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March 17, 2005

Review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus

:: I've been trying to make time to learn more about Scopus since we acquired it. It is a very powerful database, with substantial content. Will it supplant others we use here? There is a very detailed comparative review of Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus, in the v6 n3 January 2005 issue, by Louise F Deis, Princeton, and David Goodman, Long Island University. Their quick summary in one sentence: "Quick summary in one sentence: Keep Web of Science and buy Scopus if you can once the publisher gets the data loaded." Two additional entries related to this review include the authors' comments on a review of WoS and Scopus in the 15 Jan 2005 Library Journal, and a letter to the authors in response to their review from two librarians at the R.W. Van Houten Library, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Reviews of Full-Text Handbook-Type Collections

:: On ELDNET-L (I can't link to the post), Kate Thomes asks:

Hi everyone. I know this topic has been discussed on ELDnet before, but my library system was not dealing much with the issues at the time and I do not find a record of the discussion in my files.

I would like to know if folks have assessed the relative merits of various ebook services including Referex, EngNetBase, Kluwer Online Reference Works, knovel, etc.

Does anyone have an ELDnet discussion summary of this topic, or have specific experiences and opinions they'd like to share with me?

If you have comments, Kate can be reached at Bevier Engineering Library, U Pittsburgh, at 412-624-9620 or kthomes+ AT pitt DOT edu.

I thought it would be interesting to see what reviews of some of these products are "out there", so did a quick web search, and found a few:

I searched archives of Free Pint, Charleston Advisor, E-STREAMS, Péter's Digital Reference Shelf, but couldn't find much else, which means I've probably missed a few.

February 17, 2005

What's Up?

:: The February 2005 issue of Walt Crawford's always entertaining Cites & Incites Insights is now available.

:: In the v6 n3 January 2005 issue of The Charleston Advisor, Louise F Deis (Princeton) and David Goodman (Long Island U) review Web of Science (2004 version) and Scopus. Richard T Sweeney and Haymwantee Singh of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, respond to the review.

:: Issue 6.2 of ACS's Livewire is available.

:: EEVL Column: Four Search Engines and a Plaque. Roddy MacLeod looks at some recent developments to the EEVL service.

:: In Péter's Digital Reference Shelf for February 2005, Péter Jacsó reviews RDN - the Resource Discovery Network:

RDN is set up in eight hubs, each of which represents a group of specific disciplines that develop and maintain annotated directories of Web resources in their fields, as well as other educational materials, such as tutorials in digital format for Web distribution.
Among the eight hubs are EEVL and PSIgate, the Physical Sciences Information Gateway.

October 5, 2004

Energy Information Administration - Example of a Great Web Site

:: I've been meaning for some time to sing the praises of the web site of the Energy Information Administration: Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government. When I work with chemical engineering design students, inevitably some of them will require oil and gas prices while working on their design projects. On my Resource Guide for Chemical Engineering, I created a section called Chemical and Petroleum Industry: Statististics, Prices and Production, where as many good sources for chemical and petroleum/energy prices of which I am aware are listed.

I discovered the Energy Information Administration serendipitously in September, while checking for updates on the Natural Gas Annual. As I began to investigate the site more thoroughly, I became more impressed with each clickthrough.

The site seems to have been designed by a person or persons well versed in creating user-friendly web sites with an nod towards rock solid usability. Visit the site, and you are greeted with two sets on menus: one asks, "How do you want to access energy information?", giving the options: by geography, fuel, sector or price. The other menu asks, "Or would you like to access specific subject areas?", and offers process, environment, forecast and analyses options. Immediately, you can consider how you want to navigate the site to find your data.

The types of energy for which data are provided include: petroleum, electricity, renewable energy (including solar thermal, alternative-fueled vehicles, wood, photovoltaic cells), natural gas, and coal.

Often our students are searching for historical data, including crude oil prices from years past. The page with links to US Petroleum Data is outstanding. Historical data is available in .xls format, which permits users to export the data to spreadsheets for further analysis. Check weekly crude oil spot prices back to January 1986 in Excel format. In addition, links are provided to papers providing analyses of market outlooks, prices, trends, and so on.

It gets better. Find a publication in which you are interested, and the site tells you when it was posted, and when the next update will be. For example, the Monthly Energy Review: as of this posting, the September 2004 issue is available. The page tells us it was posted on September 28, 2004, and the next issue will be posted in the last week of October, 2004. Basic and brilliant. Not sure of which aspect of your chosen energy source you are interested? Scan by topic - petroleum topics, for example. The site isn't restricted to US data. International data and information are provided.

Applying web site evaluation criteria, including usability, accuracy, currency, authority, scope, objectivity and purpose, and the conclusion is: this site rocks.

May 13, 2004

Charleston Advisor Reviews

:: The Charleston Advisor publishes reviews of web-based electronic resources. Recent reviews of interest include:

An active subscription may be required to view some of these reviews.