Christina's LIS Rant
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
  Wired News: Searching Smarter, Not Harder
Pointed out in the CIO Insight Quick Facts newsletter from November 30, 2004. (via e-mail)
Topic maps are showing up everywhere. They represent information and the relationships between pieces of information (occurrences and associations). There's an ISO standard and everything. Wired's now on board and is discussing how this could help with searching. Of course there are librarians everywhere and all over ASIS&T who work in this area.

Savvy web searchers have forced this type of relationship for years. If you're searching for china (to eat off of for turkey dinner) how do you get the right type of results? You add words that provide context. If you had a thesaurus, you'd look up the preferred term and use that. With the web, no thesaurus, so you AND a string of OR'd terms that put you in the right place (for the example, maybe noritake or fine or wedding or tableware or household???). Maybe you'd just use a more specific term that's less likely to be misunderstood (royal worcester howard gold). After you get your results back, you can scan them and then add in quotes, etc. How about adding words in another language or from another subject discipline?

Better yet, use a clustering search engine and see what topic areas it suggests. (this is cool) Why make the user think meta?
  Managing references, km, 2, no 3, no... new tools?
Literally at the same time I'm carrying around a new article to every meeting I attend trying to read it, I see a similar product mentioned by Steven on Library Stuff. Critical mass has been achieved so here are my comments.
First paper: Erik Wilde, "References as Knowledge Management," Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship n41 (Fall 2004), here.
Wilde does not spend too much space on this, but his basic background is that the most PKM most researchers do is to maintain a list/collection/database of references to articles they've encountered over their career. The list can be anywhere from 100-500 and is normally kept in EndNote or BibTex -- a library-centered, not user-centered utility. Cross linking and sharing is not easily accomplished (and how, you can say that again). Annotation is not easy. There's also a big disconnect in maintenance of web favorites or bookmarks and scholarly articles from databases or e-journals. His team is developing ShaRef at ETH Zurich to see if they can fix some of these issues. There's not enough in this article to demonstrate how their product succeeds. Now, as I'm looking for his D-Lib article, I learn about Bibshare. While it's great that people are really active in addressing all of this.... ack.

Second item: S.C. points to CiteULike. Theoretically it's like Furl, but it's supposed to get more metadata from e-journals and it's supposed to export to EndNote. For those 70% Wilde surveyed who don't want to combine their EndNote with their Furl, maybe something like this? It's supposed to already be working with ACM, PubMed, the Evil Empire and others... Why can't Endnote give you a bookmarklet? Why direct export or even worse, save as an RIS or tagged text file and import? The sharing part is what this system gets right... Furl creates citations, but doesn't gather enough metadata to actually allow you to cite the page : ( hm.

Monday, November 29, 2004
  Google Scholar and researchers who need it now, now, now!
After this mini-conversation with Steven (see the comments). I was again reminded about one of the neat things about the publishers' native interfaces and the big-money databases. I don't know how they do it, but Compendex seems to index IEEE articles like two weeks before they're published online. This might change now that IEEE is putting pre-pubs into Xplore. I have alerts coming from Compendex, Inspec, and a few other databases and it's pretty frustrating when you know about the article but then have to wait to read it. The big databases can do this because they get direct loads from the publishers and have big groups of human indexers standing by. The data is pushed from the publisher. IOP offers feeds of new articles available online so this is extremely quick -- potentially weeks prior to publication in a journal. Science pre-pubs are anywhere from 6-10 weeks ahead of print publication.

On the other hand, Google is crawling databases made available by the publishers. Is this done at regular intervals? On Google's schedule instead of the publishers'? Will Google pick up articles as soon as they are online? How will you know?

This may not be important for an undergraduate, but for a researcher in the field, you better be able to say that you have the newest information!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
  Still confused about RSS?
Read Terri Vogel's easy-to-understand article in the new issue of SLA's Chemistry Division Newsletter. (v19 i2, page 4). Updated: to add the ? (because I'm not confused, but I thought someone who was reading this might be!)
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
  Communications of the ACM: Special Issue on the Blogosphere
Pointed out by John Dupuis. v47 i12 (December 2004). We haven't gotten our print edition yet, but it is in the digital library here.

Introduction Andrew Rosenbloom Pages: 30 - 33Full text available: Html(11 KB),Pdf(56 KB)

Structure and evolution of blogspace Ravi Kumar, Jasmine Novak, Prabhakar Raghavan, Andrew Tomkins Pages: 35 - 39Full text available: Html(23 KB),Pdf(169 KB)

Why we blog Bonnie A. Nardi, Diane J. Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, Luke Swartz Pages: 41 - 46Full text available: Html(30 KB),Pdf(135 KB) - the authors interviewed several bloggers from Stanford and asked why they blogged. Research included analyzing the blogs and in-depth interviews with the bloggers. The concept of audience is not well developed. What's needed is a longitudinal study of how blogging changes with awareness of audience, growth of audience, etc.

Semantic blogging and decentralized knowledge management Steve Cayzer Pages: 47 - 52Full text available: Html(28 KB),Pdf(148 KB)

We are looking for a system capable of aggregating, annotating, indexing, and searching a community's snippets. The challenges we would face in developing such a system include:
  • Ease of use and capture.
  • Decentralized aggregation.
  • Distributed knowledge.
  • Flexible data model.
  • Inferencing.

Exactly. Also: "Blogging's greatest benefit is social, not technological" and "embedding Semantic Web technology within a blogging framework" -- I've seen this somewhere before? I think it was a British org, though, not HP or Stanford? Is it too late to claim that's what I meant by automatically assigned metadata? I want my semantic blog to work like EndNote and allow me to cite while I write, can it do that?

How blogging software reshapes the online community Rebecca Blood Pages: 53 - 55Full text available: Html(15 KB),Pdf(62 KB)

Democracy and filtering Cass R. Sunstein Pages: 57 - 59Full text available: Html(14 KB),Pdf(56 KB)

updated after reading some of the articles...
Monday, November 22, 2004
  Other bloggers who blogged ASIS&T

This list is way shorter than the list of people who blogged CIL, IL, SLA... why is that? Are Sunir and D.W. right that we're that far behind the times? Are there still some Canadians and Scandinavians who haven't gotten home yet?

  The Publishers Weekly review of Biz Stone's new book
Is funny. I'm always late in reading these because I'm on the print distribution list, but here's a little quote:
...typical of Stone's approach: facts may be interesting enough on
their own, buy why not dress them up with snazzy distortions?

It's in v.251 n44 (November 1, 2004): 54-5. IOW like the first Stone blog book, not useful.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
  Early/Summary Posts from ASIST: Wednesday
Whew. Almost there.

Communication and Interaction Behavior

Journal Performance and Impact

The moderator did a sort of disservice to this session. She kept hurrying the presenters along, disallowed questions, then spent 5 minutes giving little anecdotes to introduce the next speaker. argh! Plus, all the slides were portrait instead of landscape so they were really tiny to read. I guess 4 speakers in one session is too much.

Access to Multiple Library Resources

Beyond the Sandbox: Wikis and Blogs That Get Work Done
Cool title, cool presentation.


This reception was the exception: free food and liquor from a for-profit publisher. Nice conversations with S.S., J.J., W.J., N.M. and others. Look what happens when you get two former Navy women together!
Friday, November 19, 2004
  My Slides on PKM from ASIST
I still haven't nailed down a place to put the actual slides, so I html'ed them (non-trivial activity) and posted that on our collaborative blog.
eta: http://asistkblogpanel.blogspot.com/2004/11/christinas-slides-in-outline-form.html 
Thursday, November 18, 2004
  Early Posts from ASIST: Tuesday
Even though these are late, I'm still keeping with the early convention in the title. Basically, that's to indicate that these are more summary-type than deep analysis. Also, all this fades with time so I'm running against the clock in posting before it disappears completely. Never again will I attend a conference without some sort of computer.

I left after the first speaker in the first session so I could meet with the people presenting with me at 10:30.

Studying Scientific Collaboration, Part 1: Methodology for Investigating Collaboration
Henry Small from ISI spoke about something. At this point I remember him talking about the trend of more authors per article, all professionals who are members of a project being automatically listed as co-authors, increased internationality of co-authorship... he said eventually every physicist would be an author of every paper...

Blogs for KM and Information Dissemination
There's more that you'll ever want to know about this on the appropriate blog. I'll also continue to post more information on the subject there.

Awards Luncheon
I liked the chicken. Luckily Dr. Soergel held a seat for me because it was packed. I learned from the first reception not to get between these people and their food!

Managing Information from Scientific Research Projects

-- after that I ran over to see the very cool Maryland project --
Design for Helping Users
Bringing Together Children and Books: An Initial Descriptive Study of Children's Book Searching and Selection Behavior in a Digital Library
Kara Reuter and Allison Druin
When I first heard about the ICDL a couple of years ago, I spent way too much time flipping through the books. This is really a neat project. Kara was talking about when they actually went to a suburban Maryland school and interviewed and watched the kids use the ICDL. They found that the younger children opened every book, while the older children were better able to see from the metadata if they had what they wanted. Also, the kids typically did a lot of searching for Harry Potter, but that's not surprising. The children all enjoyed looking at books written in unfamiliar languages -- that's pretty cool. They also did a lot of diffuse searching -- flipping backward and forward and clicking on things. I wish I knew this was typical behavior before when I was trying to "help" the children at the public library. I guess it's just normal.

Methodologies for User Studies

Missed SIG CON but had a lovely dinner.
  TCS: Tech Central Station - The Faith-Based Encyclopedia
Someone at the ASIS&T session on wikis and blogs asked about this article. Not to belabor a point, just providing access.

As most thoughtful adults will immediately recognize, this article is inflammatory and very biased. Note this quote:
The user who visits Wikipedia to learn about some subject, to confirm some matter of fact, is rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom. It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.
Perhaps to be expected from Britannica.
update: I forgot to say where I got this. I was reminded by CHMINF-L.
  Google Scholar
This, no doubt, is being discussed everywhere online. I hope to do some testing and report back.

Update 11/19: KK points out this Nature article on UMCLIS-L
Note this interesting point I haven't seen elsewhere...
Google Scholar has a subversive feature, however. Each hit also links to all the free versions of the article it has found saved on other sites, for example on personal home pages, elsewhere on the Internet.
If that's true, then this really could be important.
Monday, November 15, 2004
  Early Posts from ASIST: Monday
updated 11/18 to correct some typos
Web Searching Behavior (papers)

Plenary Session: Sir Tim Berners-Lee
His bio, although anyone reading this probably knows who he is.
Berners-Lee is a visionary who dreams up things that would make our life easier/better, then works to make them happen. As such, I'm not sure there's anything of immediate impact to take from his talk, but I do have some observations. First, he talks about automatically recognizing common fields and recognizing them across programs and tools. For example, your digital camera automatically marks the time the picture was taken, why can't those pictures be integrated into your calendar (Gary Marchionini later says that GPS will be integrated into the metadata tags digital cameras add so that you can find your pictures by location). Second, he says that all types of items should eventually have URIs (indicators, not locations) -- books, chemicals, people, etc. To me, this doesn't really make sense. I get where he's going, but obviously Chem Abstracts has a much better handle on all the chemicals than any start-up organization would have now (although not perfect). Likewise, we have several different identifying numbers for books: ISBN, ASIN, LOC catalog number, OCLC number, etc. Each of them stands for one incarnation. Adding a new URI doesn't make sense. For people -- some of this was tried with SSNs, and we all know what happened with that. How I see this working is more like for DOIs. There's a resolver/thesaurus/crosswalk thingy that takes you to what you want when you enter any of the names for the item. It exists for chemicals. He said more, but for right now... I did mention that the standard in the blogosphere was to identify books by their Amazon URL -- he seemed to agree, but once again, this happened because 1) it's easy 2) the record that's returned is rich 3) the record points to other versions of the same book (editions, audio tapes, etc). OCLC, the ISBN people, LOC don't have anything near this cool -- why doesn't the find in a library URL have the ISBN OR OCLC number obviously in it? Why can you reconstruct the "find in a library" URL if you know the book's OCLCN or ISBN like you can with some scientific publishers who use the ISSN in the URL (is that Open URL? I'm not sure).

Why Can't Johnny File?
Discusses end user efforts to organize their personal information. Can indexing, IR, classification, LIS, etc., help them?
This was a real who's who panel: Kulthau, Bates, Jones (mentioned above), Marchionini, Mai
More on this later.

User-Based Relevance

I'm off now to the Alumni Reception! Let's Go Maryland!

  Early Posts from ASIS&T: Sunday
While I would like to add thoughtful commentary and analysis -- I don't have much time so I'll just put some quick observations down. Hopefully there will be time for more complete coverage when I'm back to being fully connected (I'm sitting in the lovely Providence Library now)

CE Session: Personal Information Management in Theory and Practice
by William Jones (and Harry Bruce who is in Washington, getting over Pneumonia)
From University of Washington Information School, Keeping Found Things Found Project.

Dr. Jones is a specialist in Cognitive Psychology, so he really had a different point of view.

Plenary Session: JC Herz (homepage? www.joysticknation.com requires login?)
I was a bit concerned that she would cover some of the really trite things we hear (technology x will save the world...), but she was actually really cool. She talked about social networks, blogs, wikis, a-lists/power law, group as user, community formed around the sims...

E-Science: The New Environment for Scientific and Technical Information Managment
Welcome Reception, SIG Rush
Weak food. No actual SIG representatives to try to recruit us for their SIGs!

Friday, November 12, 2004
  ASIST K-blog Panel Collaborative Blog
Jessica, Garrett, Kris and I are now making our blog public so that the panel attendees can see our links. Feel free to check it out. Even better, if you're attending ASIST in Providence, RI, come to our session. It's on Tuesday, November 16 at 10:30.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
  Foster: A Nonlinear Model of Information-Seeking Behavior
Allen Foster. “A nonlinear model of information-seeking behavior” JASIST v55 n3 (Febrary 1, 2004): 228-237. DOI: 10.1002/asi.10359

This article is so cool. I still haven't finished the Library Trends special issue (v45 i2, Fall 96) on interdisciplinary work, but this article goes along with that. Foster proposes a model for interdisciplinary researchers that is not strictly chronological... moving along in stages as the standard ISPs do.

The relationship of behaviors was described interms of concurrent, continuous, cumulative and looped cycles occurring throughout a research project... there was...a sense of nonsequential behavior in which any behavior could conceivably lead to any other.

It seems to better describe people at work as it briefly mentions the impact of social networks, multiple projects going on at the same time, and never-ending processes.
Friday, November 05, 2004
  Forecast: Blogging will be light as I prepare for ASIST
I'll be presenting at the ASIST conference in a little over the week and I have some large research projects going meantime so posting will continue to be light until the 4th week of November.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
  Another article on searching/mining blogs in libraries
Pointed out on Library Stuff.

Paul J. Moorman, "Mining Information Gold in the Blogosphere: How to use Web logs as reliable research tools." AALL Spectrum. (November 2004): 14-6.

Moorman quotes a chunk of my earlier article and a lot of what Steven Cohen's been saying for a couple of years. What's nice about this article is his balanced treatment of the whole genre (for lack of a better term). He talks of detractors and supporters, fool's paradise vs. prestige and high quality writing... Here's a nice quote:
But if you take a closer look at the arguments for both blog-detractors and blog-supporters, you will find that they really aren’t that far apart. Blogs can be both trivial and profound, and these traits are evident even in the best blogs.(p.14)
Monday, November 01, 2004
  IEEE to Cease Publicaton of Conference Proceedings in Print in 2006
I haven't seen this elsewhere, so I'll assume it's new. After 2005, IEEE Conference Proceedings will be electronic only. The transactions and magazines will still be both print and electronic. Good news for those of us with space issues and aisles after aisles of blue volumes (now all white and paperback, but we'll be ditching some of the old).

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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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