Entries for November 2005

November 30, 2005

Computer Security Day

Richard Akerman on the Science Library Pad shared information on Computer Security Day, which is TODAY (November 30th).

Computer Security Day is an annual event that is observed worldwide. It was started in 1988 to help raise awareness of computer related security issues. The goal of Computer Security Day is to remind people to protect their computers and information. Officially, Computer Security Day is November 30th. However, some some organizations choose to have functions on the next business day or week if CSD falls on a weekend.

RSS Feeds for Each Category

I spend a lot of times organizing my entries into categories, so that the audience I support can focus their reading if they prefer. In order to give my audience more control, I now offer a RSS feed for each individual category for your viewing pleasure. Just visit my category index page to give it a try.

My code was developed from the example at the girlie matters blog.

See how I accomplished the feeds on my Case blog at the Case Wiki.

November 29, 2005

Are Copyrights a Textbook Scam?

In September 2005, Dean Baker wrote Are Copyrights a Textbook Scam? - Alternatives to Financing Textbook Production in the 21st Century, which was published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

Some of the interesting points that should make you want to read the full 9 page document:

  • "A student working at a minimum wage job would have to put in nearly 170 hours of work each year, just to pay for her textbooks."
  • "Textbooks are only expensive because they are subject to copyright protection."
  • "Copyright protection in textbooks leads to enormous inefficiencies, just like any other government intervention in the

November 28, 2005

Students Desire a Balance of Technological and Human Contact

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Volume 52, Issue 14, Page A41
Students Desire a Balance of Technological and Human Contact, Survey Suggests By VINCENT KIERNAN

Highlights include:

  • 41% of students preferred moderate use of information technology by professors
  • 96% owned at least one computer
  • 75% used a computer to download or listen to music

CASE faculty, staff, and students have several methods to access the full article by electronic means. View all of CASE's electronic journal access on the E-Journal Portal.

Exploring Women in Physics - International Conference Proceedings Free Online

From the ACRL Science & Technology Section Discussion List (STS-L) and George S. Porter:

The IUPAP, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, has sponsored two international conferences examining the difficulties and successes involved in "...recruiting, retaining, and promoting women physicists worldwide." The proceedings volumes from these conferences are freely available online through the efforts of the American Institute of Physics. Print copies can be purchased from Springer, the same as any other AIP conference proceedings volumes.

WOMEN IN PHYSICS: Second IUPAP International Conference on Women in
Physics (AIP Conference Proceedings Volume 795)
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 23-25 May 2005

WOMEN IN PHYSICS: The IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (AIP Conference Proceedings Volume 628)
Paris (France), 7-9 March, 2002

November 27, 2005

Acquiring Copyright Permission to Digitize and Provide Open Access to Books

In October 2005, the Council on Library and Information Resources and Digital Library Federation published Acquiring Copyright Permission to Digitize and Provide Open Access to Books. It is available in full text.

[About Council on Library and Information Resources]
CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization. Through publications, projects, and programs, CLIR works to maintain and improve access to information for generations to come. In partnership with other institutions, CLIR helps create services that expand the concept of "library" and supports the providers and preservers of information.

[About the Digital Library Federation]
DLF initiatives change with needs; as some projects come to fruition or find new support, the DLF invests in others, staying flexible as a catalyst for experiment and change. For example, the DLF has promoted work on the following:

  • Digital library structures, standards, preservation, and use
  • Archives for electronic journals
  • Online collections for use in teaching
  • Internet services that expand access to resources of use to scholars
  • Assessments of the future roles of libraries.

Long-Lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education for the 21st Century

In September 2005, the National Science Board published a report called Long-Lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education in the 21st Century (NSB-05-40).

[Conclusions from Executive Summary]

The weakness of NSF strategies and policies governing long-lived data collections is that they have been developed incrementally and have not been considered collectively. Given the proliferation of these collections, the complexity of managing them, and their cost, action is imperative. The National Science Board is concerned about the current situation. Prompt and effective action will ensure that researchers and educators derive even higher value from these collections. The communities that create and use the collections will have to be fully engaged in this process. Consensus within the communities will have to inform Foundation policy, investment, and action. The need to address these issues is urgent. The opportunities are substantial.

[About the National Science Board]
The National Science Board is the governing board of the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent Federal agency established by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 to:
  • promote the progress of science,
  • advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and
  • secure the national defense.

The Board is composed of 24 part-time members, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They are selected on the basis of their eminence in basic, medical, or social sciences, engineering, agriculture, education, research management or public affairs. The NSF Director serves on the Board, ex officio.

November 25, 2005

ACS Directory of Graduate Research (DGR)

The ACS Directory of Graduate Research (DGR) is the most comprehensive source of information on chemical research and researchers at universities in the U.S. and Canada. DGRweb, the searchable online version of the DGR, is now available free of charge. New to DGRweb 2005 are the upgraded interface and functionality which allow advanced searches of both faculty and institutions.

[About DGR]
The directory:

  • lists universities with names and biographical information for all faculty members, their areas of specialization, titles of papers published within the last two years; and contact information.
  • provides a statistical summary on departments including numbers of full- and part-time faculty, postdoctoral appointments, graduate students, and master’s and doctoral degrees granted.
Inside you will find information on:
  • 665 academic departments
  • 10,858 faculty members
  • 88,983 publication citations
and listings for:
  • chemistry
  • chemical engineering
  • biochemistry
  • medicinal/pharmaceutical chemistry
  • polymers and materials science
  • marine science
  • toxicology
  • environmental science

For the CASE community, the link for ACS Directory of Graduate Research has been added to the Library Catalog and the Research Database List.

November 22, 2005

Google Base Beta - Updated

Google Base is a place where you can add all types of information that Google will host and make searchable online.

You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they search Google Base. In fact, based on the relevance of your items, they may also be included in the main Google search index and other Google products like Froogle and Google Local.

See About Google Base for more information.

Are we seeing the next evolution of the internet? People that do not money to participate in pay services to enhance web rankings or have knowledge of the operation of internet search engines can now tailor their listing.

IUPAC-NIST Solubility Data Series Database

On November 9, 2005, Dana Roth on the CHMINF-L listserv shared information about the IUPAC-NIST Solubility Data Series Database.


A database containing solubilities originally published in the IUPAC (International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry) - NIST Solubility Data Series is now available online.

Mutual solubilities and liquid-liquid equilibria of binary, ternary and quaternary systems are presented. Typical solvents and solutes include water, sea water, heavy water, inorganic compounds, and a variety of organic compounds such as hydrocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols, acids, esters and nitrogen compounds. For many systems, sufficient data were available to allow critical evaluation. Data are expressed as mass and mole fractions as well as the originally reported units.

Scope: There are over 55,000 solubility measurements, compiled from 15 volumes of the IUPAC Solubility Data Series. There are about 1200 chemical substances in the database and 4,850 systems, of which 448 have been critically evaluated. The database has over 1300 references.

  • Volume 20. Halogenated Benzenes, Toluenes and Phenols with Water.
  • Volume 37. Hydrocarbons in Water and Seawater, Part I.
  • Volume 38. Hydrocarbons in Water and Seawater, Part II.
  • Volume 58. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Binary Non-aqueous Systems, Part I Solutes A-E.
  • Volume 59. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Binary Non-aqueous Systems, Part II Solutes F-Z.
  • Volume 60. Halogenated Methanes with Water.
  • Volume 66. Ammonium Phosphates.
  • Volume 67. Halogenated Ethanes and Ethenes with Water.
  • Volume 68. Halogenated Aliphatic Compounds C3-C14.
  • Volume 69. Ternary Alcohol-Hydrocarbon-Water Systems.
  • Volume 71-72. Binary Nitromethane Systems.
  • Volume 73. Metal and Ammonium Formate Systems.
  • Volume 77. C2 + Nitroalkanes with Water or Organic Solvents: Binary and Multicomponent Systems.
  • Volume 78. Acetonitrile Binary Systems.

November 21, 2005

Search Engines & Directories

About.com maintains a Search Engines & Directories A to Z list that includes internet search engines and web directory news, information, commentary, opinions, profiles, how to's, and analyses.

November 18, 2005

Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry

The Scout Report (June 24, 2005, Volume 4, Number 13) showcased Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry.

While Interactive Concepts in Biochemistry is a companion website to Dr. Rodney Boyer's Concepts in Biochemistry (2nd edition), which CASE does not own, it is still a nice multimedia web site for instruction in biochemistry.

In addition to sections that correspond to each of the book's chapters, the web site offers many opportunities for learning. It offers Concept Reviews with quizzes for elementary kinetics, logarithms, pH & buffers, Redox reactions, and thermodynamics. The web site contains various interactive animations, such as cell structure, cloning, glycolysis, or photosynthesis. Using Chemscape Chime plug-in, the web site offers interactive structure tutorials in various topics, such as DNA or kinesin. The web site also includes articles on "cutting edge" topics and various web links for further exploration.

November 17, 2005

Future of Citation Analysis

Kathleen Bauer and Nisa Bakkalbasi explore and compare a couple new resources that allow citations to be counted, in their article called An Examination of Citation Counts in a New Scholarly Communication Environment (D-Lib Magazine (September 2005, Volume 11, Number 9).

Abstract: Citation analysis is an important tool used to trace scholarly research, measure impact, and justify tenure and funding decisions. Web of Science, which indexes peer-reviewed journal literature, has been the major research database for citation tracking. Changes in scholarly communication, including preprint/postprint servers, technical reports available via the internet, and open access e-journals are developing rapidly, and traditional citation tracking using Web of Science may miss much of this new activity. Two new tools are now available to count citations: Scopus and Google Scholar. This paper presents a case study comparing the citation counts provided by Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar for articles from the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) published in 1985 and in 2000 using a paired t-test to determine statistical significance. Web of Science provided the largest citation counts for the 1985 articles, although this could not be tested statistically. For JASIST articles published in 2000, Google Scholar provided statistically significant higher citation counts than either Web of Science or Scopus, while there was no significant difference between Web of Science and Scopus. The implications for measuring impact in a changing scholarly communication environment are examined.

November 15, 2005

Scientific Inquiries of Physicists

Studies like this could have great implications on how scientific students are educated in the future.

Analysis of the Actual Scientific Inquiries of Physicists I - Focused on research motivation
By Jongwon Park and Kyoung-ae Jang (June 27, 2005)

This study was investigated to understand the in-depth features and processes of physicists' scientific inquiries. At first, research motives were investigated by interviewing six physicists who were prominent worldwide. As a result, three main types - incompleteness, discovery, and conflict - and nine subtypes of research motivation, were identified. Six additional background factors were found which might affect the design and start of research. Based on these findings, implications for teaching scientific inquiries to students were discussed.

Recommendations for Graduate Education in Physics

The American Physical Society (APS) has issued the Report of the Joint APS-AAPT Task Force on Graduate Education in Physics (October 2005). It is an examination of the current status of graduate education in physics with recommendations for improvement in the curricula. Find other reports about graduate education on the APS web site.

The report provides a nice history and snapshot of graduate physics education in the U.S. with its many tables and graphs.

November 14, 2005

Dialogue for Free Government Information

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research. (Taken from the FGI Mission Statement)

Adopt & Deploy: The Myths (Technology & Education)

Vijay Kumar, assistant provost and director of academic computing at MIT, provided his Top 10 List - Adopt & Deploy: The Myths in the October 1st issue of Campus Technology.

See full article for more information.
10. Myth: Technology is the reason educators adopt technology.
9. Myth: Technology plans should be driven by IT needs and dreams.
8. Myth: We need whole new technologies specifically for education.
7. Myth: Available technologies, with no changes, can be used for education.
6. Myth: Infrastructure is key, so it

November 11, 2005

Amazon to Sell Individual Pages

In a new twist, Amazon has announced they are working with copyright holders to offer individual book pages for sale or a complete electronic edition with purchase of a print copy.

For more information see Amazon.com to Sell Individual Book Pages (Associated Press, Friday, November 4, 2005 - Updated: 07:35 AM EST).

Microsoft to Start Digitizing Books

David A. Vise wrote that Microsoft is going to start digitizing books similar to efforts by Google. In Microsoft to Offer 100,000 Books Free Online (Washington Post, Saturday, November 5, 2005; Page D01), he reports that Microsoft, in cooperation with the British Library, will spend $2.5 million to digitize books no longer protected by copyright.

Science and Photography Through the Microscope

From The Scout Report (Volume 11, Number 44, November 4, 2005) comes an announcement about a web site focused on microscopic images. Science and Photography Through the Microscope (a web site devoted to microscopy science education) contains images by award-winning photomicrographer Dennis Kunkel.

The Image Library contains over 1500 micrographs of scientific, biological and medical subjects photographed with light and electron microscopes. The Image Use Policy is well posted, including how educators may gain permission to use an image.

November 10, 2005

New Audiobook Format

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been running a series of articles about a new audiobook format, called Playaway. This new format is a self-contained audiobook about the size of a cassette tape. It is battery-driven and offers the ability to control the speed of the narration and place a bookmark. Currently, the prices range from the $30-55, with the next version (already being designed) expected to fall between $20-30. Alternatively, this format may be offered to companies that want to give customers a preprogrammed selection of music, stories, or product information (such as car dealers). So far, the sales have been slow in bookstores but higher sales have been experienced in airports. Vending machine sales are being considered as well.

Open Letter about Expensive Journals

Theodore Bergstrom (Chair of Economics, University of California - Santa Barbara) and R. Preston McAfee (Professor of Business, Economics & Management, California Institute of Technology) have written an open letter to university presidents and provosts about the increasing prices of journals. They recommend universities charge overhead costs to publishers for the support services of professors used as editors. In addition, they recommend university libraries buy less bundled packages in order to negotiate better prices.

Related to their letter, they have created a web site the list the price per article and price per citation of about 5,000 academic journals. They feel a title is "overpriced" if the weighted index of the cost per article and the cost per citation is more than two and a half times as large as the median index for non-profit journals in the same discipline.

November 09, 2005

Einstein Light

The Scout Report (Volume 11, Number 44, November 4, 2005) shared a web site called Einstein Light.

[From the Scout Report]

The basic mission of the Einstein Light site is to present a brief overview of Einstein’s theory of relativity and its relationship to the work done by Galileo and Newton. This of course means they must address such thorny topics as time dilation and length contraction.
The web site uses a combination of flash modules, explainations with or without the use of mathematics, and related links. The web site was created by the University New South Wales, and has endorsements from Science and Scientific American magazines.

November 08, 2005

New Open Access Journal - Speech and Audio Processing

UPDATE: Name already changed to EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing.

As shared by Peter Suber on Open Access News, a new peer-reviewed, open access journal is available called Speech and Audio Processing.

[From Aims & Scope]

The aim of “Speech and Audio Processing” (SAP) is to bring together researchers and engineers working on the theory and applications of speech and audio processing. SAP will be an interdisciplinary journal for the dissemination of all basic and applied aspects of speech communication and audio processes.

The journal will be dedicated to having original research work, but will also allow tutorial and review articles. Articles will deal with both theoretical and practical aspects of speech and audio processing.

New Open Access Journal: EURASIP Journal on Signal Processing and Bioinformatics

UPDATE: Name has already changed to "EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology".

Hindawi Publishing Corporation is preparing to published a new open access journal called EURASIP Journal on Signal Processing and Bioinformatics.

[Aims & Scope]

The overall aim of EURASIP JSPB is to publish research results related to signal processing and bioinformatics theories and techniques relevant to a wide area of applications into the core new disciplines of genomics, proteomics, and systems biology. The journal is intended to offer a common platform for scientists from several areas including signal processing, bioinformatics, statistics, biology and medicine, who are interested in the development of algorithmic, mathematical, statistical, modeling, simulation, data mining, and computational techniques, as demanded by various applications in genomics, proteomics, system biology, and more general in health and medicine.

Future of Libraries - Beginning the Great Transformation

Thomas Frey, the Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute, wrote a paper titled The Future of Libraries - Beginning the Great Transformation in which he highlighted ten trends that are affecting the development of the next generation library. He focused on trends that have to do with rapidly changing technologies and equally fast changing mindset of library patrons.

1. Communication systems are continually changing the way people access information.
2. All technology ends. All technologies commonly used today will be replaced by something new.
3. We haven’t yet reached the ultimate small particle for storage. But soon.
4. Search Technology will become increasingly more complicated.
5. Time compression is changing the lifestyle of library patrons.
6. Over time we will be transitioning to a verbal society.
7. The demand for global information is growing exponentially.
8. The Stage is being set for a new era of Global Systems.
9. We are transitioning from a product-based economy to an experience based economy.
10. Libraries will transition from a center of information to a center of culture.

[About Us - DaVinci Institute]
The DaVinci Institute began as the brainchild of Thomas Frey, a seasoned entrepreneur and one of IBM’s most decorated idea laureates. Launched in 1997 as a non-profit futurist think tank, the Institute has emerged as a center of visionary thought, attracting both a national and international following of idea junkies and business leaders alike.

November 07, 2005

Patent Application for Storylines Pending

It appears that potentially the United States Patent & Trademark Office and our court system may be deciding the future of literature, movies, and other forms of entertainment. A person has filed a patent application for a specific storyline.

The published application can be viewed at the USPTO web site.

See some on going commentary and discussion at Groklaw.

Google Print Controversy: A Webliography

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., on his weblog DigitalKoans, has created a bibliography that tracks electronic publications that address Google Print and related legal issues.

November 04, 2005

Vending Machines

This entry is not specifically engineering related, but it is Friday and some engineering and/or business students might find it quite interesting.

I guess in Japan, if you can buy it, it can be found in a vending machine. Here is a web site that is collecting photos of Japanese vending machines. The site says there are "5.6 million vending machines which works out to be one for every 20 people in Japan." Some of the machines distribute eggs, fishing equipment, alcohol, porn, and beetles.

Federal Funding for Science & Technology Increasing?

As reported by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the National Academies as issued a report on "how the federal government could improve U.S. innovation and competitiveness". Their recommendations include a $10 billion increase in federal funding for science and technology. Key points addressed included:

  • K-12 science education is central to all other solutions.
  • A rapid increase in investment for physical science and engineering research is needed and should not be made at the expense of the recently expanded biological and health sciences.
  • U.S. undergraduate and graduate programs must attract the best and the brightest students from the U.S. and abroad.

The full report can be downloaded for free in PDF, or you can listen to the press briefing.

[About The National Academies]
The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

November 03, 2005

Supreme Court to Look at What can be Patented

The Supreme Court will hear the case of Laboratory Corp. of America (LabCorp) v. Metabolite Laboratories. The specific patent being questioned is US 4,940,658 (July 10, 1990), titled Assay for sulfhydryl amino acids and methods for detecting and distinguishing cobalamin and folic acid deficency.

Method for determining levels of sulfhydryl amino acids, particularly total homocysteine levels in samples of body tissue from warm-blooded animals, methods of detecting cobalamin and folic acid deficiency using an assay for total homocysteine levels, and methods for distinguishing cobalamin from folic acid deficiency using an assay for total homocysteine levels in conjunction with an assay for methylmalonic acid.

Depending on how the Supreme Court resolves this case, it may have substantial implications for the patentability of business methods and even of software. See this blog for more information and a legal perspective of what could happen.

November 02, 2005

Engineering Salaries

Recently I have received several questions about engineering salaries, so I will summarize some of my findings here.

Lucrative Degrees for College Grads
April 19, 2005, CNN/Money
Data was presented from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and a nice table highlights the starting salaries by degree for 2005 graduates.

Graduating Engineer & Computer Careers put out a list of average entry level salaries for graduates with engineering and computer Degrees, but the data appears to be from the late 1990's.

From the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is a table that contains the 2002 median annual earnings of various occupations, including various engineering professions.

The National Center for Education Statistics has put out several tables of annual salary information if you want to see how all of engineering compares to other degrees (Table 1 & Table 2).

On a related note, look at the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics web page to see their description of an engineer and job outlook.

November 01, 2005

Patent Searching Basics

Here is the link to the Research Guide I have created to help when searching for patents. At the bottom of the page, you will find a link to the CaseLearns workshop on Patent Searching Basics from October 2005.

New Open Access Physics Title

Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research has published its first issue.

The criteria for acceptance of articles will include the high scholarly and technical standards of our other Physical Review journals. The scope of the journal will cover the full range of experimental and theoretical research on the teaching and/or learning of physics. Review articles, replication studies, descriptions of the development and use of new assessment tools, presentation of research techniques, and methodology comparisons/critiques are welcomed.

PodSpider Portal

New PodSpider Search Engine Delivers Largest Directory of Podcasts in English, Breaks Barrier of 20,000 Podcasts
Press Release Available by PRNewsWire
October 6, 2005

The new internet-based podcast search engine leaps beyond the Apple iTunes directory, providing access to over 20,000 podcasts and the largest directory of podcasts available in the English language.