May 31, 2004

Coming Soon: The Death of Search Engines?

This is a great article by Rita Vine from LLRX. It's basically about how search engines are getting harder to use as they get bigger and more comprehensive.

For serious web searchers more interested in search engines as information seeking tools rather than investment vehicles, the current buzz surrounding search engines disguises the fact that, despite persistent attempts by the search engines at promoting their indexes as better than ever, search is getting worse.
via LibraryStuff.

Statistical flaws found in top journal studies

As this CBC story indicates, don't always believe what you read.

May 30, 2004

And on that cheerful note...

It seems that the University of California at Santa Barbara is finding that more and more students are cheating using the Internet. via The Chronicle.

May 29, 2004

Cheaters will never prosper.

So, here's the story. A student at the University of Kent has mostly been cheating for the three years of his degree -- copying material from the Net and passing it off as his own. Finally he is caught and turfed. Fine. Well, it seems, this fine young man is suing the university. What for, you ask? For not catching him soon enough.

May 27, 2004

FreePint article on the Semantic Web

So what is this "semantic web" thing that Tim Berners-Lee is always babbling on about anyway? If you've been wondering, take a look at this article in the latest FreePint (i160). The article, "The Semantic Web is Your Friend," is by Libby Miller and Simon Price.

May 26, 2004

Out with the old, in with the new

The Next Step in Scholarly Communication: Is the Traditional Journal Dead? makes a rather common, almost obvious, case these days: that open-access ejournals are the way to go. In all, it's a very good review article on the state-of-the-art, with a thought-provoking last sentence: "The item of exchange in scholarly communication will become the dynamic idea rather than the static article and impact will become the measure of success." Isn't that sort of what blogs are all about? Maybe blogs will be the future of scholarly communication? via Open Access News

Patent Retrieval

PatentFetcher is a free service to get pdf versions of US Patents. The free service claims to be a bit slow, but it was pretty good when I tried it. They also provide similar access to many European patents. Downside: you have to have the patent number of the document you are looking for. via Carolyne.

History of Computing

A few highlights from the most recent IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (v26i2):

May 25, 2004

Engineering Conferences International Symposium Series

The Engineering Conferences International Symposium Series is a site that publishes open access conference proceedings in engineering. Only a few are available so far, including some that are of interest here (via Open Access News.):

GIS Librarians

A brand new blog for GIS Librarians. So new, it only has one post. No name or location information, only the name Mapz. Good luck. via LIS Blogsource.

Joining the modern world

Two new bits on the blog. Finally added titles to the posts. Not sure why I never did before, but I have them now. Also, switched to the newish Blogger comments feature rather than using HaloScan, so all old comments are gone. Coming up, I will be adding an Atom feed a bit later on.

The May/June 2004 b/ITe is available. b/ITe is the newsletter of the IT division of SLA. The table of contents includes:

  • Search engines in an iconic age: Using search engines to find images by Chris Tighe
  • Targeted science searching on the web by Britt Mueller. This article is absolutely fantastic -- it talks about using Scirus, CiteSeer and Google to find real scientific content. Particularly interesting is the section on using Google to find IEEE and ACM publications. When will the day come that we no longer need the traditional A&I services? Sooner than we think, and a real challenge to those providers to keep adding more and more value to their services to compete. I'm still waiting for Google Academic.

Why open source works by Steven Weber from the most recent issue of ACM's Ubiquity (v5i11).

May 21, 2004

MSNBC - Can Star Wars: Episode III be saved? is my "gratuitous SF posting" for the month of May. Priceless quote of the month: "In many ways, Phantom and Clones were the answer to the unasked question “What would the director of Plan 9 From Outer Space have done with a talented effects crew and a $200 million budget?” Ouch. But deserved as, in my opinion, Episodes I & II were two of the dullest movies ever made.

Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures from NIST.

Papers are up for the Informing Science + IT Education Joint Conference InSITE 2004. There is quite a wide range of topics at this conference, ranging from philosophy of science, to science & society, to IT educational & curriculum issues. There are five pages of topic & paper listings and I can't imagine that there isn't something for everyone here. A small selection interesting-looking ones (via the Information Literacy Weblog):

The New Journal of Physics from IOP has an RSS feed broadcasting table of contents information. When you think about it, why wouldn't every journal do the same thing? If I follow a bunch of journals, wouldn't the publishers want me to know when new articles come out? Wouldn't I want to know when they come out without having to actively check somewhere (like the library, for example)? BTW, a quick and partial check tells me about half the IOP journals have feeds. via

Wired News: A Scan of the Headline Scanners is exactly what it sounds like: a review of the various RSS readers/aggregators. Here at COASL we use Bloglines.

Peter Morville, information architecture guru and author of IA bible Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites with Louis Rosenfeld, has a new website on usabilty/findability/IA/whatever: | links about findability + the design of findable objects. At first glance, this looks pretty good. There's even a section on Libraries & Literacy. On the must-visit-often list. via ResourceShelf.

May 20, 2004, however, bills itself as "A supplement to every library catalogue on the planet!" A decent list of free, online journals. Not sure who created and maintains the list, though. And I couldn't find when it was last updated either. It's interesting that this site claims 7000 items while the Directory of Open Access Journals claims 1096 -- no doubt due to the fact that will list a journal even if it only has one issue available for free! via Good Stuff of interest to a Canadian chemistry engineering corporate librarian, which may need a shorter name.

Research Information seems to be a mouth-piece for the STM publishing industry, so take it for what it's worth. There's probably a nugget or two buried among all the coal.

Some interesting articles in the latestCommunications of the ACM (v47i6):

May 17, 2004

The May 2004 D-Lib Magazine is a special issue on georeferencing and geospatial data, with contents as follows:

This commentary The Crisis In Scholary Communication, by George Porter on STLQ also includes few links on journal prices in math as well as some cogent commentary about the serials crisis in general.

The Information Literacy Weblog has a link to a paper "Integration of information literacy training into engineering and technology education" by Barry Tucker. It's from the Vala 2004: 12th Biennial conference and exhibition in Melbourne, Australia. The rest of the proceedings are here.

May 14, 2004

Good Stuff of interest to a Canadian chemistry engineering corporate librarian is yet another scitech library blog by a Canadian, this time Carolyne Sidey of Xerox in Toronto. I've got to say that I've had a bit of a hand in this one, as Carolyne tells my that the blogging presentation I did at the Sheridan Park Library and Informtation Science Committee a while back inspired her. Good luck Carolyne! Here's the feed.

According to this article from the Online Journalism Review, blogging is a legitimate form of communication. I'll have to remember this article when my next tenure file has to be handed in... In any case, Here it is: Scholars Discover Weblogs Pass Test as Mode of Communicationvia OA News.

The Humbul Humanities Hub is a rather impressive looking directory for online resources in the humanities. Two of the portals that are of interest here are (via

Resources: Assessing student learning by Amy Mark is a good webliography from the most recent C&RL News (v65i5) May 2004.

May 13, 2004

The ALA/ACRL/Science & Technology Section Information Literacy in the Sciences Task Force is looking for input into drafting a set of standards. From the website:

We want this document to describe information literacy in the sciences and technology as completely as possible. We seek the collective knowledge representative of the broad background and experiences of the STS membership. Please look through the proposed standards at the link below and make comments and suggest additions relative to your discipline and experiences.
This quite a good idea. The site comes with a pretty comprehensive bibliography, focusing a lot on engineering. Also, it appears that the domain name has been snapped up by Catherine Woodworth Wong. via Virginia Baldwin on eldnet-l.

May 11, 2004

Yes, there is now a Google Blog. via

May 6, 2004

Thanks to Pat Viele, some audio/video lectures by noted physicist Hans Bethe, given at the age of 93 to his fellow retirees. Enjoy, here.via slapam-l

May 5, 2004

Christina's LIS Rant is Christina Pikas's other blog, about general library issues. Thanks to Christina for reminding me to mention it. Christina's main claim to fame here is On Christina's Radar.

According to the Rowland Institute Library Blog, the Chronicle of Higher Education now has rss feeds! Here! - The complete GIS & Geospatial Resource is, like the name implies, a resource for the GIS/Geomatic community. It looks pretty impressive, especially as a news source. It also has a pretty good data page. via, an increasingly valuable resource.

May 3, 2004

Six Steps to LCC@Home by Kendall Grant Clark is the follow-up to his Library of Congress Comes Home from a while back. If we recall, in that article he introduced us to the concept of using XML and the LC classification to organize all of our home libraries. This time he goes into much more depth on the kinds of things we have to do to implement his scheme. His six steps are:

  1. Survey (get an impression of the size and subject distrubution of your collection.
  2. Allocate (the physical space in your home taking into account what you have and expected growth)
  3. Gather (labeling materials)
  4. label (put labels on your stuff, using the LCC in the CIP data)
  5. Punt (fugure out what to do with stuff not found in 4)
  6. Arrange (the labeled stuff in your physical space)

Next time he promises real, implemented code to help us get started.