future. The brainchild of MIT Computer Scientist Michael Hawley, 500 copies are being printed, to be sold at $10,000US each, with profits after cost going to tax-deductible Bhutan-related educational causes. The book evolved from four trips to Bhutan with a few MIT students. Photos from those four trips are available on this page:

This article from MIT News shows a copy of the book opened, with one of the subjects of the book standing at one end. More coverage in the NYTimes (free registration required), and photographs of the book are available at CNN.

November 25, 2003

British Library News

:: There is some interesting news from the British Library:

    The British Library has added details of over 2.55 million unique bibliographic records to the books catalogue, with 1.7 million of these dated before the 1970 introduction of ISBN.
In addition, e-mails and web sites have been added to the BL's legal deposit of printed materials:
    In October, legal changes allowed the library to add archives of Web sites and emails to its legal deposit of printed materials. The electronic collection will build on a a voluntary scheme that has been in place since 2000, and will include selected pages from the 2.9 million ".uk" Web sites. The library is one of six sites that hold a copy of everything published in the UK since 1911.

November 19, 2003

SME SourceTM and NanoGuitars

:: ebrary and SME Launch Worlds Largest Full-Text Database of Publications in Manufacturing Engineering. The new database is called SME Source, and includes:

    4,000 books, journals and technical papers in manufacturing engineering, including the nine-volume Tool and Manufacturing Engineers Handbook series, current and all back volumes of Journal of Manufacturing Systems and Journal of Manufacturing Processes.

:: As a guitar player of some 37+ years, I was interested to see this news release about the new, Flying V NanoGuitar. It falls under the category of NEMS (Nanoelectromechanical Systems), which is two orders of magnitude smaller than MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems).

The original "nanoguitar", about the size of a blood cell, was developed in 1997.

I'm looking forward to the first CD release of nanoguitar music!

Continue reading "SME SourceTM and NanoGuitars" »

November 11, 2003

25 Most Provocative Questions Facing Science, Landing on Mars

:: The NYTimes celebrates 25 years of covering science by posing "25 of the most provocative questions facing science." (ID and PW: podbay.)

:: "A British-built craft designed to scour the surface of Mars for signs of life is scheduled to land on the planet on Christmas Day, scientists said Tuesday." See Question 3 from the NYTimes.

November 9, 2003

EEVL Announces OneStep Industry News and OneStep Jobs News

From EEVL, The Internet Guide To Engineering, Mathematics and Computing, comes word of two new services for scanning industry news and jobs announcements.

    EEVL: the Internet guide to engineering, mathematics and computing, is delighted to announce the launch of two new, free services which will make it much easier to scan the latest industry news and jobs announcements from top sources in engineering, mathematics and computing. The new services are so easy to use that they have been named OneStep Industry News, and OneStep Jobs News.
Both services employ RSS (Rich Site Summary, aka Really Simple Syndication) to gather together, or "aggregate", the latest headlines in news and careers in engineering, computing, and math.
    Using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology, the OneStep services aggregate the very latest headlines and announcements from top sources and present them in an easily accessible format. Only the very latest industry and news headlines are included in the OneStep services, and by following direct links, the complete full text is available from participating publishers' own websites, in 'one step'.
Sources used for One Step Jobs are limited to UK sites, but more sources are to be added in the future, hopefully including those in North America.

October 21, 2003

U Alberta Mech Engineers Make Important Energy Breakthrough, More on PLoS Biology

:: University of Alberta mechanical engineering professors Dr Daniel Kwok and Dr Larry Kostiuk (additional information here), working with two graduate students, Fuzhi Lu (L) and Jun Wang (R), have discovered a new way to produce electricity, the first such discovery in 160 years.

Their research was the front page story in today's Edmonton Journal, and received coverage elsewhere on the Internet.

More information is available on the University of Alberta Express News site. The news of this discovery was also of personal interest to me, as I am the librarian responsible for mechanical engineering here at the U of Alberta.

Their research appears in the November 2003 issue of Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering:

    Research published today by the Institute of Physics journal, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering reveals a new method of generating electric power by harnessing the natural electrokinetic properties of a liquid such as ordinary tap water when it is pumped through tiny microchannels. The research team from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, have created a new source of clean non-polluting electric power with a variety of possible uses, ranging from powering small electronic devices to contributing to a national power grid.

    The research was led by Professor Daniel Kwok and Professor Larry Kostiuk from the University of Alberta. Professor Kostiuk said: This discovery has a huge number of possible applications. Its possible that it could be a new alternative energy source to rival wind and solar power, but this would need huge bodies of water to work on a commercial scale. Hydrocarbon fuels are still the best source of energy but theyre fast running out and so new options like this one could be vital in the future.

Reference: Yang J, Lu F, Kostiuk LW, Kwok DY J Micromech Microeng 13 (November 2003) 963-970.

:: Expanding coverage of PLoS Biology: articles have appeared in EContent and CNET

September 11, 2003

ACS Analyzes WTC Dust; Edward Teller Dies

:: The American Chemical Society is holding its annual meeting in NYC this week, and researchers still do not know if there are any long-term effects to be expected.

    When the World Trade Center collapsed, more than a million tonnes of pulverized cement, glass and insulation dust were thrown into the air. Fires continued to belch fumes until mid-December - and many rescue workers developed the 'World Trade Center cough'.

:: Edward Teller, considered the Father of the H-Bomb, has died at the age of 95. (Both stories from Nature Science Update.)

September 3, 2003

Mixed-Bag Special

:: Walt Crawford, in the latest issue of Cites & Incites, v3, n11, Sept 2003, offers commentary and observation on open access, blogging, and provides a summary of his survey of DVD durability. Definitely worth a look.

:: Classes began today on our campus, as in the rest of the world. Here in the SciTech Library, we maintain a number of online resource guides (for example: botany, nutrition and food sciences, polar studies, and materials science and engineering.) In addition to showcasing different scitech library websites, I'd like to post links to subject resource guides from different libraries. We can always learn from our colleagues!

If you would like your resource guide(s) highlighted, please let us know (e-mail info is in the right hand column!).

:: EEVL is now providing improved access to industry news and job announcement news.

:: Today's home page comes from Radcliffe Library, The Science Department of the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

August 26, 2003

U Sask Synchrotron, Wiley Interscience, RSS Feeds via EEVL

:: Canadian Light Source Inc, owned by the University of Saskatchewan, is home to the largest synchrotron in Canada, currently under construction on the U Sask campus. The instrument is scheduled to be turned on in January, 2004. Read Quick Facts to learn more about the new synchrotron. Further information, including a few short videos, is available here.

:: Wiley Interscience has launched a new user interface. An interactive demo is available for viewing.

:: "An RSS Primer for Publishers and Content Providers has been published by EEVL, the Internet guide for engineering, mathematics and computing.

    RSS is an excellent and cost-effective way of driving traffic to, and increasing brand awareness of, any website that publishes content such as news, jobs, products, or events, on a regular basis. An RSS file enables other sites to syndicate the content and thereby reach new audiences."

August 21, 2003

More Searching Tips and Tricks

:: Lisa Guernsey, writing in today's NYTimes, offers a number of web searching tips and tricks in her article, "Fishing for Information? Try Better Bait".

    The notion of a user's manual for search engines might seem counterintuitive. Give people an empty search box and a button to click on and somehow they know exactly what to do.

    But as the Web gets larger and more complicated, encompassing PDF documents, movies and audio files, product databases and ever-changing pages, it can help to know a few tricks that are not so obvious.

Guernsey isn't speaking to the converted in this article, but the article serves as a nice summary and refresher of what a lot of us may already know, especially as we prepare for large numbers of instruction sessions in the next few weeks.

August 20, 2003

Stephen Wolfram and A New Kind of Science

:: Science News reports on the latest developments regarding Stephan Wolfram. Wolfram self-published his major treatise, A New Kind Of Science, in May 2002. In the book, Workfram outlines a new way to study science, based on cellular automata, and asserts that the results of his studies "force a whole new way of looking at the operation of our universe." Wolfram and his work have attracted much press coverage and criticism.

In late June, a 3-day conference and mini-course on the book's ideas and implications was held in Boston, attracting >200 attendees from around the world. A summer school on NKS was held at Brown University in July. A new website, The Wolfram Atlas of Simple Programs, "charts the computational world introduced in Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science. Much like the atlases of another age of exploration, the Atlas both documents what has been uncovered, and defines entryways into the unknown." And a quick check of Web of Science reveals that to date, the book has been cited at least 47 times.

July 28, 2003

iPill - "Diagnosis and Medicine in a Pill"

Researchers at the University of Calgary made the headlines of Wired today for the creation of the iPill - an "intelligent pill" that when ingested, take readings of the host body with the ability to deliver the appropriate dosage of a drug.

"Instead of taking many pills at different times, with the iPill you could adjust its timer and swallow them all at once and get the right doses at the right times," Badawy said.

The iPill's electronic gadgetry, 400 square micrometers in size, fills a space smaller than the area of 10 blood cells. It is encapsulated in a penny-size plastic casing that is resistant to stomach acids.

Arson at U Georgia's Main Library, ISI Highly, World Nano-Economic Congress

:: The second floor of the University of Georgia's Main Library annex was deliberately set on fire last night, causing much damage to the collection.

:: From the 28 July 2003 Search Engine Watch: calls itself "an expert gateway to the most highly influential scientists and scholars worldwide," using similar techniques to Google's PageRank to identify these intellectual leaders.

This free search tool makes it easy to identify individuals, departments and laboratories that have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of science and technology over the past several decades.

:: The World Nano-Economic Congress will be held from 8-10 September 2003 in Washington DC. (Note: pdf file, requires Adobe Acrobat).

July 24, 2003

Weaver's Web, Nano-rotor

:: Recently I learned from a colleague that Belinda Weaver favourably mentioned The (sci-tech) Library Question in Weaver's Web, her July 2003 column for inCite, the news magazine of ALIA. Thanks, Melinda!

:: Scientists at UC Berkeley have created the world's smallest rotor, an "electric rotor 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair".

July 11, 2003

What's new

:: Scientific American has an interesting interview with Dr James D Watson, marking the 50th anniversary of the report of Watson's and Francis H C Crick's discovery of DNA.

:: Nature reports that bacteria could be enlisted to help construct electrical circuits and other devices, effectively becoming "nanoscale workhorses."

:: Moreover offers public feeds, providing headlines from >5,500 online resources. Over 360 feeds are available at the moment, including a number of scitech related topics, including engineering, biotech, biological sciences, environment, and more.

June 27, 2003

Public Library of Science

:: PLoS is in the news. Geoff reported on their new marketing blitz, a 30-second commercial, called "Wings", "...which humorously portrays the scientific progress that could be made if research and discoveries were openly and freely shared. The spot features a man leaving his house on his way to work." What's also of interest is the placement of the ad, to be shown during shows such as The Simpsons, Letterman, Leno, The Daily Show, and Discovery Sunday, in Boston, DC, and San Francisco.

"The campaign is linked to the October launch of PLoS Biology, a new peer-reviewed scientific journal that will compete with prominent publications such as Science, Nature, and Cell to publish the most significant works of biomedical research. Unlike these established journals, all works published by PLoS Biology will be immediately and freely available." PLoS argues that publically funded research should be freely available to all taxpayers, rather than at large universities and research institutions, which can afford to pay for the access.

Congressman Martin Sabo of Minnesota "is drafting legislation that would put publications describing research substantially funded by taxpayer dollars into the public domain." Coverage of the campaign has appeared in the NYTimes and the Wall Street Journal, among others. (Registration may be required)

June 4, 2003

Too Much Information

:: Mel DeSart sent an e-mail about an article in the June 2003 issue of Mechanical Engineering. The article is called too much information: Organizing information - after gathering it in the first place - is the key to actually using it. Mentioned within are libraries such as the Kurdt F Wendt Library at U Wisc Madison, and resources such as Knovel, Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology, and SciFinder.

:: Thanks to Catherine for noting that along with EngLib (her blog) and Confessions of a Science Librarian (John Dupuis' blog), this blog is mentioned in the latest issue of Internet Resources Newsletter. Canadians rule!

June 2, 2003

Mixed-Bag Special 03.06.02

:: Often students visit the campus library and ask for help with a job search. Two useful sites for engineering students are and The Engineer Jobs, from

:: Nifty idea: MIT Libraries has created a Faculty FAQ. "This page provides quick answers and links to information on topics of high interest to faculty, including our teaching and research support services."

:: In August, Disney will begin issuing DVDs that self-destruct so that renters do not need to return them to the video store.

May 27, 2003

Mixed-Bag Special

:: "Scientific papers that are not widely read and that lack any great influence can end up being classed as high-impact, claim researchers in California". Read the story here.

:: Karlin Lillington recently attended the ISC Symposium in Switzerland, and she describes how each delegate received a SpotMe, which is a small handheld computer running embedded Linux. It has a radar function that displays the photos and details of all people within 30 metres, among other features. It is designed for events with 100-2,000 participants. I wonder if this means it could not be used at SLA or ALA? Also, what new social issues might surface? Karlin notes that during the keynote address, everyone was fiddling with their SpotMe's. It would be interesting to see the group dynamic in small sessions or hospitality suites. Also, what might happen if you are trying to avoid someone? Ooooh....

Also of note, Karlin visited the Stiftsbibliothek St Gallen (Abbey Library of St.Gall), the oldest library in Switzerland. Check out this amazing fisheye lens view of the Baroque Library. Imagine doing reference in there!

Continue reading "Mixed-Bag Special" »

May 23, 2003

New Students Turning Away from Computer Science

:: An interesting article in 22 May 2003 NYTimes discusses the declinining enrolments in computer science studies since the dot com bust in 2000. (If ID and PW required, use podbay.)

May 22, 2003

Researchers Able to Stop, Then Restart Light

A team of researchers at Harvard has discovered a way to slow the speed of light to a complete stop, and then restart it again. The team is led by Lene Vestergaard Hau. Previously, Lau and her colleagues reduced the speed of light to 17 metres per second (Nature 397: 594 (1999).

May 13, 2003

Directory of Open Access Journals

Making its way around the listservs today:

Lund University Libraries today launches the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ,, supported by the Information Program of the Open Society Institute (, along with SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, ( The directory contains information about 350 open access journals, i.e. quality controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web. The service will continue to grow as new journals are identified.

Continue reading "Directory of Open Access Journals" »

May 12, 2003

1) Academic Fraud; 2) New journal from Public Library of Science

:: An interesting article in The Education Guardian weekly discusses about academic fraud, and cites a U Minnesota study of 4,000 researchers in >100 faculties. The study "found that one in three scientists plagiarised, 22% handled data "carelessly" and 15% occasionally withheld unfavourable data." I'm still looking for the study. Does anyone have any information about it?

:: The Public Library of Science has announced its first journal: PLoS Biology. Online and print editions will appear in October 2003. (Thanks, Catherine.)

May 9, 2003

Tabling of the Bill Creating the Library and Archives of Canada

A new Bill was tabled in the Canadian House of Commons yesterday, to create the new Library and Archives of Canada. The National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada will merge to form the new institution.