April 30, 2004

Yet another science librarian blog here. This one's called On Christina's Radar and is by Christina L. Pikas, Technical Librarian at the Johns Hopkins Univesity Applied Physics Laboratory. She's recently published Trends in Blog Searching in the March/April 2004 b/ITE. Not surprisingly, the blog seems to mostly concentrate on physics & astronomy. There is no evidence that she is Canadian ;-) (unlike, of course, Catherine, Randy, Geoff and myself.) via SciencePORT.

April 27, 2004

A long interview with usability guru Jared Spool here at Infomation Design. When asked what he's currently thinking about, Spool replies: "Well, lately, I've been thinking about chocolate chip cookies. I really like them. I probably don't get enough of them." My kinda guru. via CurrentCites.

Character Sets and Character Encoding: A Brief Introduction by Ardie Bausenbach is about Unicode, although why it's not mentioned in the title is a bit of a mystery. This is from the most recent RLG DigiNews (v8i2). via CurrentCites.

Salon's Everyone is an editor by Sam Williams is an interesting look into the world of collaborative content projects, particularly the Wikipedia project. For those that don't know, the Wikipedia is a giant collaborative encyclopedia that basically anyone can contribute to. It's range of entries is shockingly diverse and of surprisingly good (if sometimes uneven) quality. Check out the definitions of computer science, software or computer engineering or electrical engineering to see what I mean. The linking between terms is fantastically useful, definintions practically serving as portal pages to an entire subject area -- and if you see a term that not fleshed out, you can do it yourself. And it's multilingual, both in terms of multiple main entry points for the encyclopedia and each term linking sideways to definitions in other languages. What the heck: Physics, Astronomy, Math,

April 26, 2004

SciencePORT.org is a scientifically-oriented blog directory site. It covers all the main areas of science (and other fields too) but usually only a handful of blogs listed in each area. It's fairly academic in orientation, also with strong international, non-English content. Well worth checking out, a site that will hopefully grow and evolve. They even have a feed of new sites added here.

Looking for those other kinds of confessions of a librarian? Try Diary of a Librarian for something a little closer than what I traditionally provide. Discovered it via the "recently updated" list on the Blogger home page. BTW, have I ever mentioned that one of the most frequent search engine queries leading here is just "confessions?"

This little pointer to another article from About (If You Haven't Loved Math.....) is interesting. I'm always facinated about the teaching (or not teaching) of math in a mathophobic culture.

If you are of a certain age (or perhaps a historian of technology or culture), you might want to check out the Classic Computer Magazine Archive. via ResourceShelf.

April 23, 2004

If it seems like forever since I last blogged something from the O'Reilly site, it's because it has! In any case, here's an interesting bit from Tim O'Reilly on the State of the Computer Book Market.

April 20, 2004

The British Library's Turning the Pages digitization project brings to life a number of interesting historical works. The quality of digitization, the audio track, the interface, the ability to easily magnify the images are all unbelievable. This is absolutely worth taking a look at. Relevant to us here are (via ResourceShelf.):

  • Leonardo's Notebook
  • Vesalius' Anatomy
  • Blackwell's Herbal

The lastest issue of the INASP Newsletter from the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications. This newsletter is a valuable window into the library community in the developing world.

April 15, 2004

A couple of articles from the most recent IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (v26i1):

So, how do we all keep up to date in science and librarianship? A complex question with a lot of different answers. Recently Michael Leach of Harvard surveyed the PAM membership to get a idea. Michael has kindly allowed me to post the results of his informal survey as he emailed them to PAM members:

Below is a summary of the replies I received to my posting on "Keeping
up to date" with our fields. I thank the many of you who provided lists
and comments, which I condensed below.

A few notes:

1) It appears that use of blogs are on the increase, especially those
blogs with aggregate information from a number of resources.

2) Many complained about the signal-to-noise ratio on many lists, and
about email spam in general.

3) Finally, many noted the need to read more, but time constraints and the
ever increasing volume of materials make this difficult. It is clear we
will need better tools and resources in the future to deal with these

Perhaps PAM should examine and then consider the possibility of
creating an information aggregator for the Division membership. RSS feeds
and blogs are certainly two IT mediums to consider for such a project,
after a user needs study is conducted. Although, perhaps, blogs like STLQ
already fulfill this niche for members.

The summary is broken down into two sections: I) LIS Resources, and
II) PAM-SciTech Resources. Within each section, resources are grouped by
medium type. Items with an asterisk (*) indicate a resource recommended
by numerous folks.

If you did not respond originally, but would like to send your
suggestions along to me now, please do so. Thanks.

Michael Leach
Physics Research Library, Harvard University
mrleach@fas.harvard.edu or leach@physics.harvard.edu

I) LIS Resources


commons-blog (http://www.info-commons.org/blog/)
Confessions of a Science Librarian * (http://jdupuis.blogspot.com/)
EngLib * (http://www.englib.info/)
Information Literacy weblog (http://ciquest.shef.ac.uk/infolit/)
Internet Scout weblog * (http://scout.wisc.edu/Weblog/)
Lessig Blog (http://www.lessig.org/blog/)
Librarians' Index to the Internet (http://lii.org/)
LISNews * (http://www.lisnews.com/)
LibraryCog (http://librarycog.uwindsor.ca/)
Open Access News * (http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html)
Peter Scott's Library Blog (http://blog.xrefer.com/)
ResearchBuzz * (http://www.researchbuzz.com/)
ResourceShelf * (http://www.resourceshelf.com/)
SEPW - Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog
Shifted Librarian (http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/)
STLQ - The SciTech Library Question * (http://stlq.info/)
TVC Alert - Research News (http://www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/)


Ariadne (http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/)
American Libraries
ASEE Prism
D-Lib Magazine * (http://www.dlib.org/)
High Energy Physics Libraries Webzine (http://library.cern.ch/HEPLW/)
Information Research: an international electronic journal
Information Outlook
Information Today
Internet Resources Newsletter * (http://www.hw.ac.uk/libWWW/irn/irn.html)
Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship * (http://www.istl.org/)
JoDI: Journal of Digital Information (http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/)
Journal of Academic Librarianship
Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology
Portal: Libraries and the Academy
Science & Technology Libraries
Scout Report (http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/Current/)


CLIS List (University of Maryland College of Library & Information Science
eril-l *
liblicense-l *

II) PAM-SciTech Resources


Annals of Improbably Research (http://www.improbable.com/)
Chemical & Engineering News
Communications of the ACM
The Engineer
IEEE newsletter
Inspec newsletter
Nature *
New Scientist
Newspapers (a number of different ones, including New York Times)
Physical Review Focus (http://focus.aps.org/)
Physics Today *
Physics Web
Physics World
ProQuest newsletter
Science *
Scientific American *
Technology Review (http://www.techreview.com/) (also has a blog service)


National Academies (US) What's New (http://www.nas.edu/mail.html)


EEVL - Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing
E4 (http://www.e4engineering.com/)
EurekAlert (http://www.eurekalert.org/)
ltsn - Learning and Teaching Support Network (http://www.ltsn.ac.uk/) (See
various "Subject Centres" for specific resources)
PSIgate - Physical Sciences Information Gateway
Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/)
Topix.net (Science/Technology News)
Wired News Technology (http://www.wired.com/news/technology/)

April 13, 2004

A couple of fun space science sites discovered via the SF world:

In the March 2004 issue of Technology Review there's an article "Search Beyond Google" about the state of the art in search engines, and especially the kinds of things we can expect in the future from Google and its upstart competitors. Highly recommended.

April 12, 2004

Today's Toronto Star has a great series of articles on Linux in the business section. You can get to it here. If that doesn't work, most of the articles are by Rachel Ross or Tyler Hamilton, so you should be able to get to the articles via their columnist pages.

Long-time readers of this humble blog know that I'm a chess player and quite interested in computer chess. So this article from Chessbase on the first "chess computer", The Turk, is quite interesting. It seems that the Heinz Nixdorf Museum in Germany has recreated the machine, including finally more-or-less establishing how the elaborate hoax was carried out. As usual, I'm john_d on GameKnot. Any other chess-playing librarians out there up for a challenge?

Ripoff 101: How the current practices of the textbook industry drive up the cost of college textbooks makes interesting if not surprizing reading. I find it interesting that most student don't actually use the cds or other extras packaged in with their textbooks. via Cynthia Archer via ARL-DIRECTORS.

April 8, 2004

Here There Be Data: Mapping The Landscape Of Science is an article about the most recent PNAS. They have a special section on using maps to represent the ebb & flow of scientific progress. It's a facinating way to see the interconnectedness and interdisicplinarity of the work that's happening these days.

An interesting quote: "The traditional method involved books, reference works and physical materials on library shelves, most of which had been verified for accuracy by one or another authority. Now, we sit at computers and cast our net into a sea of information, much of which is inaccurate or misleading." It's hard to tell which side he's coming out on, but I think he's trying to make the point that maybe the net hasn't quite replaced real, peer-reviewed literature yet. Much of which can still be found in books & reference sets on the shelves or in actual journals that the library still has to pay for. Also a BBC story here. via LISNews & ScienceDaily.

Research Blogs is an online community/blog for masters & PhD students. Nothing posted in the sciences section yet... via OAN.

The following LISNews poll gives you a chance to vote for your favourite librarian web site. Hint Hint Hint. Oh, and vote for STLQ & EngLib too! Scitech librarians of the world, Unite!

Welcome to the newly created Communicating Astronomy With The Public division of the IAU!! via Liz Bryson, slapam-l.

April 5, 2004

Information-seeking behavior of chemists: A transaction log analysis of referral URLs by Philip M. Davis is an interesting look at how chemists actually end up at the journal articles they read. via SEPW.

April 2, 2004

Internet Resources: Gray literature: Resources for locating unpublished research by Brian S. Mathews from C&RL News, v65i3, March 2004. Very good and very complete article on grey literature. via Internet Resources Newsletter.

April 1, 2004

STLQ: It Had to Happen: AIM has a Blog is a posting from Randy. The only thing I can add is that there's a feed too! Oh, and that would be The Annals of Improbable Research, with the blog here.

Why engage in e-science by Tony Hey is from a recent Update. This is a rather interesting slam article about librarians from what appears to be a CS prof:

'Why do all universities need to keep a physical copy of the Physical Review? Maybe one copy, held by the British Library, would be enough. Libraries get a chunk of money from the funds allocated to the universities by HEFCE. There isn't going to be much new money in universities to access new forms of services so we need to take a hard look at the changing rationale for the existing services. Libraries are in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant to students in engineering and science. I recognise that these are difficult issues, but it is obvious that things cannot remain the same. Libraries need to engage with the changing IT landscape and rethink what the library needs to do.

'I am not anti-library. I just feel that there are some technological trends that are inevitable. Putting one's head in the sand is no way to approach them. There needs to be a national debate.'

This is just a sample from the very end of the article. It seems to me that Hey hasn't spoken to a librarian -- metadata? Has he heard of Dublin core? digitization? Has he heard of Instititional Repositories? Data? Do you know of a large institution that doesn't have a Data Librarian? It seems to me that virtually every negative point he makes is actually either exaggerated or totally wrong. Has this guy been to his local library in the last 10 years? He mentions that he doesn't think libraries are that relevant to scitech students -- if he'd ask someone would tell him that practically nothing circulates as much as CS books. Electronics books, too. Scitech students use the library a lot. In fact, my (admittedly anecdotal) evidence would suggest that scitech profs are beginning to understand that the library is more relevant to their students now, not less. Sigh. End of rant. I invite comment. From Catherine, who seems much more restrained.

How to quickly find articles in the top IS journals by Ruth Bolotin Schwartz and Michele C. Russo is from the February 2004 CACM (v47i2). The authors go through a rather convoluted process, no doubt taking months of exhaustive research to discover that ABI/Inform has very good coverage of IS journals. And in full text too. It strikes as rather unbelievable, especially since they could have spent 15 minutes going down to the library in their institution, asked a librarian, and gotten exactly the same answer. But what would be the fun in that? Actually, if I may be serious, the authors do pay close attention to libraries and librarians in their article and the issues we face is deciding what to subscribe to. They also come up with something I didn't know: Ingenta indexes most of the top journals! Good article, worth reading.