All entries for December 2005
December 22, 2005
Writing about web page http://scholar.google.com/
Have been reading an interesting article this morning, whilst the network was down. It's about a comparison of Google Scholar with Web of Science and Scopus.
Interestingly, the article reports that Google Scholar couldn't handle a basic Boolean search in an intelligible way. I recreated the search myself, and its right. Normally, with Boolean searching you use "OR" to connect two words and increase the number of results you get from your search. Try searching for "protein" then for "proteins" then for "protein OR proteins", and see how the results set decreases in size rather than increasing!
The other main weakness of Google Scholar that I picked up from this article was the lack of information about the collection being searched. What time period does it cover? Which publications, from which publishers? The author found no way to search reliably by publication year range, and that "4-digit nimbers seem often interpreted by G-S as publication year".
However, the article did praise Google Scholar for being able to link to full text versions of almost half of the results the author found, and it was interesting to note that his searches found fairly little overlap in the results from the 3 services, with Google Scholar more often picking up details from obscure or smaller publications than either Web of Science or Scopus.
The article can be found online at: link
Or you could just type :
"As we may search – comparison of major features" jasco
into the main Google search engine!
December 20, 2005
December 16, 2005
This week has been a whirlwind! I guess it started with the trip to Dorney lake at Eton college on Sunday. Up at 6am, drive to the lake, screw together an iced up boat, hang around in the freezing fog for a few hours, then command and steer a boat of 8 men for 2×4km training pieces: its quite tiring, believe me! The last thing we needed was bad traffic, but with the M1 closed and a couple of accidents on the M40 and the road leading up to it, we were scuppered on our journey back to the boat club to put the boat away, before we could go home: we got back at about 8pm.
Tuesday night was the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Midlands branch Christmas dinner. It’s my husband who’s a member, not me, but I was tempted by the prospect of a night off from cooking, and the speaker was a lady rally driver, which I found intriguing. Lorna Smith is the British ladies rally champion, I believe, and she had some gripping video footage to show.
Wednesday saw a conference in London. Luckily it was just for the afternoon, so I didn’t miss the Library Marketing group meeting in the morning. I caught the pendolino train that got me to London in just about an hour. Those tilting trains make me travel sick! I’m never normally sick on a train, and I can read in cars, but I also do get sea sick. In any case, I skipped lunch because I learnt the hard way on my last trip to London…
The conference was very good and I learnt a lot from Jane Secker’s presentation about the CLA Scanning licence and the trial audit which the CLA carried out there recently. I have a lot of questions to put to Jane, that there wasn’t time for on Wednesday. Basically it’s a very complicated licence and even though I’ve read it through and through, there were still one or two things that Jane had spotted and I hadn’t. Still, the LSE have been clearing copyright for scanned items for a while now, and Jane was involved in the negotiation of the licence, so she ought to know more than me really! I am glad I went.
Last night was the Staff Christmas quiz. The library, the RIU and the Modern Records Centre all put in a team. The MRC team won the quiz overall, so well done to them. The library team came in about 12th, apparently, and I have no idea where the RIU team finished because I left before the end to get my beauty sleep! I don’t think we were last…
Time for a quiet weekend, you’d think, but I still have all my Christmas shopping to do… oh and a ball to go to tomorrow night in Birmingham.
I love this time of year!
December 14, 2005
If you ever thought there was a duller entry title than some of the ones I used to talk about the reading list audit (working on the final report even as I type) then it's this one. Something the RIU will be helping out with in the early new year is an audit of what subject librarians spend their time on and how this matches up with current aspirational priorities. I've been through this process myself in an earlier life at York, so am quite familiar with how easy it is.
Chatted with my old boss Chris following discussions with Hywel on the topic. Nice to catch up with what's going on back up north, what things are developing well, not to mention what hasn't changed that much in the 18 months since I was working there (wow, that suddenly seems a long time ago!).
Ah well, only one week to go to Christmas…
December 13, 2005
Well it seems that at last week's CILIP Council meeting the proposal to merger of various groups (including CoFHE, UCR and ELG) into a new entities was rejected for the time being.
What it looks like will have to happen with be that the future of the Special Interest Groups will now be put to the general membership to decide. This will be somewhat interesting considering that only 11% of the membership replied to initial consultation – you've just got to hope that this time more people make their voice heard on this somewhat rather important issue.
Just received the feedback on the talk I gave on behalf of ASLIB West Midlands a couple of weeks back, and since one or two bloggers out there helped out with a bit of input whilst I was preparing it I thought I'd report back.
Feedback was universally good – not a single word of negative criticism either. Quotes include:
- "Far exceeded expectations"
- "Thought-provoking and inspirational"
- "Very interesting Ė a lot to take back to my colleagues."
Actually I can't lay claim to all this high praise, the other speaker & event host (Phil Bradley) probably deserves the bulk of it. But all the same it does the University no harm to have engendered such a groundswell of good will with a broad cross-section of LIS professionals – most of whom were from outside the academic sector!
December 12, 2005
Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/usingthelibrary/audiotour/
Have spent most of today analysing the statistics for the audio tour: Both those sent to us by Acoustiguide relating to handset usage and the data on accesses of the audio tour web page and online sound tracks. It's interesting stuff and its all going in a report evaluating the audio tour which will eventually make its way to the RIU webpage, so keep watching this space…
In the meantime, has the Law or Education subject librarian recommended the online audio tour between 11th and 24th November? There is a strange spike in interest in Floor 4 in this fortnight, and also in the Learning Grid, a pattern which does not show in other time periods. I shall investigate!
December 07, 2005
Writing about web page http://www.banditos.info/speles/sobersanta2.swfMy, he is a jolly fellow. Use the arrow keys to guide Santa…
The latest copy of CILIP Gazette briefly reviews this scanner from Plustek on page 10.
This is the very scanner that we ordered for our unit to use when scanning items under the CLA trial scanning licence. We chose it because the glass goes up to the edge of the plate, allowing us to scan right into the crease of a book, avoiding the distortion that appears with ordinary flat bed scanners. It also only costs about £200 which is considerably cheaper than specialist book scanners.
Our main issue to date has been that it was a bit difficult to get hold of. It took over a month from us ordering it for the equipment to arrive. We had various excuses from the suppliers when we chased them, including that the shipment had been stolen en route – presumably by pirates!
However, now that the scanner is here and we have been using it for just over a week, it does the job very well. Some books with very tight binding are not easy to scan, and I've had to re-do pages because I was not able to push the book in far enough onto the glass, but overall, its a lot easier than trying to scan books on an ordinary flatbed scanner.
It is to be recommended, if you can get hold of one!
December 06, 2005
Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/subjects/riu/concluded/
And so we have some results again. Iíve just finished writing up the Psychology reading list study we conducted over the past couple of months. Iíd love to say we found some shocking results, but it seems what weíve found pretty much supports some assumptions. Not that the timeís been wasted, oh no, because now we have comparative evidence from this year and last yearís cohort of students.
Thereís a full report available for library staff on the Library StaffWeb area as per usual, and Iíve just placed the executive summary on our main web area (follow the link above). If anyone would like to see the full report, then please do get in touch.
In terms of findings though what we discovered can be broken down into two areas: Students and reading lists, and students and searching. In terms of reading lists is does seem that students value their lists, and consider them very authoritative sources of guidance, which is good. However, they do seem to continue to focus only on reading what will get them through examinations and assessments Ė the proportion of students in this study who were willing to use the reading list to read around the subject (as it were) and engage with the wider scholastic realm was very few (less than 10%). This is certainly backed up by the work we did with Politics last year, where in interviews students said much the same. Is this due to time problems, competing demands or a lack of will? I donít know for sure Ė certainly this research doesnít delve into that area, though I might guess itís a mix of all there.
I know this is a real concern for academics, who would dearly love their students to take their subject to heart and become the academics and researchers of tomorrow Ė not exam passing, qualification obtaining work units. But thatís not really something the RIU can resolve Ė we can only point out what weíve found and perhaps suggest ways to assist in supporting any change to the mind set. Itís up to the academics to do something.
In terms of searching skills it does rather seem that students feel confident with knowing where to search and can use some good standard searching. They donít however; appear to be confident in using logical/Boolean searching and other such tools. Now this might well mean theyíre missing out on a lot of very interesting and relevant articles and resources. This is an area the library staff will be able to help out with training, mentioning and support.
Interestingly though from this study it does rather appear that students do not seek out the help or guidance of the academic nor library staff when it comes to deciding if articles or books they have found themselves are useful or accurate. They rely heavily on it either being blessed by appearing on the reading list or available in the Library. Letís just hope the science team here only ever purchase good books for psychology