Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, January 31, 2005
  Software Contest [OCLC - ResearchWorks]
Pointed out on Beyond the Job.

After the successes of the Feedster and Technorati contests, it's great that OCLC is trying one. $2,500 award isn't shabby, either. I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
  Educause Review: Social Software and the Future of Conferences – Right Now
Cross-posted to ASISTKBlogPanel-- I couldn't help it, it's too good.
Pointed out by SC.

Vicki Suter, Bryan Alexander, and Pascal Kaplan. "Social Software and the Future of Conferences – Right Now." EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 40, no. 1 (January/February 2005): 46–59.

Wow. Explains the difficulty of moving to all online conferences by analogy to throwing a good party. Discusses the value of f2f conferences:
We attend conferences for the conversations, among other experiences. Through conversation, we create a common ground from which we can explore the issues and problems of our professions and practice, as well as potential solutions. Conversation is the engine for work, for community, for decision-making, and for collaboration. However, the conversations we have at conferences are ephemeral. If we could find a way to make the conversations persistent, what effect would that have on our ability to construct knowledge collectively?

Talks about moving from virtual interaction to f2f (we should have conference name tags that transmit our online identities and can be set to alert us if we are in proximity to someone with whom we have an online relationship, it's possible, I saw it on morning tv... )... The important point that we don't have to choose between online and f2f interactions or the interface between the two
We tend to think of a virtual space as some sort of alternate electronic analog for face-to-face, as a replacement location when the physical is not available. Given the evolution of increasingly sophisticated social software and of the social architecture that can manage its effective uses, we might realize significant advantages if we think of virtual spaces as interwoven or intertwined with face-to-face experiences in equal partnership. The combination may augment the benefits of each—through complementarity (the strengths of each compensate for the weaknesses of the other) and synergy (the joining creates properties that did not exist when the experiences were separate).

Social Software| Social Networking|Virtual Communities|Conferences
  A couple of new products
A9's new yellow pages. Pointed out by WashPost's TechNews e-mail newsletter. Here's the full article. (free reg req, find via a database using this citation: David A. Vise, "Web Yellow Page Search Gets Image Boost" Washington Post (Thursday, January 27, 2005): E01. )

Pretty cool. Allows you to see the neighboring businesses (... I forget the name, but I know it's right next to my favorite restaurant...), pictures of some businesses in some large markets, and allows you to phone the business directly through Amazon. Very nice. We just need to have GPS on our phone, or image matching so that you can take a picture of the business in front of you and find their number, reviews, or where you are!

And now on to something completely different...

Randy pointed out a new social bookmarking product developed by the active Nature Publishing Group's New Technology team* called Connotea . It is something like CiteULike mixed with del.icio.us but for scientists. Beyond the typical del.icio.us features, it's supposed to scrape more bibliographic information from Nature publications and PubMed. CiteULike didn't work that well for me, but I'm willing to try this and see. They are also trying to work out how to get it to import RIS files (exported from bibliographic managers like ProCite and from research databases).

* Timo Hannay is the leader of that team. He presented at Online on "Syndicating and Personalising Content Using RSS" and recently published an article in D-Lib on "The Role of RSS in Science Publishing: Syndication and Annotation on the Web."

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  Introducing a Guest Blogger: Ruth!
Everyone say Hi and Welcome to Ruth who will be guest blogging here! She is the webmistress of the PAM Division of SLA. I'll let her introduce herself.
Monday, January 24, 2005
  Science Library Pad: no conference wireless at SLA
Just in case I get different readers than RA... If you feel strongly about wireless at SLA, maybe you want to read his post and get on board.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
  Google now allows 32-word queries...
This is really only relevant to frequent searchers as the average number of terms is still around 2.8... but it's worth remembering because when searching in large full text databases you need to OR all the equivalent terms if you want more recall.
Saturday, January 22, 2005
  No BlogWalking for me!
So here I am up at 3am to catch my 6am flight -- but all return flights are cancelled... so no Chicago for me. From the National Weather Service (quoted here):
By Saturday night... snow accumulations will range from 8 to 12 inches in areas near the Pennsylvania border. 5 to 9 inches of snow is expected in the Washington and Baltimore metropolitan areas... the northern Shenandoah Valley and Potomac Highlands. 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected in the central Shenandoah Valley.

In central Virginia and southern Maryland... the snow will mix with or change to sleet and freezing rain during the afternoon. This will cause snow accumulations to be significantly less with 1 to 3 inches expected. Ice accumulations up to an quarter inch are also possible.

If anyone's been around DC you know that they freak with even 1" of snow.

I'll link to notes later. I'll also blog some of my thoughts about electronic lab notebooks, etc. After I get some more sleep!
Thursday, January 20, 2005
  Many-to-Many: social consequences of social tagging
Post by Liz Lawley. (I knew I liked a lot of things she says, now I know why... she's a librarian!)

This well reasoned post discusses the problems with folksonomy from a librarian point of view for a lay audience. My background in classification and cataloging is pretty weak and other arguments I've read haven't been so persuasive. We're not just trying to protect jobs or being old fashioned by saying there's a need for professional catalogers for the best information access. There's really a lot involved in actually cataloging or classifying things correctly.

Update 1/24: After reading more from Shirkey, I still think the best access to information comes from professional cataloging, but I'd like to see a compromise. What if when we're all tagging, we get a chance to choose from a list of tags relevant to our subject, that already have built-in crosswalks to other taxonomies? Say I do a lot of blogging in physics. Maybe when it's time to tag my pictures, links, and posts it should suggest tags from PACS or MSC or the Inspec Thesaurus but allow custom tags as necessary. Even if an established thesaurus isn't used, maybe there should be a list of common tags that you can search so that you can pick the right one or a tag checking function (you tagged this USA, UnitedStates is more frequently used, would you like to change?). I really don't think the wild west of tagging does much for precision or recall even if it does promote serendipity. (ok, and I have to also add that the blogger spell check keeps wanting to replace blogging with flogging... how funny is that?)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
  IEEE Joins in! RSS Feeds from IEEE Computer Society
Wow, look at all these feeds. Pointed out in What's New @ IEEE in Computing, v.6 n.1 (Jan 2005). I'm going to have to start weeding my collection of subscriptions. There's no way!

It's nice that they give you the whole abstract in the feed, unlike Science (just gives you less than informative titles like "Caged Gas"). But now I'm being picky.

One huge problem, though... the links take me to a general web page and all of our subscriptions are through Xplore... aack! Now our users will think we don't have access.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
  Blogging SLA 2005?!
I've proposed that PAM (the Physics-Astro-Math division of SLA) should have a group blog for the annual conference this June. Quite a few members are on board and I'll be working with the webmaster on logistics.

Richard Akerman has proposed that we all tag conference related posts with the same "SLA2005" tag. That makes sense. Also, if you can't set up your blog to ping Technorati automatically, make sure that you manually ping it when you add a new entry if you want it indexed quickly.

  My column for the Cutting edge: Neat Newsletters and Fascinating Feeds for Keeping Up: Nanotechnology
I'm now a columnist for the Cutting Edge (the newsletter of the Maryland Chapter of SLA). I'll pick a few feeds and newsletters to recommend each quarter. This first issue (December 04) was on Nanotech. I'm starting with what I know and will expand my reach slowly. Ideas? Comments? I'm thinking optics for next time...

BTW - I'm also the Assistant Editor for SciTech News (the bulletin for the SciTech, Chem, Eng, Materials divisions and the Aerospace Section of the Eng div for SLA). Alas, not electronic yet. Maybe soon. If you want to start writing for publication... this is a great place to start!

Update: I meant to add tags to this post....
Monday, January 17, 2005
  BlogWalk Chicago
I'll be attending the first US BlogWalk this coming Saturday. I'm pretty excited to have been invited. I'm still trying to figure out what I can wear to be warm enough without expiring from heat exhaustion on the plane -- but I guess that's a personal problem!

This post is mainly admin or meta. I'm trying to 1) use tags 2) ping the appropriate Topic Exchange 3) introduce what I want to talk about 4) solicit requests for things to cover.

What I Want to Talk About
The main topic is social software in corporate settings. I understand some of the potential benefits of blogs in corporate settings but I'm concerned about getting a critical mass of participation, privacy, intellectual property, preservation, searching... Interplay between existing document management systems, project management software, enterprise IM (and other synchronous channels), intranet portals,... and internal blogs. Also wikis and the above... Blogs for PKM -- ROI and why companies should support.

Soliciting Requests
I figure I'm the library representative of the crowd. The other attendees are experts at blogs, km, etc., but I believe I'm the only librarian. If there's something you want me to say, or find out, or discuss, please let me know by commenting here or emailing me at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

(here is where I need a list of frequently used terms)
Friday, January 14, 2005
  The nerd meme.

I am nerdier than 66% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

You'd think with my physics degree I'd automatically get a higher score. Oh well.
  Many-to-Many: Technorati tags: Take 2
Weinberger discusses a way Technorati now allows users to sort posts by tag. So this is cool, but more importantly, it's an important addition to the new small movement to post links to blogs where you comment to del.icio.us. For those of us who don't have trackbacks... anyway, it's just another way to see conversations.

Also, it's perhaps a way to get around not having categories. You can manually tag your posts by adding a link like:

"http:// technorati.com/ tag/ topic” rel=”tag”

to the bottom of your posts. That is, of course, if you can actually get Technorati to index your blog at all regularly... but that's another story.
(updated for formatting)
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
  Essays on blogging from Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing
Pointed out by SC who saw it on Weblogg-ed (where the last few sentences have been included).

Some interesting views from the "powerless" of academe on the value or harm in blogging. There's some interesting stuff here on the merging of private with professional in blogs. Adding personal information to inspire trust and connections. Knitting blogs.
  Mmm - these words that I'm eating are so bitter
See my post below.
Ok, so our guy from EI gave us a trial login for the fab new EV2 so that we could play around a little before they go live tomorrow. I have to say now that I've tried it that I'm so totally addicted. It is not dumbed down at all. Wow. If you put in just any old search in the new easy search, it gives you the results, but even better are the terms along the right hand side (oh, I didn't think to use the thesaurus for that term, it really is CV? Most of the articles were in 2002, I wonder why that was? So that guy does research on this....)

The only things I could recommend to change are things that might be coming when they add this functionality to the quick search: 1) be able to check multiple suggested terms, codes, years, etc. 2) be able to easily NOT several of the suggested terms 3) maybe be able to get a scope note for the suggested cv terms

So all of the fancy stuff is still there, they just help you use it better. I was pretty wrong. Hmm.

Update 3 seconds later: I remember now what else I'd like... can I have treatment code suggestions, too?
Monday, January 03, 2005
  Users of other browsers-- do you see the new search box?
Argh. So the gigablast search works really well-- if you can see the box. I can see it and use it in IE, but no joy for Firefox. Hmmm.

update 1: Oh, wait... there it is hanging out at the bottom of the screen...
update 2: Ok, looks better now and I've added an image to the gigablast search screen -- now the search box comes right out of my head. A graphic designer I'm not.

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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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