Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
  Update: Why engage in e-science
3/04 (pointed out by EngLib)
"According to Professor Tony Hey, head of the UK's e-Science Core Programme, academic librarians 'are concentrating on only half the plot'. These days, he says, his students in computing and engineering, and others in scientific disciplines like particle physics and astronomy, do not use the university library much, if at all; often they use only the online journals, so 'there needs to be a refocusing of what libraries do'. This doesn't mean that university librarians are redundant. Far from it - they have an absolutely vital role to play, but it is one which many of them currently ignore."
While I like being called vital (well, I'm Special not Academic, but) I have some big problems with some of his statements. He basically only wants us around as "curators" and catalogers. I work with people. I help people figure out what they need and then find the information. Computers will only frustrate someone in a hurry while I can comfort them with a correct, quick response. We will continue to be needed as intermediaries.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
  Free Culture Audio Files
Akma's started something big this time.... Volunteers have recorded just about all the chapters of Free Culture online. You may download the MP3s or stream them in some cases. The full text in PDF is still available here. Other versions are available, too. See the ebook and other versions on Blackmask.
Monday, March 29, 2004
  PCWorld.com - Microsoft Readies News, Blog Services
by Joris Evers 3/26/04
"Microsoft is claiming a first with MSN Blogbot, a service that will let users search Web logs, or 'blogs,' personal-journal type Web pages that have become increasingly popular. Many consumers even use blogs as a news source, according to Microsoft.
MSN Blogbot will aggregate content from hundreds of thousands of Web logs and index that content based on which Web logs are most popular and credible, Redetzki said. The service should go into beta soon, and Microsoft plans to introduce MSN Blogbot worldwide, she said"
There are some MAJOR problems here. First? First what? These exist (see my upcoming article in b/ITE. Some of them are actually pretty good (waypath, feedster). Most popular and credible? What does that mean? How credible? If someone writes a truly outrageous story and everybody links to the post that doesn't make it credible. I'll keep an eye on this and report back. (article pointed out in TVC)
  j's scratchpad: Librarianesque Session at BloggerCon II
There's more here on the library part of this.
  BloggerCon: Celebrating the art and science of weblogs
This free conference is coming up in Boston on April 17, 2004. The Boston SLA-ers have planned a library-related session. I'm hoping to attend.
Friday, March 26, 2004
  More on Free Culture
I did show up at the book party for Free Culture last night but was completely unable to bring any insightful comments when I met the author. I did however, comment on our support of the Washington DC Principles Statement, open access, SPARC, etc. I also said that we support him and read his blog. The book is now available on the site listed in yesterday's post. The DC SLA book discussion group will be tackling this book for next time. I can't wait to get reading!
Thursday, March 25, 2004
  Read my review of History of Analysis
Pikas, Christina. "History of Analysis" E-STREAMS v.7 n. 3(March 2004).
  == Free Culture ==
Lawrence Lessig's new book, Free Culture, is out. It can be downloaded from this site or purchased at Amazon. I read The Future of Ideas for an information policy class at CLIS with Brian Kahin (now at Michigan).
There will be a book party tonight, but I don't know if I'll get to go. See the Internet Commons Congress site for details. (pointed out by the ALA Info Commons Blog.
Monday, March 22, 2004
  W3Schools Online Web Tutorials
(courtesy of EEVL)
Tutorials and reference sheets for HTML, CSS, XML, etc. Might be a good replacement for Web Monkey.
Friday, March 19, 2004
  New York Times: Addressing the Unthinkable, U.S. Revives Study of Fallout
By WILLIAM J. BROAD 3/19/2004
"To cope with the possibility that terrorists might someday detonate a nuclear bomb on American soil, the federal government is reviving a scientific art that was lost after the cold war: fallout analysis.
The goal, officials and weapons experts both " -- you may ask, "why is this in a library blog?" Well, this is a great example of why knowledge management is needed, the value of tacit knowledge, the value of institutional memory (which you lose when you outsource everything to a new contractor every year), and the value of indexes and abstracts back at least to the 40s. For those libraries that tossed their old engineering, chemistry, and physics journals... how are their scientists going to find this information? Are the scientists going to have to reinvent the wheel? What if the original scientists die before they are able to convey their knowledge to the next generation? Is there anyone doing classified oral histories? Someone who knows what technical questions to ask? Are those histories being indexed? Saved digitally? Are librarians helping the young scientists find this information?
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
  washingtonpost.com - rss news feeds including nation, world, business, technology, politics, opinion, sports and other news.
Monday, March 15, 2004
  Wired News: Speed Meets Feed in Download Tool
by Paul Boutin 3/15/04
"A demo publishing system launched Friday by a popular programmer and blogger merges two of this season's hottest tech fads -- RSS news syndication and BitTorrent file sharing -- to create a cheap publishing system for what its author calls "big media objects." The hybrid system is meant to eliminate both the publisher's need for fat bandwidth, and the consumer's need to wait through a grueling download. " This is essentially scheduling a download via an RSS reader and using BitTorrent to download. If you already schedule downloads and do P2P stuff, this is not new, but kind of cool anyway.
Friday, March 12, 2004
  Computers in Libraries Report: Unleashing the Power of RSS
by Jenny Levine (description)
(I hope Steven feels better soon!) *note: her presentation isn't up as I'm typing, but will probably be up later today. Caution: usually huge pdf file so don't try this over dial-up.
She polled the audience on whether or not we knew what RSS is, and just about everybody around me raised their hands that they knew. I guess a review is always a good thing.
A new idea I brought from this: establishing a blog not for itself, but so its feed could be added as content to a portal. You can create an RSS feed from anything but blogging software does it automatically.
  Computers in LIbraries Report: Beyond Blogging 101: Applying reference Skills to Blogging
by Terence Huwe (description)
Huwe is the head of a special library that's affiliated with the University of California System he mostly works with researchers but also interacts with the public. I knew his name because I read his recent article: “Born to Blog.” Computers in Libraries v.23 n. 10, November/December 2003.
The main points that I took from his talk:
  Computers in Libraries Report: Supporting KM with Weblogs
by Michael Angeles (description)
I was pretty excited to see Michael because I read his article (Angeles, Michael, 2003. "K-Logging: Supporting KM with Web Logs." Library Journal 128, 7: 20. Reed Business Information. Available online here, accessed last 3/12/04) . I'm definitely all for using blogs, community blogs, and feeds as relevant to help build communities and help with enterprise information sharing and collaboration. There are serious barriers to this free and happy information sharing in scientific and technology related organizations (security, competition, intellectual property, etc.). I also networked with a colleague from a similar workplace who is also considering implementing blogs in the library and in the lab. A next step for me is to figure out who on our staff has personal blogs to see if we can get some social networking going and then maybe use these people to start a grassroots movement. The library can provide the technology and server space on the intranet to enable these connections.... wheels turning....
For others I met at this session: Here's a brief bibliography of help with RSS and blogs:
BTW- I'm not linking all these, the assumption is that you can find them from the cite or ask your librarian for help!

  1. Fichter, Darlene. January 2003-28 February 2003. Blogging Software for Intranet Applications. Online 27, no. 1: 61-3.
  2. Berkman, Robert. February 2004. In a Fog Over Blogs? Stressed by RSS? The Best of Blog and RSS Search Engines. The Information Advisor 16, no. 2: 1-8.
  3. Cohen, Alan, 2003-. Blogging for Business. PC Magazine 22, 23: 74. ZDNet.
  4. Doctorow, Cory and others. 2002. Essential Blogging, Cory Doctorow and others. Sebastopol, CA : O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
  5. Dragan, Richard V. and Neil J. Rubenking, 2003-. TAKE BACK THE NET . PC Magazine 22, 23: 102-5. ZDNet.
  6. Field, Karen Auguston, 2003-. Why Every Engineer Needs a Weblog. Design News 58, 11: 11. Reed Business Information.
  7. Goans, Doud and Teri M. Vogel. 11 November 2003. Building a Home for Library News with a Blog. Computers in Libraries 23, no. 10: 20-6.
  8. Lynch, Jim, 2003-. RSS News Readers Browse for You. PC Magazine 22, 17: 32. ZDNet.
  9. McFedries, Paul, 2003. Blah, Blah, Blog. IEEE Spectrum 40, 12: 60.
  10. Metz, Cade, 2003-. TAKE BACK THE NET. PC Magazine 22, 23: 101-2. ZDNet.
  11. Miller, Ron, 2003. Blogging for Business. EContent 26, 10: 30-4. Information Today Inc.
  12. Scott, Peter. Blogging: Creating Instant Content for the Web. November 2001. [http://library.usask.ca/~scottp/il2001/]. 11 February 2004.
  13. Trott, Mena and Trott, Ben. TrackBack Explanation: A Beginner's Guide to TrackBack . [http://www.movabletype.org/trackback/beginners/]. 12 February 2004.
  14. White, Martin, 2003. Web Logs: Moving Beyond Cool. EContent 26, 12: 10. Information Today Inc.

  Computers in Libraries Report: Federated Searching and Open URL
I attended the Computers in Libraries conference yesterday sponsored by Information Today. I had a great time and learned a lot. Here's a brief summary of the sessions I attended:
B201: Federated Searching and Open URL. (description) This pretty much hasn't changed since I last heard about it. Basically, OpenURL lets you put a link on the search results page of a bibliographic database so that when you click it goes to a resolver to lookup the best place to find full text and then redirects to that location. It's pretty labor intensive entering and maintaining the information but is very helpful. Federated searching is kind of like the old Z39.50 searching like we had/have on MdUSA and it also can work like OpenURL. If you really customize it, the searcher can pick a category of search and the search will just be carried out on relevant databases. What might be the next step is for the computer to do an analysis of the request and automatically pick the databases. De-duping has to be setup, too. Nice, but not for the advanced searcher. Really for the undergrad only.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
  What's New @ IEEE In Communications: Google Users Flock To IEEE Xplore
(via e-mail) v.5 n. 3 (March 2004)
"IEEE recently announced that researchers worldwide can now locate technical papers published by IEEE when searching online using the Google search engine. Since then, IEEE Xplore traffic from Google users has risen dramatically. IEEE web tracking reports that Google referrals to IEEE Xplore have risen 1000% prior to the indexing of the site by Google. Google delivered 120,000 referrals to the IEEE Xplore Web site in December while the next highest search engine only delivered 19,000 referrals."
Yes, well, I would hope so. I'm still ambivalent about this. I'm glad people can find reliable information that was previously part of the invisible web but it's sad that they think google's the place to look for IEEE-type stuff. I really don't like the Xplore interface, but it does do some pretty advanced stuff if you give it a chance. This shows that about 120,000 searches were done in google that should have been done in Xplore!
  Smart Computing: "Start your engines"
by Christian Perry v. 15 n.4 (April 2004): 56-8. (full text online requires registration, why don't you see if your library has the print edition instead)
I am so not impressed with this article. It is a very simplistic overview of what search engines are. Doesn't everyone who reads this magazine know all this stuff already? Smart Computing? OTOH- they recommend learnpysanky.com which is actually really cool. I wonder where my kit is.... fun with wax and dye.
  MediaGuardian.co.uk | Press&publishing | Open access publishers close ranks
by Richard Wray Tuesday March 9, 2004 The Guardian
"Two of the leading open access publishers of scientific journals yesterday mounted a spirited defence of their embryonic industry in the face of criticism from traditional publishers such as Reed Elsevier that it is uneconomic and risks debasing scientific research. " Of course they're going to defend themselves! Vanity publishing is a concern, but if the new journals are formed by the former editorial boards of, say, Elsevier journals... then that's not a concern, is it? (watch for forthcoming ACM Transactions on Algorithms). (link courtesy of Gary on Resource Shelf)
Monday, March 08, 2004
  Note the new link
Just a couple of little notes. I added a search using my *new* Google api key. I'm so cool. Wait, wait... not so cool, have to find somewhere I can put my subscriptions so they can be searched. Oh dear.... Well just search the web and the blog you're on for now, maybe.

Also, added a link to librariangear.com (link courtesy of lisnews.com). I love their stuff! I'll continue to use this space to babble/vent on library related things.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
  Legal Affairs: Stories: How I Lost the Big One
by Lawrence Lessig (link courtesy of lisnews.com)
"As I read back over the transcript from that argument in October, I can see a hundred places where the answers could have taken the conversation in different directions, where the truth about the harm that this unchecked power will cause could have been made clear to this court." Poor guy. Sometimes its important to try and keep trying. I read Code. I believe. I support. Keep fighting!

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina's LIS Rant by Christina K. Pikas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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