October 23, 2007

Scitopia Update

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

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

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

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

June 29, 2007

IEEE Presentations From SLA in Denver Now Available

.: IEEE has made available its presentations from the IEEE Breakfast meeting in Denver on 05 June 2007. Both are available on its IEEE Digital Subscriptions page.

  • IEEE Announces New Initiatives (PDF, 960 KB)
    June 2007 – IEEE announced several new initiatives in its online publishing program at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual conference
  • IEEE Demonstrates Beta of (PDF, 276 KB)
    June 2007 – At the Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual conference, IEEE demonstrated, a free, federated vertical search portal brought to you by 15 of the world's leading science and technology societies.

June 6, 2007 launched at SLA

.: was launched at SLA on Sunday, 03 June 2007. is a "free federated vertical search tool", covering the digital libraries of 15 major scientific and technical societies. Additionally, Scitopia searches patents from the USPTO, Japan Patent Office, and esp@cenet (European), and the US DOE Information Bridge. At the launch, presenters from IEEE and ASME noted that the philosophy underlining this new search engine includes: "get past search to research", and "reduce distraction" by eliminating "noise", i.e., irrelevant search results. To date, approximately 3,000,000 documents have been indexed, with one or more of the societies' coverage dating back 150 years. The search engine is free to the public, but is designed for researchers. No new subscriptions are required to get access to the full-text of these documents, provided your institution already subscribes to one or more of the societies' digital libraries and/or packages.

For the moment, is focused on technology: physics, mathematics, computing science, and engineering. hopes to expand and include more technical societies to broaden and increase its coverage.

The product still needs work. The author search does not work beyond the search of an author's last name only. As well, there is no facility to export results to one or more bibliographic management programs such as EndNote or RefWorks. There is also no facility for a "My Scitopia"-type feature, which would allow for the storage of search results, or regular running of stored searches as RSS feeds. However, the product offers an index to the digitized publications of many of the world's major scitech associations and institutions, and will only get bigger and better. The representatives from the societies present at the launch indicated clearly that they are open to and welcome any and all feedback to improve the product and make it better for its users. To be fair, the problem with the author search is a tough one, as it is difficult to gather together name authority structures from 15 societies and index them accordingly, but they do plan to work towards a solution.

Scitopia looks good, and I look forward to using it soon. The societies involved to date are:

Acoustical Society of America
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Institute of Physics
American Physical Society
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
American Vacuum Society
The Electrochemical Society
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
Institute of Physics Publishing
Optical Society of America
Society of Automotive Engineers
Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics