Christina's LIS Rant
Friday, March 31, 2006
  CACM Special Issue on Exploratory Search
via John Dupuis (beat me to it!) subscription required (I think) . (also note, two of these guys are at UM with me, and R.W. is even teaching in CLIS this semester)

From the introduction:
Online search has become an increasingly important part of the everyday lives of most computer users. Search engines, bibliographic databases, and digital libraries provide adequate support for users whose information needs are well defined. However, there are research and development opportunities to improve current search interfaces so users can succeed more often in situations when: they lack the knowledge or contextual awareness to formulate queries or navigate complex information spaces, the search task requires browsing and exploration, or system indexing of available information is inadequate.
btw - these guys get the library and information scientist role.
  Filipino Librarian: PhD - Information Studies
Filipino Librarian: PhD - Information Studies

This meme is spreading ;) Yea, Von! Way to go. Congrats.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Gov docs. Finished the agency report.. only one lit critique and 20 page paper to go! Luckily not this week, lol.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,850 / 8,000

Doctoral Seminar
No more lit critiques to go (I actually kind of like these, but never had enough time to do them as well as I feel I should have... especially this one due during the week from hell.) More work done on the paper.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
9,363 / 14,875

A little misleading because I really have a *ton* more to put in and then intros and conclusions to write for the biggie paper. Looks like it's going to head for 7,500 since I'm already past 5k words.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
  I think I can, I think I can...
Still doctoral seminar, tomorrow, no matter what it's back to polish up the gov docs paper. This one shows overall status for the class and the little blue part is what I did yesterday, sigh.
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meterZokutou word meter
7,552 / 14,875
Monday, March 27, 2006
So the obvious comment is that I should be writing instead of blogging, but anyway... still no work on gov docs all ~10hrs yesterday spent on the doctoral seminar. Proves what we already know about nibbling vs. trying to take 2 weeks off of work to write straight through and stopping for a conference (it doesn't work that way, kind of like the mythical man-month)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
6,701 / 14,875
Saturday, March 25, 2006
  Not too much progress...
For the doctoral seminar (no progress on gov docs except that I stopped and read the new article in Searcher on NTIS)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
5,319 / 14,875

I just want to say, too, that I am insanely jealous of Professional Lurker who is actually going to sequester herself in a beautiful Colorado rental house to write her quals paper. Oh, well, only probably about 3631-6131 words left to go on mine, lol, with a draft due Thursday. Luckily I'll have a chance to revise it before submitting it.
Friday, March 24, 2006
  Notes from CIL2006: Friday Afternoon
The Exploding Future and the Value of Foresight
Brian Pomeroy, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

What is exploded future?
Disruptive, Distributed, Diverse

Sustaining technology (steady, linear improvement) vs. Disruptive Technology (unique functionality that serves an unmet need, stable performance, reasonable cost)
(Clayton Christensen The Innovator’s Dilemma (Harper Business, 1997))

Hierarchical vs. Distributed Media
Smart Mobs, citizen journalists, social networks, resource sharing, anytime anywhere media, mashups and web services

UGH more on the “long tail” – yeah, we technically have easier access to the long tail, but information silts up in these patterns (Bradford, Zipf, Pareto… etc) regardless.  I’ll take comments on this, I want someone to tell me or show me proof how this increased access through search or tagging actually does change usage – have Amazon sales changed?  Have library circs or usages changed? I’ll argue that the long tail did not develop through lack of access but other social forces.

The Web 2.0 Challenge to Libraries
Paul Miller, Talis

Libraries – trusted by bypassed online
Reaching out from the library
Library 2.0 platform
Shared innovation

{very nice slides}

How do people find stuff?  Google
How else do people find stuff?  More google, access in different ways

OCLC and UK reports:  Understanding the audience and Perceptions…
Library usage down as measured by active borrowers, but people come in to the libraries
96% of the people OCLC asked have been to a library some time in their life.  From the UK studies, visits to library premises are a J curve! Visits/borrower also up.
MORI study – where do people access the internet (UK audience) 80% at home, 21% at library.  Other places you can go online if you want to but don’t personally use library is 46%. Elsewhere, 25% of people who do not go online do have the ability to do it at home and choose not to.

Other study – 89% population surveyed (UK audience) trust libraries
27% of the population had visited library web sites

The competition http://flickr.com/photos/stabilo-boss (they say they are relevant, innovative, cool, nimble, participative, small pieces – loosely coupled, user centric responsive)

We can do it, too, better. (see his white paper in our package)

Q from the audience (what’s disaggregating the library system)
A the ability to take the black box you get from the vendor and pick and choose pieces/modules and adding bits  -- the library system should be like legos but you can build the model you want, not just reproduce the picture on the box.

Library 2.0

The wordpress opac
The amazon linky greasemonkey script
Some of the superpatron stuff

“Making the data work harder doesn’t always have to be for a worthy cause… it can be to make people feel engaged.”
Share a platform, nurture a community

The notion of platform
We all need to insist our vendors build platforms that allow these projects
The platforms
Making use of the platform
Working together – shared innovations
http://tdn.talis.com , creative commons license

His final thoughts: the library deserves to reach beyond its walls, vendor and library silos don’t make sense, share innovation… and a big ad for the company, but overall acceptable.

Project Croquet
Marshall Breeding, Vanderbilt

(open croquet)

Croquet is completely built on collaboration, multi-user, real-time
Architects are the biggies (Alan Kay, Julian Lombardi, etc)
{played a presentation by Lombardi}
User interfaces are basically the same as print documents, as they have been since the first Apple window type environment and we’re locked in.  We still think about documents.  Metaphors of windows, documents – from PARC, Alan Kay in part – is what we have. We don’t need to be tied to the document metaphor anymore – it makes sense in the real world but not given what we can do with computers.  Courseware is using the metaphor of the book – but the most important thing about learning is not the textbook, it’s about the interaction and the learning.

Web as a metamedium as an integration of multiple channels not at the code level but at the user level.  P2P technology, supports the delivery of a massively multiple user environment (did I get that right?).  Cirque de Croquet?  No game server, replication of computation across machines., shared p2p, virtual reality system.  (it’s really kind of like the Simpsons when Homer got sucked into virtual space)

Co-browsing w/no central server, independent of operating system. Some of this really looks less impressive than some video games, and some other systems like some online games like wow and others (not a participant, but it’s been demonstrated for me).  We’re not really sure how a floating spreadsheet would really help.  I’m a little skeptical, as usual, but I’ll probably eat my words, as usual.
  Notes from the Exhibit Floor: the way cool Biovista
Notes from the Exhibit Floor:  the way cool Biovista

This is what I’m talking about – uses of the STM literature and the capabilities of the NIH databases to visualize information in new ways and make new connections and new science discoveries.  To get the unexpected connections you can’t get through standard search.  If you are in bioinformatics, you should probably already know about this product.  One of the presenters at DASER really gave us a great pep talk on bioinformatics and how librarians can help (I’m writing this offline in another session, so not able to link or look this up :(  ) but I think this tool actually makes it doable while still using the valuable NIH information tools.

I probably talked with Drs. Aris and Andreas Persidis for an hour – totally monopolizing their time and keeping me from running home and working on that paper (well and the other one, and the third one…)

The current tool uses medline, genebank, and other databases and does visualization using Y-graph.  The facets (or buckets or bins) appear on the right or if you right click, you can see the strength of the ties between items and you can show the commonalities on many other facets.  I’m  having a hard time explaining it now but you search a general topic – like a type of cancer.  Then (something I understand) you can map the authors and see which two authors, three authors, etc., both looked at using the same drug to treat the same problem… Any bioinformaticians in the house?  Another thing does a Bayesian thing that helps you to find analogs on the various facets (find another disease that attacks the same thing that can be fought with x drug…)

They gave me a couple of white papers which talk a little more about this.  One of them is a reprint from what looks like a journal article (I’m offline right now so don’t know anything about this journal) A. Persidis, S. Deftereos, and A. Persidis. (2004) Systems literature analysis.  Pharmacogenetics 5, 7, 943-947.  A quote:
A basic tenet of systems biology is the need to examine biology in terms of the dynamic structure and inter-relationships of all the components of a call or organism, and not the individual constituents in isolation.  By analogy, SLA treats large sets of scientific literature as a system of millions of interconnections between research parameters, such as genes, diseases, tissues, cell events, model organisms, and experiment types.

They’re also looking at other subject areas besides biochemistry to apply this work.
  CIL2006: Notes from Friday Morning

Lee Rainie, Pew Internet & American Life

Younger users of the internet (millenials- 1982-2000)

Keynote 3/24/06

Who’s blogging this? – talked about blogger feedback to previous talks, and real time backchannel comms (btw he looks exactly as I expected ;) )

Time, “Are kids too wired for their own good?” (Cover Story)

Reality 1

Distinct age group based on many measures of generational behavior

Bigger and most diverse generation in history (Neil Howe and William Strauss. Millenials Rising (Vintage 2000))

Reality 2

Millenials are immersed in media

Product > Route to Home > Display > Local Storage

Reality 3

Technology is mobile

Reality 4

Internet plays a special role in their world

Reality 5


Reality 6

Often unaware of ?

Reality 7

Their technology world will radically change in the next decade

Reality 8

The way they approach learning and research tasks will be shaped by their new techno-world

Target rich environment for things to study.

Supporting the World with Digital Gadgets

Hope N. Tillman, Babson College

Before the tour


ZDNet’s Top 10 Gadget Must haves (updated ~every 2 weeks) – don’t necessarily lean too heavily on this, but use it as an overall guide to what’s hot, what’s coming and going


Smart Watches

Smart Phones -- Phone – sms – browser – organizer (no ebooks on most of them so far)

MP3 Players – courseware, podcasting (more than just iPods)

Digital voice recorders – separate or built into device

Video players/recorders – vlogging, videocasting

Digital cameras

Pocket scanners – reading pens, scan store send, translation, reads aloud, dictionaries

Digital pen – take notes by hand on a special type of paper, like a tablet pc but cheaper, lighter, smaller – 40 pages at a time (who will take this up? Old timers used to handwriting notes?)

Security everywhere – RFID, biometrics like fingerprint recognition

Special purpose chips – like debit cards, jump drives, IBM soulpad (operating system)


Remote controls (universal)

Game machines (she provides some good cites and places to find more info)

GPS – geocaching, pc-based, smart phones

What toys do your toys have (like build a bear) -- Solar powered backpack, Protective covers, Cases

Library applications

What’s Next

The Future of Catalogs

Roy Tenant, California Digital Library

What catalogs do well (not ILS so not talking about circ functions or acquisitions functions)

- inventory control (what you have where it is)

- known item searching, within a particular system

The short list of what they don’t do well

- anything searches besides known item

- locating anything beyond books and journal titles (not journal articles)

- displaying results in logical groupings, display complexity as needed

- no faceted browsing (mostly)

- no relevance ranking

- no recommender services

How we got into this mess? Magically?

- began in circulation and technical services

- public access was an afterthought

- systems were optimized for librarians, not users (sounds familiar)

- we don’t use what we know about our materials (finally OCLC is working on this, see post from yesterday’s session)

Key problems

- conflated managing content, inventory control and discovery

- stovepipe systems (systems don’t play well with others)

- abdicated all responsibility to vendors

- we’ve been slow to exploit new opportunities

- we collaborate on sharing materials but not on building systems and coding (starting to change, hopefully)


- catalog is one finding tool among many (isn’t this part of the problem, though? That users don’t know when the library catalog is appropriate?)

- users need to know more about what they can get if they can wait a little bit via ILL or cooperatives

- users need to find more information of different types

- we can do better

Catalogs must

- interoperate

- function well as a standalone, part of a unified finding tool

- refocused on local inventory only

Good things happening:

- Reports: California report and also new report from Karen Calhoun (Cornell) Changing - Nature of Libraries and ….

- Demo.gapines.org (open source library system to go live in the fall)

- RedLightGreen

- Curiouser, fiction finder from OCLC (see yesterday’s notes)

- library.csusm.edu/search/books – x9 books using xlibris metalib to find books

Catalogs for the Future

Andrew Pace, NCSU

“library automation: yesterday’s technology tomorrow”

“ILS vendors squandering our money and doing exactly what we ask them to do”

{out of battery no more notes}

{after the session in the press room}

Some great comments here. If I can only remember them! Oh yeah – you know how libraries are all bent around the axel about FRBR? NCSU asked Endeca and gave a long explanation of what they meant – Endeca said, oh yeah, product rollup, that’s easy. They do this all the time like for a clothing store where they’ll put the purple shirts with the pink of the same cut.

  A tiny post on the Britannica rebuttal
I learned about the rebuttal via Brian S. on PAMnet 3/22 and it's since been talked about quite a bit in the blogosphere.

I read Blown to Bits by Evans and Wurster (Harvard Business School Press, 2000). A major case study of a company failing to see the writing on the wall was Britannica. Even when much lesser encyclopedias were going electronic, they resisted. Then they couldn't figure out how to allow access. So Encarta, which was based on a less than perfect print encyclopedia, has picked up all this market share because of marketing because for many, it's what's easy, not what's best.

Anyway, I'd have to look at the Nature article again but if what Britannica says is true, I'm pretty much horrified. I think we need to know a lot more about the methodology and the reports from the scientists.

What I really wanted to post was a bravo for Britannica finally standing up for themselves. This time, they didn't let Nature bully them, but carefully and scientifically responded -- exactly in the parlance of the scientists who published the original article. I can only hope they'll get the same press as Nature, but I fear that isn't the case.

I'm all for Wikipedia, but I use Britannica, too. We have access to Britannica online at work, but it's just not great to use so I always trot out to the print one (which is actually dog-eared and well loved).

Update: I never have been able to spell it but I think it's right now.

Update 2, 3/26: Jim Giles left a comment here with Nature's reply to the reply. I still think this is healthy all the way around. It's good to understand a little more about how science works (what's opinion, what's really fact, what can be either true or false, that really smart people can disagree, and what belongs in a general purpose encyclopedia), about authority, about traditional and new reference sources. I also think this quote from the new Nature press release is telling:
[Britannica] also objects to the fact that in some cases we took material from Britannica’s Book of the Year and its Student Encyclopedia. This was done in a few cases when the Britannica website provided articles from these sources when queried on the pre-determined topics; as we said, the survey compared the content of the websites.
The reason I picked this quote is that Britannica's web site does do this, in my experience. They compared what an average user would have found had they done the search. I'm not quite sure what Britannica yearbooks are, I'm sorry to say (I remember moving them at one point to make room for something back in my public library days), so I really don't know that an average customer would know which search result to pick. They would probably just look for the search terms in the results.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
  CIL2006: Notes from my blog searching talk
First - it was a great turnout. Thanks, too, to my friends from "the government" who came to see me and all of the other friends in the audience.

I spent probably a little more time than strictly necessary placing my talk in the context of the conference and library world, but I thought it was important to emphasize (repeatedly) that all librarians in all settings should be competent in searching the internet using advanced features and should be at least familiar with searching blog content as it is 1) valuable 2) structured and different from searching the general web. One thing I hadn't thought of was brought up by an audience member: law firm librarians should be able to do this to look for what's being said about high profile cases and clients, too.

For blog specific search engines, I mentioned some general caveats:
  1. may only search feeds
  2. splogs
  3. short time coverage
I showed Technorati
For general search engines:
Please see the handout (pg12 in the proceedings or archived here).

Greg "open stacks" Schwartz had a great session on podcasts. My notes are at home, though, so I'll try to post something later on that.

  CIL2006: Notes from the Exhibit Hall
At the Thompson ISI booth, a little clarity about WCI:
Talked to the Palinet Folks, should be on their new Podcast. If you're in the Palinet area, check out their blogs and all on their web page.

Springer has a very small booth here. Talking about the Chinese Library of Science, Russian Library of Science (really MAIK titles - see discussion on PAMnet and elsewhere about these, apparently $$$ with the move to new host). They are also upgrading SpringerLink -- my question was whether this will help access to L-B at all... not sure.

Wiley's here. Elsevier's here. CSA's here. CRC Press is here.

SLA's here and so I chatted with them a bit. I also chatted with the nice guys at IEEE - I've talked to them quite a bit recently so nothing really new to report from my standpoint.

Ebsco is here -- talked a little about their new International Security & Counter-Terrorism Reference Center (ISCTRC), they're hyping this for open source intelligence usage (which I guess is hot right now), but I'm not totally sold. Compare, for example, to Silobreaker.com or in fact what a decent librarian can do using search engine librarian ninja tricks.

I asked L-N for more information on blog coverage in their CI products, so hopefully they'll get back to me on that.

TLC's here giving out Swedish fish and showing the very cool AquaBrowser. Howard County seems to be very happy with their implementation.

  CIL2006: Notes from Thursday Morning

Megan Fox


A really cool tour of what universities are doing and what’s coming for mobile devices. More than just maximizing sites to be viewed on mobile devices, there are new services that make use of things like the camera phone. We heard a little about this from Gary Price in other presentations, but apparently we’re closer to having visual mobile search. It’s still pretty limited, but you’ll be able to take a picture of a movie billboard and send it to a specific site and get reviews, buy tickets, etc. It’s limited because it has to know that you’re sending movie info or CD info – it’s not just find more information about a random image. She mentioned something where you could be in the bookstore and snap a picture of a book and put a copy of the book on hold at your local library. I’m not sure who would pay to develop such a system – certainly not the bookstore!

Also, apparently if you buy movie tickets at Fandango, you can display the ticket on your screen and the barcode can be scanned directly from the screen – no need to print a verification or stand in line when you get to the theater.

Exploiting the Value of Structured Metadata

Lorcan Dempsey

(came in late, at ~10:45)

Greasemonkey Script

Web service – sits on the network

Greasemonkey script, finds an ISBN, looks up information in the OCLC web service

Mining exploring exploiting data we have about books, making the data work harder

Automatic guess at audience level based on what libraries hold it (school=0, public=0.33, academic=0.66, arl=1.0) gives a hint about content, also provides party game to guess J - added to Amazon page using Greasemonkey

Live Search

Like google suggest – brings back results based on what you’ve typed so far (not what others have searched), FRBR-ized results. Satisficing results.

Ajax interaction (in the browser, not going back and forth to the server), has indexed every three words in the database, ranked by holdings (OCLC-wide?), on the lhs class numbers for things retrieved (DDC numbers)

See also: LCSH Live

Fiction Finder

Fiction records from WorldCat, show genre, setting, clustered using FRBR-inspired system, faceted browse, new interface Spring 06

Browse by general term, returns work level results, ranked by holdings (so 1 Don Quixote, w/2k editions each with holdings), with format (audio books, large print, e-books, etc.), in facets, links to find in a library

Special indexes for fiction such as fictional characters (sandman), setting

Web 2.0

Flat applications – lightweight service composition and web services

Rich interaction – Ajax

Data is the new functionality – make the data work harder, get your moneys worth from years of building and collecting data, what can we say about books that will help our users based on the data we have


Audience questions

Non-fiction finder?

FRBR will be, looking at what other things can benefit from this approach, maybe music

API? -

To google, yahoo

Will be a search box that can be included

Will be more of a user interface

Are considering more machine interfaces

Can we build the audience thing into our software?

Available same as xISBN, in Greasemonkey, web service, and as user interface

Yes, but on an as is basis

Whew- fixed ...

The dreadful SMENITA problem has been fixed, apparently by deleting cookies, again.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  CIL2006: Notes from Wednesday Morning
Wikis in action @ Binghamton University Libraries
Bordeaux, Rushton, Strong
(soon available on their university library web site and the CIL website)

Intranet wiki for staff (100+)
Remotely hosted wikis since 2005 – committee reports, projects, comments on strategic plan, not comprehensive
Existing intranet site, with one person doing all the posting
Implementation task force
Now/future work
Help Files
Training, sandbox, hands-on

20-30 of MaryEllen Bates’ Tips
See the proceedings for more

“more like this”-type feature from Yahoo does NLP on a page you like to extract keywords and find more results like the given page.

Kebberfegg from Tara Calashain
Categorized web feeds

University/IPL pathfinders

Yahoo search subscriptions (pages that have pay per view but free search – like FT, Forrester, WSJ, Factiva) search.yahoo.com/subscriptions nb: may be limited, you may

AccessMyLibrary.com pre-search InfoTrac (from Thompson Gale), points you to your local library

A9, Gigablast (see custom topic search – I did this for mid-atlantic public library web pages)

New applications of Google Maps (like Craig’s list apartments and DC traffic)

Amazon.com – statistically improbable phrases from search inside the book (find search terms for other databases), text stats (words per ounce, words per dollar, complexity), capitalized phrases

Widgets from Yahoo

Keeping One Click Ahead
Gary Price, Keeping Current

Keeping ourselves current in our profession vs. keeping our customers current
No silver bullet – toolkit or buffet of tools
Set time limits
Remember e-mail! Our customers still use it, not so much RSS (see Yahoo IPSOS study or Pew study)
From Lee Rainie at Pew: “I think your take on it [the survey] is perfect. It’s useful to remember every once in awhile that lots of people don’t obsessively focus on the things that fire the imagination of bleeding edgers.”

Monitor the source.
Newer one: Trackle.
Websitewatcher: this is how he tracks patents from uspto
Kebberfegg – to do keyword rss feeds across various sites

Job searches - Indeed.com, free alerts
Iwsdocumentednewsdaily.blogspot.com – reports on employment issues (?) from Cornell librarian

Web collection dev tools (update feeds, e-mails): RDN (to change names), LII

Vazu.com – send text via sms free (downloadable client)

TVeyes freebie via Yahoo Videos
SearchforVideo.com – metasearch, podcast video

Rita Vine

Monday, March 20, 2006
  Where I am, why I'm stressed, and lack of notes from the SLA-MD session
Well, the short answer is homework and CIL presentations.
CIL - Probably 2-3 hours worth of work still required for those plus I should practice.

Status bars (for the semester) -- my requirements are all in pages instead of words, so I'm converting using 250 words/page

for gov docs:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,350 / 8,000

for the doctoral seminar:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,850 / 14,875

The biggie for the doctoral seminar is due in draft 3/30, along with another 2 pager single spaced and a 5-6 page paper and presentation in gov docs. So that's where I am right now.
BTW found the word meter via ProLurkr
Thursday, March 16, 2006
  SLA Maryland Chapter Blogging Basics

Held last night. Notes to follow (and links to resources mentioned) ... probably tomorrow. Here's a quick picture taken with my camera by Linda H. (Don't I look like I'm trying to convince the laptop of something?)
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
The new open access e-journal on evidence-based librarianship is out. Very cool. I really think the section where they critically review articles is very nice and should prove helpful to practitioners.

via Pam Ryan (Production Editor)
My MSR feed brought me Searching for Your Information? Go PHLAT Out By Rob Knies

So this actually takes into account (according to the press release linked above) some things brought up in the PIM session at ASIS&T last year like
I really like this quote:
All of this functionality is designed with one overriding principle, Cutrell explains:

“Never, ever make people think up front about how to formulate their queries. Let them formulate the query as they’re searching. Start by casting a really broad net; if it doesn’t get what you want, tweak it a little bit, and if you get results instantly when you do that, it feels very natural. You want to do as little brain work as possible to get what you want to get.”
This looks very, very cool and pretty exciting. I'll try it and report back.

In other news... The new Adobe CS2 Bridge has a Mac-like preview of materials and allows all sorts of tagging. I'm exploring that now, too, as part of my job as assistant editor of SciTech News.
Monday, March 13, 2006
  I don't buy the idea that we should all strive toward a single box.
I really don't. Maybe as a starting place in some cases or when looking for a known item... but 1) the user frequently doesn't really know what they need 2) relevance is dynamic and situational -- everything you read adds to your state of knowledge and changes what you will consider relevant 3) people like to browse classifications -- like when clothes shopping -- to have some serendipitous finds... and because they use online references as analogs to the print counterparts with which they have extensive experience.

We keep going back and forth with crowded vs. bare front pages with both sides saying their way is the only way. Granted, much of the discussion is really on the presentation of search results, but shouldn't some samples be available on the front page so you at least know you're in the right place? If EddieBauer.com looks just like PGCMLS.info which looks just like umd.edu... well, that's not where we want to be, is it? Can Google provide access to all the world's information?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
  Back reading about ASK....
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I've probably read this a few times before but it's always worth a re-read:
Belkin, N. J. (1980). Anomalous states of knowledge as a basis for information retrieval. Canadian Journal of Information Science, 5, 133-143.

Belkin's thing in this time period was the ASK model - anomalous states of knowledge. It's anomalous because of "inadequacies in a state of knowledge can be of many sorts, such as gaps or lacks, uncertainty or incoherence, whose only trait is 'wrongness' " (Belkin, 1980, p.137). In other words the user may not know exactly what they need or what will solve the problem. They may not be able to specify the need at all
(cognitive specifiability), be able to put the need in terms the system will understand or the system might have a poor representation of the text (linguistic specifiability). So here's the kicker -- IR systems (still!) are frequently designed based on what the text representation looks like, not based on what shape the users are in, how well they know what they need and can convey what they need.

So we're still looking at pure topicality and text matching for relevance, in some cases, and testing the system with known-item searches. Every system by now should easily be able to retrieve known items.

This is why librarians get excited with faceted presentations like in the TLC, Endeca, EI, and Ebscohost products (turned on late this week, not sure if Ebscohost upgrades are as good as I was hoping but anyway...). It's *not* because we just want more toys (although we do) -- it's because ASK-type situations are more prevalent in our reference transactions than known item searches (once you've taken directional and fix-the-copier questions out of the stats). We're so like goalies today: we don't get the easily findable, we get it after they've tried what they know or when they're in a new area.
Friday, March 10, 2006
  Happy customer, found a book via open worldcat...
and he was *so* surprised, too. Didn't think we'd have it, didn't consider even looking, wasn't sure if he had borrowing priviledges...


Thank you OCLC.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Wow. Found via Science Library Pad.

Very, very, very cool. The trackback thing in Arxiv was kind of cool, but with the editorial policy (via) and all, doesn't perhaps have the ability to work so well.

Why not try something like this for physics? I'd love to see it.

Update: I read the posting on the editorial policy and the thoughtful comments that went along with it yesterday when I left work. The more I think about it, the worse I think the policy is. The problem, as I see it, is that many new ideas come from outsiders or boundary folks who publish in interdisciplinary places or in other disciplines. Yeah, there's the whole invisible college thing, but every community needs some gatekeepers who are boundary spanners. These people won't get to comment on the arXiv papers and have the trackbacks appear -- by definition. Also, it would be one thing if physicists only posted physics papers to arXiv. As it turns out, they publish citation analyses, bibliometrics, scientometrics, information seeking/use, social network analysis, etc., papers. So a physicist can publish something totally outside of his field -- in my field, for example -- and I can't reply because I'm not a practicing physicist? Huh. I would like to point out the fascinating conversation on the SIGMETRICS-L in re the prestige vs. popularity article on arXiv -- this is a good example of how visibility of the conversation would be helpful for people encountering the article on arXiv.

Update 2: Turns out that there exists something for the same purposes, if not the same, in physics. It's called Physics Comments: Scholarly Discussion of Physics Note, too, on the lhs, down a bit, "Focused Forums." Hmm... informal scholarly sci/tech comms...
  Hyperlinks to establish referential identity and so common ground in blogs...
A seminal work in the communication literature that we're looking at in our doctoral seminar is the famous Clark and Brennan (1993) piece on common ground. It discusses how common ground is established in conversation and also reviews how features of different communications channels help/constrain grounding and how common ground can be different when communicating over different channels. For example, e-mail is reviewable and revisable, but not cotemporal or audible (in the traditional view). Common ground is established via the least collaborative effort required for the channel.

So this seems obvious, but it's worth making the connection to the literature. Referential identity is "the mutual belief that addressees have correctly identified a referrant" (Clark & Brennan, 1993, p227). In f2f conversation it is frequently done by actually pointing to a physical object (indicative gestures) -- this desk here, that pen there, go left down there. This is something that is difficult even in video conferencing because of the wierdness of framing (more on this in Olson & Olson 2000), etc. In blogs, we refer very specifically to points in text by linking. The formulation and production costs are higher (actually finding and coding in the link) but the collaborative effort is less than without the link because the understanding is quicker - especially for one who is familiar with the referrant but needs to be reminded.

I think the blogosphere has talked more about links establishing common ground in that they establish a common history and context. I link to librarians therefore I have an affinity towards librarians and/or I am one. More of placeing a person in their discipline via their blogroll and linking... but blogs are conversation...

Maybe this is all obvious.... ah well, I've spent the time typing it so I'll post :)

Clarke, H. H., & Brennan, S. E. (1993). Grounding in communication. In R. M. Baecker (Ed.), Readings in groupware and computer-supported cooperative work: Assisting human-human collaboration (pp. 222-233). San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Olson, G. M., & Olson, J. S. (2000). Distance matters. Human-Computer Interaction, 15(2-3), 139-178. (eprint available via CREW at http://www.crew.umich.edu/publications/00-04.pdf )
  Bloggers' Responses to Web Watch
WP Columnist Rob Pegoraro asked "why do you blog?" and got some very thoughtful responses.
Friday, March 03, 2006
  Call for papers -- ASIST SIG/CR workshop 2006
17th Annual ASIS&T SIG/CR Classification Research Workshop: Social Classification: Panacea or Pandora?

I'm not posting this because I'm at all qualified to submit a proposal, rather that I'm so excited that they're asking people who *are* qualified to do real work. It seems that the plethora of LIS researchers in classification have not addressed this subject while people who really haven't formally studied classification have had all the say.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
  Kind of lame: Issues in Science and Technology Blogs

So this article came through in my EI feeds today: Finneran, Kevin. "To Blog, or Not to Blog." Issues in Science & Technology Vol. 22, Issue 2 (January 1, 2006). F/T in Academic Search Premier, but strangely, not on their web page.

Of course, blog lovers do not mind wasting a little time because even a mediocre blog might be entertaining. But you are reading Issues in Science and Technology, and I have come to the painful realization that our readers are, demographically speaking, not among the most fun-loving quartiles. It appears that conducting research, writing books and articles, managing companies, working in Congress, or trying to influence policy takes its toll on your impish, fun-loving spirit. In fact, much of the irreverence found in blogs is probably aimed at you. Besides, even if you do enjoy a little anarchic fun now and then, you don't have a lot of spare time to look for it.

With the pros and cons of blogging in mind, Issues is going to launch an experiment in its own form of blogging. Blogging 2.0 will be brief and timely, but it will come from experts who do not have the luxury of facile irreverence. Rather than having one person spout off on any and all topics, we will have a team of bloggers who will each focus on the areas they know best. Rather than writing numerous reports each day, our bloggers will post only once a week. There will be a fresh blog each day, but the blogger will differ from day to day during the week. The bloggers will have a recognizable point of view, but it will emerge from their knowledge rather than their attitude. They will be engaging writers, but they will win your attention with insights, not insults.

Ugh. So if you look at the three blogs (only 3, my week has 7 days, but it may be different in Texas), they're hosted on blogger... It's like the editor totally doesn't get it. So many involved in the sciences and technology do. Argh!

Plus, he starts by insulting bloggers and his readership. Way to go! So this is funded by the NAS? Joy.

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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 Kirk Pikas

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