Entries for May 2006

May 31, 2006

Periodic Table of Data

The Periodic Table of Data is a visual database of physical and thermochemical properties of the chemical elements. It includes an interactive periodic table, visualization of properties, graphs, tables of data, energy level diagrams, and games. The data in this resource has been taken from The Royal Society of Chemistry Electronic Data Book CD, London: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2002, with some minor corrections for consistency.

[About RSC]
The RSC is the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. Supported by a worldwide network of members and an international publishing business, our activities span education, conferences, science policy and the promotion of chemistry to the public.

May 30, 2006

Inventor of Firefox to Speak in Cleveland

Blake Ross, the inventor of Firefox, will be speaking at the Cleveland City Club on June 14th. See the City Club website for more information.

The City Club posts podcasts of their speaker's addresses shortly after their presentation.

Internet Searches: Librarians do it Better

At the 2006 Medical Library Association's annual meeting came the results of a study that showed "cancer patients are more likely to find what they are looking for with a librarian-mediated search instead of going it alone."

  • 65 percent of patients said they were not able to obtain the information that the librarians sent to them from any other source
  • Additional 30 percent said the librarian provided some new information
  • Only 4 percent said they found all the same information on their own

May 29, 2006

Who Owns "Web 2.0"?

Publisher O'Reilly Media recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to IT@Cork, a networking organization for IT professionals, concerning the use of the term "Web 2.0" in a trade show.

Read the full article from CNET News.com.

Chmoggle - Chemical Information Search Engine

Under pressure from Google, Chmoogle is now called eMolecules.

On November 18, 2005, eMolecules, Inc. announced the launch of Chmoogle.

Chmoogle wants to be the world's leading free open-access chemistry search engine. Chmoogle's mission is to discover, curate and index all of the public chemical information in the world, and make it available to the public. Chmoogle distinguishes itself by extremely fast searches, an appealing presentation of results, and high-quality chemical drawings. Chmoogle discovers sources of chemical data by searching the internet, and receives submissions from data providers such as chemical suppliers and academic researchers.

Chmoogle searches chemical information by drawn chemical structures, IUPAC name, or by entering SMILES nomenclature (Simplified Molecular Input Line Entry Specification).

The Chmoogle web site also includes Cheminformatics 101 - An introduction to the Computer Science and Chemistry of Chemical Information Systems.

May 26, 2006

Virtual Visit of the Canadian Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) was established in 1989 by the Canadian Space Agency Act. The agency operates like a government department. The president is the equivalent of a deputy minister and reports to the Minister of Industry. The president oversees five core functions: Space Programs, Space Technologies, Space Science, Canadian Astronaut Office, Space Operations. He also looks after six executive functions (Audit, Evaluation and Review; Corporate Management; Communications; Strategic Development; External Relations; Government Liaison) and three Corporate functions (Legal Services, Administration, and Human Resources). The President is supported by the Senior Vice-President and the Vice-President, Science, Technology and Programs.

Take a virtual tour of the John H. Chapman Space Centre. It is really well done and informative. It also makes a nice example if someone were creating a virtual tour of a library or laboratory within their organization.

(Via: The Scout Report, Volume 12, Number 20, May 19, 2006)

May 25, 2006

Comments on Brian Mathews Podcast

I finally got to listen to Brian Mathew's podcast that was created for the participants of ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). He did make comments that hit the spot since I work in an academic library.

He described Academic Library 2.0 in various terms:

- Adaptive & responsive without abandoning identity
- Not all about technology...services, resources, policies, etc.
- Creating a culture of "community"
- Information literacy, or instructing in a skill-based approach, rather than "do it our way"
- Being where the user is
- Social aspects
- Information Commons approach, where the aim is productivity
- Assessment for adoption & knowing your patrons

He highlighted a couple of 2.0 services that he was aware of, such as PennTags. Mathews also described who he monitored students blogs by setting up keyword searches for words like "library" or "research". He could than offer advice or additional information to their discussions.

My university does offer a blog system to faculty, staff, and students. All entries are fed into a single RSS feed (Planet Case) that I do monitor. I have corresponded with several of the posters by highlighting a library or Internet resource that could help them in their research or other explorations. By interacting in this manner, I have received back several suggestions for other resource that I could highlight on my blog or other library web pages. If our blog system ever grows larger, I might have to rely on Mathews keyword search suggestion.

UPDATE: I had to delete some links to sources that no longer exist.

Science & Society Picture Library

The Science & Society Picture Library (SSPL) represents over a million images from the Science Museum, the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and the National Railway Museum. It contains over 50,000 digitised images. The collections include 4000 personalities, the Daily Herald and Manchester Daily Express archives, and the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, William Henry Fox Talbot and Tony Ray-Jones.

SSPL now has over 150 image collections from both within and outside the museums' core collections. These contain over 70,000 online records, including over 40,000 digital images.

Images are organized by category. For example, explore the "Science & Technology" category.

Be aware though. Images are for purchase as demonstrated by their copyright statement.

All materials on this web site are subject to the laws of copyright. You may not use, copy, publish or distribute the images or any part of the images in any way whatsoever. In addition, you may not remove the image identification mark or alter, manipulate, add to or delete an image or any part of an image without permission. Copyright in all the images remains with the Science & Society Picture Library and the collections it represents. By entering the site through one of the buttons, you are indicating that you have read and accepted the above conditions.

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

The Office of Science Education (OSE) coordinates science education activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and develops and sponsors science education projects in house. These programs serve elementary, secondary, and college students and teachers and the public. Users can explore the content by subject area, grade level, or format.

Students might find the career resources quite helpful when looking for an internship or job.

See About Us for more information.

(VIA: The Scout Report, Volume 12, Number 20, May 19, 2006)

May 24, 2006

Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles

The article Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles (PLoS Biology, volume 4, issue 5, May 2006) described a study that looked at the number of citations of open access articles versus pay publications.

Articles published as an immediate OA article on the journal site have higher impact than self-archived or otherwise openly accessible OA articles. We found strong evidence that, even in a journal that is widely available in research libraries, OA articles are more immediately recognized and cited by peers than non-OA articles published in the same journal. OA is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings.

May 22, 2006

EEVL - Changes

From the middle of 2006 there will be some major changes to the current service. As you may know, EEVL is one of a number of Internet subject gateways that together form the Resource Discovery Network (RDN).

As a result of a detailed planning and consultation process, the RDN service is currently undergoing extensive re-structuring and re-branding. The purpose of this exercise is to create a new more consolidated service with closer integration of subject areas, and to provide a single interface for our users.

The current eight subject gateways will be re-organised to create four major subject groups:

(Via: STLQ, May 9, 2006, TechXtra - A New Resource for Searching in Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing)

May 19, 2006

Comments on Michael Casey Podcast

I finally got to listen to Michael Casey's podcast that was created for the participants of ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). He did make a couple comments that really tied together some of our discussions here in ALAL2.

First, Casey pointed out, as many others have, that Library 2.0 is about change. But, he went one step further and defined how he saw "change":

- Change to reach new people
- Change to reach undefined audiences
- Requires continuous evaluation and change for success
- Certain changes do not fit all libraries

His thoughts on an internal staff blog were very interesting as well. The internal employee blog went beyond the expectations of increasing involvement and communication by developing new communication pathways, building trust, and giving people ownership in their concerns and/or comments.

Thanks, Michael Casey for your thoughts on Library 2.0.

UPDATE: I had to delete some links to sources that no longer exist.

Freedman Center & Podcasting

I originally posted this entry on May 10, 2006, but I wanted to repost it to make sure it is included in the ALAL2 podcast RSS feed.

Explore the Freedman Center web site for more information.

How Today's Web Has Changed Technical Writing

The IEEE Professional Communication Society Newsletter (IEEE PCS, Volume 50, Number 5, May 2006) has two articles that address web development and how technical writers must adapt to "web 2.0" technologies and users.

Web Development…How Do You Define Web Development?
by Elizabeth Weise Moeller

The problem is that “web development” is such a broad term, unlike so long ago when the web was first getting started. In the end, I decided to talk about the past, the present, the future, and, in the process, highlight some trends you can watch to help keep visitors returning to your website.
What is Web 2.0 and How Will Technical Writers be Impacted?
by Amy Diehl
Web 2.0 is a movement away from understanding content as housed in websites, but instead views content as “granular.” In this way, the content can be syndicated and distributed in decentralized ways and without relying on the user visiting a site or page in order to find the information or content. With the advent of Web 2.0, or the web as platform, not place, technical writers and designers will need to rethink many of their strategies regarding how their writing works in relation to “place”.

Science & Engineering State Profiles: 2003-04

The Division of Science Resources Statistics (SRS) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) publishes Science and Engineering State Profiles annually. The 2003–04 report, published only on the Web, includes a data source page and a set of 52 one-page science and engineering (S&E) profiles (in Excel) that summarize state-specific data on personnel and finances. Rankings and totals are for the 50 states; Washington, DC; and Puerto Rico.

I have included a portion of Ohio's statistics.

Ohio Science.bmp

(VIA: ResourceShelf, May 9, 2006)

Fuel Cell Mixes with Porn Company for Pseudo IPO

Here is an interesting way to quickly get to an initial public offering. A company that creates a membrane for methanol fuel cells used the old shell of a porn company to quickly go public.

From: CNET News.com Future Tech Blog, March 17, 2006

May 18, 2006

ALA Library 2.0 - My Perspective

All of the discussions about ALA Library 2.0 and its implementation are great (Library 2.0, Open Stacks, Free Range Librarian, and A Wandering Eyre & followup). The ability to provide one's opinion and learn from resulting discussion is Web 2.0.

As a disclaimer, I am a member of ALA and a participant in ALA Library 2.0 (ALAL2). I was asked to participate in ALAL2. I decided to participate for my own and my organization's benefit, just as much as for the benefit of ALA.

I decided to participate in this initiative with the hope that ALA will see the advantages (or disadvantages) of these various technologies and processes. I hoped we would finish with a package of data, experiences, policies, and examples, that could be used by ALA or any of its members to implement or instruct in Web 2.0 technologies and understand the mindset of newer/younger library users.

While I have had many of the concerns others have had about implementation of ALAL2, I am glad it was done this way for many reasons. Mainly because if you look at the "big picture", a "real world" activity has been created. Let me explain.

I have heard some comments that the group of participants has created some hiccups. First, everyone is participating at different levels of time and commitment. This could not be any more "real world" than what we all experience within our own organizations or within ALA. Everyone we work with has different motivations, personality traits, communication skills, etc. I think ALAL2 is one of those times when the final outcomes are more important than the individual contributions.

Second, the participants are at various levels of technology awareness and places in the career ladder. Some are spending more time learning the technology, while others may have been able to jump right into the provided information. There is nothing wrong with this. It reminds all of us, and as a result will be evident in the final outcomes, that our library users span the spectrum. It reminds all of us that not everyone learns the same way. It reminds us that not every process will work the first time for everyone, nor will every user do things the same way.

I think the problems we have had with implementation of various technologies only added to the learning environment. Since ALAL2 is a chance to "play" and share key learnings with ALA (or any information professional), I am glad the learning environment was not totally optimized and error-proof. As participants, we needed to make errors and run into road blocks so that we could totally be saturated in the project and make "real world" suggestions to other information professionals. Someone even suggested the the technologies and instruction methods be tried on others first. BUT, as participants in ALAL2, we are the "others" - the first. It is our responsibility to define what does and does not work, not just "play" with the optimized or ALA-selected way of doing things.

In addition, I have been trying to look at some of the technologies, processes, and discussions from a user's perspective. No matter what library's decide to implement, there will always be patrons that disagree with the choices. We have experienced that in ALAL2 and again it is another reminder of the "real world".

Instructors (and librarians) constantly push their favorite tool or technology that works best for them. It is not until a user points out a problem or an alternative, that all the options might be totally obvious. Otter Group, Jenny, and Michael have molded the ALAL2 experience with the technologies that were best at the moment of its creation. They all have pushed us to try alternatives and bring recommendations to the overall group. Groups have discovered and utilized wikis, OPAL, and Skype just to name a few. A big part of ALA2 was exploration and the initial tools have not prevented that, but in some have pushed for exploration into alternatives.


I am glad ALA decided to proceed this way. First, as with any large organization, an expected procedure or final product, get greater results than others. If this is ALA desired method of exploring Web 2.0 and its advantages for its membership, fine we did it their way. It allows the leadership of ALA to focus more on our outcomes rather than the implementation.

Second, the Otter Group has provided several advantages. Again, I will go back to "real world" scenarios. By having the Otter Group manage the technology, we have simulated a large number of the library organizations that utilize external IT support or are at the mercy of a larger organization's IT department. It cannot be any more "real world" than that. Second, I bet Jenny and Michael are learning more from the experience and able to add more to the final product by being active participants, rather the techies. Their knowledge is more valuable in the discussions than in teaching people to use a new form of technology.

My Conclusion
I guess this is one time where I was glad ALA was hands off and introduced as many variables as possible. It allows ALA's leadership to be a spectator, and learn from the discussion between ALAL2 participants and others following along. I think if ALA would have done it any other way, too many preconceived notions of the future of Web 2.0 within ALA would have crept into the picture and defined the experience. I think the implementation, the participants, and the freedom to adjust as needed has created a "real world" environment that has allowed us to be the test tubes for others.

I hope others are as eager as I to see the final suggestions and outcomes of ALAL2, and are optimistic that our hard work will lead into implementation within ALA and/or the organizations of its members.

TechXtra (Formerly EEVL Xtra)

In October of 2005, I shared information on EEVL Xtra. It appears the new name is TechXtra.

From the press release:

TechXtra suite of free services simplifies access to technology information

TechXtra is a suite of ten freely available services which simplify access to a multitude of different types of technology information from a host of different sources.

TechXtra facilitates immediate access to the freely available full-text content of hundreds of thousands of eprints, technical reports, theses, articles, news items, job announcements and more. In cases where the full-text is not freely available, TechXtra provides links to vendors for pay-per-view options. TechXtra searches a combination of digital repositories, journal databases, technical reports servers, web information, news sources and more, all with a focus on technology information.

Anyone looking for information in technology will find TechXtra useful, especially researchers, academics, students and practitioners.

The suite of services includes:
Database Cross-Search - This searches over 4 million items from 25 different databases. Use this to find articles, key websites, theses and dissertations, books, industry news, new job announcements, technical reports, eprints, learning & teaching resources and the latest research in engineering, mathematics and computing. Sources include: Australian Research Repositories Online to the World, arXive (eprint archive in computer science, maths and related subjects), CiteSeer (research articles in computer science), Directory of Open Access Journals, ePrints UK (selected open archives in the UK), Copac (union catalogue from the Consortium of University Research Libraries), National Engineering Education Delivery System (digital library of learning resources), NASA Technical Reports (12 different NASA technical report series)... plus 18 other databases. More will be added in the near future.

The Very Latest Job Announcements - OneStep Jobs brings together the very latest job announcements from more than 35 top sources, and presents them in an easily accessible and searchable format in one place. The content is updated many times each day. Sources include: Jobs.ac.uk, ICErecruit, The Engineer, Redgoldfish, Jobsite, Engineeringjobs.co.uk, 4engineers.co.uk, Matchtech, TipTopJobs and more.

The Very Latest Industry News - OneStep Industry News brings together news feeds from over 80 top sources, and presents them in an easily accessible and searchable format. The content is updated many times each day. Sources include: The Engineer Online, Engineeringtalk, New Scientist, scenta, Moreover, Yenra, Control Engineering News, Design News, EurekAlert, Slashdot, PC Magazine, BBC Tech News and more.

Free Trade Magazine Subscriptions & Technical Document Downloads - Hundreds of trade publications and their advertisers want to give qualifying individuals their publications. It's worth it to them to give you the magazine free because you need the information and products described, and their advertisers need a vehicle to deliver their message which justifies the cost of giving you subscriptions for free. In addition, this service now includes free Webcasts, live Webinars, informative eBooks, interactive CD-ROMs, and numerous whitepapers.

On-Line Bookstore - TechXtra users save up to 35% on any title from this bookstore from Pearson Education - books on everything from Computer Graphics & Design, to Programming, Software, Careers and Personal Development titles. Postage is free within the UK and Europe.

Offshore Engineering Information Service - This service gives information about publications and meetings dealing with: oil and gas exploration and production; offshore health, safety and environmental protection; resources of the seabed and renewable energy; and marine technology.

Discovery Guides - Free indepth reports on topical engineering, mathematical and technology issues.

Information about Validated Engineering Design Data - This subset of ESDU contains over 1,300 abstracts of data item design guides. Access to the full text is via subscription only.

Recent Advances in Manufacturing - A database of bibliographic information for manufacturing and related areas, covering items in over 500 niche and mainstream journals and magazines, plus details of books, videos and conference proceedings.

Selected links to top sources of technology information - Internet tutorials, newsletters and gateways.

TechXtra harvests data from external sources using standard protocols such as Z39.50 and OAI-PMH.

TechXtra is an initiative of the ICBL and the Library, at Heriot-Watt University. The ICBL is also the base of the PerX Project, which has produced a Pilot to help scope future developments in cross-searching. Feedback on the Pilot would be much appreciated. A 60 second survey is available, and those providing feedback will be entered into a draw to win £100 of Amazon vouchers.

For more information about TechXtra, contact:
Roddy MacLeod
Senior Subject Librarian
Heriot-Watt University Library
0131 451 3576

(VIA: STLQ, May 9, 2006, TechXtra - A New Resource for Searching in Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing)

Emerald Engineering - Free Access until September 2006

Emerald Engineering showcases practical and theoretical insightful articles, interviews, case studies, viewpoints and more. Whether you are an academic, researcher or industry practitioner, Emerald Engineering can help you find solutions to problems and keep up to date with current research, industry news, trends and debates by providing access to quality engineering information.

Free Access!!!
Emerald Engineering will be available on three levels: level one will be unrestricted access for all; level two will feature additional content and will be available to registered members; and level three will have even more content for Emerald Engineering journal and database subscribers. However, in order to celebrate the launch of this essential resource, we are delighted to give access to the whole of Emerald Engineering completely free of any restrictions until September 2006. Follow the link on this page, then on the Insight login page simply click the "login" button to return to Emerald Engineering with FREE full site access.

It appears four subject categories currently exist: Advanced Automation, Computational Mathematics, Electronics Manufacture & Packaging, and Materials Science & Engineering.

May 17, 2006

Promoting Copyright Management & Access

John Ober in Facilitating open access: Developing support for author control of copyright (C&RL News, April 2006, Vol. 67, No. 4) discusses the role librarians have in promoting and supporting copyright management within their organizations. He discusses educational aspects and managing institutional repositories.

Libraries should be clear and honest about the logic of our advocacy, too, which seems to be: Faculty copyright retention is a necessary precondition for developing new forms of dissemination that (possibly) allow restructuring of some of the economic patterns to be more sustainable. Or, more bluntly, copyright retention and subsequent grants of use (might) reduce/remove (some) economic barriers to acquiring content for research/teaching.
For one thing reader and author visits to IR create a point-of-use opportunity, and usually a specific need, to educate scholars about copyright management, and ensure that they do, in fact, have the right to deposit their work. And while IRs can be promoted as a way to serve the scholar and library interests mentioned above, to be used IRs have to strive for unusually good related services.

Conference - Partnering in Science Information: Necessities of Change

The International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) announced a two-day conference, "Partnering in Science Information: Necessities of Change."

The June 7-8 conference at the National Library of Medicine allows you to network with the new players in scientific and technical information and provides insight into the new relationships and alliances forming in STI across the information lifecycle. Join the key players to see what they are planning and doing in the new digital information environment.

The conference is designed for managers and knowledge workers in STI (including scientists, publishers, librarians, digital content managers, information architects, and infrastructure developers). Session themes include:

  • New Players in the Information Life Cycle
  • Innovative Relationships: Who's partnering with whom?
  • Globalization - Internationalization
  • Moving Up the Value Chain: Information for Decision Making
  • "Repositories" in the New STI Infrastructure
  • National Centers: New Roles, Relationships, and Opportunities for Partnership
Conference speakers include Leigh Watson Healy, Outsell's Chief Analyst, and Clifford Lynch, Executive Director for the Coalition for Networked Information. You'll also hear speakers from Google, Scope e-Knowledge Center, the European Patent Office, Groxxis, Elsevier, and the Korean Institute for Scientific and Technical Information.

Register by May 26 to receive a $50 registration discount for the two-day event. The discounted rate of $250 includes networking lunches both days.

You can register online.

[What is ICSTI?]

ICSTI, The International Council for Scientific and Technical Information, offers a unique forum for interaction between organizations that create, disseminate and use scientific and technical information. ICSTI's mission cuts across scientific and technical disciplines, as well as international borders, to give member organizations the benefit of a truly global community.

May 16, 2006

Skype - Free Calls to Landlines in US & Canada

Skype Introduces Free Calls to Traditional Landlines and Mobile Phones in the US and Canada
San Jose, CA, May 15, 2006

Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced that all US and Canadian-based Skype customers can now make free SkypeOut™ calls to traditional landline and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Previously, Skype users in both countries were required to pay for Skype calls from their PCs to traditional telephones. Free SkypeOut calls to the US or Canada will be available to US and Canadian-based Skype users until the end of the year.

See the rest of the press announcement for more information.

Decrease in Computer Science Students?

From The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog (April 3, 2006) comes information on the potential closing of the computer science department at Seattle Pacific University.

From The Seattle Times (SPU might shut down computer curriculum, April 3, 2006):

Enrollment in computer-science programs has dropped around the country since the dot-com bubble burst. But the U.S. Department of Labor predicts information technology will be among the biggest employment drivers over the next decade, and many colleges are anticipating an enrollment rebound.

May 15, 2006

Jeff Trzeciak's Podcast - My Comments

One of the assignments for Week 2 of ALA Library 2.0 was a podcast of Jeff Trzeciak speaking on the training and roles of "librarian 2.0".

Trzeciak was one of the people responsible for the Next Generation Librarian job posting. What I find unique about such a job posting was not the responsibilities listed, but that a single position was developed to incorporate everything. I have seen people that have SOME of the listed tasks as electronic resource librarians, IT staff, instruction librarians, etc. Wayne State is looking for a single person to provide the innovation to use Web 2.0 technologies to develop Library 2.0 for its patrons.

He described the Web 2.0 technologies as "live and organic". He highlighted how these concepts may be in direct disagreement with librarianship in general, where we have total control (subject categories, keywords, etc.). He also looked at how today's generations desire "what they want when they want it".

Trzeciak says Librarian 2.0 needs to:

-Be transformative
-Look long-term
-Create strategies & partnerships
-Align libraries with parent organization's goals
-Look at successes and failures
But are these just the traits needed by any organization or business to continue to succeed and improve? I expect many librarians or other professionals were "2.0" a long time ago, but now the technology has finally caught up.

Important traits of a "Library 2.0":
-User centered
-Provides staff development
-Librarians in new roles
-Encourage risk taking
Again, I hope some libraries were already set-up like this. If not, the new technologies and user needs give them chance to reconstruct themselves. We can no longer assume libraries will always exist, if we do not change. The value of libraries is not as obvious in today's economy, culture, politics, and user's everyday lives.

As a side note, I have really been starting to use podcasts more often to increase my chance to absorb information. This specific podcast did have some audio problems, but if you a new consumer of podcasts, do not let it scare you away. Podcasts allow for some great benefits such as multitasking and portability.

Blogs about Writing & Commenting on Blogs

1. Entry from Reflexions blog: The Art of Commenting on Blogs
2. The Mentorship Project blog
3. A Pirouette: Commenting blog
4. Successful Business Blogging blog, specifically several commenting-related entries
4. Micro Persuasion in A Guide to Leaving Comments on Blogs

CIA World Factbook

The World Factbook provides all types of information about countries from around the world. Country profiles, rankings, and maps are just a few of the resources available.

The year 2006 marks the 59th anniversary of the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency and the 63nd year of continuous basic intelligence support to the US Government by The World Factbook and its two predecessor programs. See A Brief History of Basic Intelligence and The World Factbook for more information.

May 13, 2006

Google's "First Rule of the Internet"

The CNET News.com daily podcast on May 10, 2006, highlighted Google CEO Eric Schmidt's "First Rule of the Internet".

People have a lot to say...There will be a transition from learned information to learning information...Curiosity will be how you establish your expertise.

Sounds like Web 2.0 to me.

May 12, 2006

Congress Targets Social Network Sites

CNET News.com on May 10 reported that Congress is targeting social networks with legislation.

MySpace and other social-networking sites like LiveJournal.com and Facebook are the potential targets for a proposed federal law that
would effectively require most schools and libraries to render those
Web sites inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of
the category's most ardent users.

It appears the legislation does give parents the right to offer permission for their child to have access. But even that doorway in the law, has great consequences. If the law is interpreted as broadly as CNET suggests, many websites could be off limits. What about libraries that are using these various services to reach their users? Are libraries going to have to get permission for every single website, rather than larger domains? For example, parents says "NO" to Blogger, but what if the library has a website on Blogger?

I wish politicians would do more to promote education and the role of parents than restricting rights.

Another ALAL2 participant's post on this proposed social networking legislation.

Have you read the MySpace Terms & Conditions?

Someone just pointed out to me some of the terms and conditions that users of MySpace agree to.

6. Proprietary Rights in Content on MySpace.com.
1. By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content, messages, text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, profiles, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, "Content") on or through the Services, you hereby grant to MySpace.com, a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services. This license will terminate at the time you remove such Content from the Services. You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Services or otherwise have the right to grant the license set forth in this section, and (ii) the posting of your Content on or through the Services does not violate the privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, contract rights or any other rights of any person. You agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owing any person by reason of any Content posted by you to or through the Services.

As a librarian that has spent time in a corporate library so I was previously immersed constantly in patent and copyright law, and someone that strongly believes in negotiating your rights to your intellectual property before publishing or selling, I was shocked by these terms. First, it does protect users from others users copying, selling, or otherwise distributing their artwork, writing, pictures, music, etc. BUT, MySpace can profit from your creations in any way it see fit.

Ask yourself - how comfortable are you with MySpace having the ability to use an entry from your blog, taking one of your pictures, or sharing your music in an advertisement on its front page or in other marketing methods?

Would an artist or writer have less power to negotiate with a publisher or producer if their materials were already up on MySpace? Even though MySpace's rights are non-exclusive, can this hurt you in developing other alternatives? It may if the producer does not care for MySpace.


FreePatentsOnline.com provides fast, free access to all U.S. patents and patent applications, partial European data, free PDF downloading, free account features, and more. In addition, a user can can establish a free account that allows for saving searches, creating portfolios of documents, saving comments on documents, and getting notified when new patents of interest are published.

FreePatentsOnline.com is a great alternative to the single page Tiff downloads at the USPTO web site.

May 11, 2006

NIH Research

The NIH Budget and the Future of Biomedical Research
Joseph Loscalzo, M.D., Ph.D.
The New England Journal of Medicine
Volume 354, Number 16, Pages 1665-1667, April 20, 2006

The "first true budgeted reduction in NIH support since 1970" is predicted for 2007. See the full article for what this may mean for biomedical research.

Michigan Requires Online Instruction for High School Students

On April 20, 2006, The Chronicle of Higher Education - The Wired Campus Blog highlighted a new initiative for Michigan high school students. The recently signed bill will require high school students to take at least one online class before graduating to better prepare students for college and the work environment.

If you read the attached comments, people do have many questions and concerns, such as availability of techology and training of educators. I do think this is good step in the right direction, especially for preparing college prep students. I do have concerns it increases the digital divide for disadvantaged families if funding for technology or supplemental instruction is not made available.

May 10, 2006

Podcast - Freedman Center & Podcasting Studio

Today, I recorded my very first podcast. I had a discussion about the new podcasting studio at my library and got the thoughts about Library 2.0 from the managers of the Freedman Center within my library. If you have any additional questions, please let me know. My coworkers were very excited to hear about ALA Library 2.0 and look forward to the materials that are shared and created.

Team One Project Draft: Best Practices/Policies For Public Comment on Library And/Or Association Websites

Best Practices/Policies For Public Comment on Library And/Or Association Websites

Client: All types of libraries and/or ALA.

Opportunity: To identify best practices for open comments and conversations on both ALA websites and individual library organizational websites. To explore the promotion of open partnerships and collaborations between library users and association members as partners and collaborators, engaged in a dialog with each other, that promotes individual ownership.

Product/Service: The integration of open commenting using a blog and/or wiki tool, plus other web social communication tools.

1. Determine best practices for the utilization of Web 2.0 communication tools.
2. Determine best practices for open commenting with blogs.
3. Determine best practices for open commenting or content creation by wiki tools.

Comic Strip on "2.0"

The Rhymes with Orange comic strip had a great comic on "2.0" in today's newspaper (May 10, 2006). It is not on their web site for two weeks, but I found an online newspaper that posts comic strips.

If the links stop working (since I know how newspapers can be), here is the basics.
Descartes 2.0
I think, therefore I am. (Person writing with a quill pen.)
I think therefore IM. (Person using a laptop.)

What do you hate about wikis?

I just put a post up about wikis on my other blog that I thought the ALAL2 participants might find interesting. It is about what one blogger hated the most about wikis. I was surprised that most of their concerns were about the user's interaction with the interface, rather than the perceived accuracy concerns that the traditional media targets.

What do you hate about wikis?

A Little Madness blog posted a Top Ten list of things hated about wikis.

My summary of the 10:
1. Easier to create poor documentation
2. Syntax of topic names (i.e. WikiWords)
3. Varieties of syntax
4. A step backwords in how we format large documents
5. Poor navigation
6. Lack of structure or tables for data
7. Method of editing and formating text
8. Poor support for versioning
9. No autosave if something bas happens
10. Wiki discussions

I guess I was surprised when it read this list. I was expecting more complaints about the philosophy behind wikis, but most were just about implementation. I think developments are addressing many of these concerns.

(Via: Jeremy Smith's blog, April 19, 2006)

Is U.S. Graduate Education Losing Ground?

The Competition Worries Graduate Programs by Valerie Strauss (Washington Post, Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Page A06) highlights the strengths and growth in U.S. graduate education but addresses the concern that foreign nations are gaining ground.

(Via: The Kept-Up Academic Librarian Blog, April, 18, 2006, Worries About The Future Of Graduate Education)

May 09, 2006

Meredith Farkas on "Librarian 2.0"

I finally got a chance to listen to Meredith Farkas's take on "Library 2.0" from our Week 2 assignments.

I have always enjoyed Meredith Farkas's commentary on various topics. While she dreams about the potential in libraries (and other aspects of the profession), I feel she is always very realistic in her expectations. She reminds us that Library 2.0 should be centered on meeting the user's needs and expectations, and that technology is a tool to meet those goals.

From her podcast, she outlined her 5 areas in succeeding in today's technology driven information world.
1. Embrace change, because our users do.
2. Questions everything. Specifically look at if the library is doing something for the benefit of the patron or the librarian.
3. Discover what YOUR patrons needs and wants. Not every idea can be transferred from one library to the next.
4. Play with technology.
5. Do not get sucked in by "technolust". Consider the NEED first, not the technological solution.

Thank you, Meredith for your thoughts.

Blogs: Fad or Trend?

Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing shares data on the State of the Blogosphere. The highlights for me were that a new weblog is created every second of every day, and that 55% of bloggers still post after 3 months. See the full article for more statistics and a graph.

(Via: Free Range Librarian & Stephen's Lighthouse)

Who Needs 1000's of Results?

A recent survey confirms that users will give up on search engine results by the 3rd page. 41% of users will switch search terms or search engines if acceptable results do not appear on the FIRST page.

F-Shaped Pattern for Web Browsing

Jakob Nielsen reported on April 17, 2006, that web pages are read in a "F" pattern. Make sure to check out the full article to see the images generated by the eyetracking software. Pretty neat!

The article also reminds web developers of important guidelines to take advantage of the F-shaped reading pattern.

  • People will not read text word-by-word.
  • First 2 paragraphs must state the most important information.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words.

May 08, 2006

Information Systems Wiki

Wiki for IS Scholarship was established for summarizing and discussing articles in and related to the field of Information Systems. The site is hosted by the Information Systems Department at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

(Via: Jeremy Smith's blog, April 11, 2006)

Top 10 Sources

Top 10 Sources is a directory of sites developed to highlight the most relevant content on the Web as distributed by RSS feeds. The editors of Top 10 Sources search blogs, podcasts, wikis, news sites, and every kind of syndicated sources online for the best material. The lists are updated frequently and organized my subject categories. Several categories exist in science and technology, such as science news, controversial science, and thinkers of the web.

(Via: Librarian In Black, April 9, 2006)

Case Center for Proteomics Inaugural Symposium

The Case Center for Proteomics Symposium will be on May 24 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Wolstein Research Building Auditorium. During the symposium, four renowned researchers in the area of proteomics and mass spectrometry will make presentations, followed by a reception in the Wolstein lobby. For more information and updates regarding the seminar go to http://casemed.case.edu/proteomics/.

(Via: Case Daily - May 05, 2006)

May 06, 2006

Chicken or the Egg?

Jenny Levine has asked the ALA Library 2.0 participants to look at can "library 2.0 exist without librarian 2.0".

My gut reaction would be NO. Of course as a librarian myself, I have strong opinions and thoughts on the profession as a whole and its relevance in the information world. Librarians are able to filter free and purchased information, and make sure users get the BEST sources. Librarians can make the search process EASIER. Librarians discover and meet the USER's needs.

Now, after a slight pause, I looked a librarian's role within the 2.0 lifestyle. The technology tools of Web 2.0 are providing the same things as librarians: ease of getting the best (or recommend) sources to the user in the way and time they desire. These tools are being built and implemented by users, programmers, or resources that may be in competition with libraries.

I guess my conclusion to can "library 2.0 exist without librarians 2.0" would be YES. It should serve as a wake up call to the profession. What role will librarians serve in the development of Web 2.0? There are many opportunities for librarians, such as creating & organizing content, increasing ability for users to access information from anywhere & anytime, making processes easier, etc.

May 05, 2006

Sigma-Aldrich Launches Collection of Biological Pathways

On April 6, 2006, Sigma-Aldrich announced the launch of PathFinder, an innovative online resource that offers a free and comprehensive collection of interactive biological pathways.

PathFinder presents biological signaling and metabolic pathways in an interactive, graphical representation of the cell that researchers can use to explore the relationships between different pathway components. The online tool provides links to appropriate, high-quality products from Sigma-Aldrich's first-in-class range, including small molecules, antibodies, enzymes, QPCR components and siRNAis for gene knockdown. Additional support is provided through links to detailed product descriptions and technical articles. PathFinder, developed in conjunction with bioinformatics specialist Protein Lounge, will be launched initially with some 20 pathways. Once completed later this year, the application will contain over 100 signal transduction pathways.

See the full announcement for more information.

(Via: Knowledgespeak, April 10, 2006)

Grant for Case Macromolecular Science & Engineering Research

Tamer Uyar, a research associate in the Macromolecular Science and Engineering department, and Hatsuo Ishida, a professor in the department, authored "Development of Polybenzoxazines and Their Applications as High Performance Composite Materials," which recently received the Young Scientists Grant from the Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association.

(Via: Case Daily, April 5, 2006)

May 04, 2006

Freedman Center - More Information

I have received several comments and questions about my original post that introduced my library's Freedman Center. Let may share some more information.

Let me introduce the facility by sharing the mission:

The Mission of the Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning and Multimedia Services Center is to bring together
in one place a variety of technological resources in order that these
resources support and sustain learners and create new ways of teaching
and learning. The Freedman Center will be an innovative partner with
faculty, students, and staff in providing full-service digital library, language learning and multimedia services so that members of the Case community can achieve their research, scholarly, and artistic goals.
I hope you noticed the full name as used in the mission statement. Something I did not mention before was the language learning component. Students have access to an online language learning website or can use Pimsleur Bookchips in the Freedman Center with materials for 14 languages. In addition, 16 computers have been equipped with Logitech Quickcam Webcams, instant messaging applications, and Skype to promote international videoconferencing to supplement classroom language instruction.

The Center offers plenty of equipment to be used in-house or for lending. Faculty, staff, or students can borrow digital voice recorders, miniDV video cameras, 5MP digital cameras, Apple iBooks, Garmin eTrex GPS Units, and jump drives.

Earlier I had mentioned the new podcasting studio, and Michael had asked for some more information. The Freedman Center was completed last summer and a studio was not in the original plans. As voice recordings were being made for podcasts and other presentations, it became apparent very quickly that some privacy was needed to produce high quality materials. A storage room was sacrificed and the podcasting studio was born.

The recording equipment includes a Alesis Multimix 8USB Mixer, 3 MXL-990 microphones, and a Heil PR-40 microphone. The mixer is great in that by allowing USB interface with a laptop and not being much bigger than a laptop, it allows for some portability. I shared a booth with the Freedman Center staff and a recent Research ShowCASE across campus. They conducted interviews from the booth and demonstrated the equipment and resources to faculty and students.

I will get some better pictures of the Freedman Center and the new podcasting studio, and share them here on my blog. I will also have a discussion about the new studio, how it is being used, and related policies. I will try to even record the discussion as a podcast and share it.

First SPARC Innovator

SPARC recognizes Herbert Van de Sompel, who is the initiator of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and the open reference linking framework (OpenURL).

April 18, 2006

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has named Herbert Van de Sompel, who leads the Digital Library Research and Prototyping Team at the Research Library of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), as the first SPARC Innovator. The SPARC Innovator program is a new initiative that recognizes an individual, institution, or group that exemplifies SPARC principles by working to challenge the status quo in scholarly communication for the benefit of researchers, libraries, universities, and the public. SPARC Innovators will be featured on the SPARC Web site each month. See full announcement for more information.

(Orginally seen on the Library Journal Academic Newswire, April 20, 2006)

7 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Podcasts

Britt Bravo's blog on NetSquared shared seven ways that nonprofits could utilize podcasts, along with specific examples.

  • Talk about what is going on in the organization and in your field.
  • Short, informational pieces about one issue combining voiceover by a narrator and/or interviews with the people you serve.
  • Weekly updates about what is going on in your organization followed by interviews with experts in your field.
  • Have your constituents create the podcast.
  • Be creative!
  • Use recordings from presentations.
  • Turn your radio show into a podcast.

(Via: Open Stacks, April 10, 2006)

Opening Session & Web 2.0

When people talk about Web 2.0, I think usually too much emphasis is put on the technology. I think the technology is only the tools to meet user needs and expectations. To me, Web 2.0 is more of a mindset that the newer generation have openly embraced.

We just had our opening session for ALA Library 2.0, so lets look at the framework used. In my lists below, I will look at a need or trait as addressed by a technology and/or a meeting's structure.

Why the Opening Session Was NOT Library (Web) 2.0
Real-time Discussion
The chat function was not turned on within Microsoft LiveMeeting. Today, many people prefer to discuss items immediately as IM, chat functions built into web sites, cellular phones, and other technology push the desire to react to other's opinions. I think that the chat function in LiveMeeting is one-to-one, but I have seen other online meeting applications that allow the entire group to comment and
discuss without interrupting the speakers. I personally feel more
ownership and larger gains from a meeting, if I share in other's
perspectives and thoughts.

Lack of Mobility
By relying on audio provided by a telephone conference call, mobility was limited for most. If mobility was desired, the costs were pushed to the participants to utilize cellular phones or other fee-based technology. If the audio capabilities of LiveMeeting were utilized, those with high speed Internet and a microphone, could have participated directly from their computer, or in my situation laptop. My university's campus is wireless, so I would not have been forced to return to my office to gather and could have used the pre-meeting time more effectively.

Open Source/Free vs. Purchased Applications
By utilizing, Microsoft LiveMeeting artificial restrictions are placed on participants and organizations. Again, users are mobile and may not
have permission to install onto the computer being used. In addition,
should we pick applications that restrict users to a single web browser? If open source was used, could participants have conducted more customization to their view? Another consideration that an organization must rationalize is covering the costs for applications such as LiveMeeting, if "free" alternatives exist. Of course, we know nothing is totally free.

Lack of Immediate Results
People expect immediate results, such as a copy of their work. I was disappointed that we did not receive an immediate copy of the presentation, so that we could continue digesting the content. Do we hamper follow-up and discussion if content is delayed to the participants? How many people like to respond immediately versus those that respond days down the road?

User options/settings
The way LiveMeeting was configured and the nature of the presentation, very few options for customization were available. Maybe none were needed, but with 40+ participants, I am sure some people thought of some that would have been nice.

Why the Opening Session WAS Library (Web) 2.0
Participants were able to continue regular work tasks or other activities.

I am talking beyond the fact that a large group gathered for the opening session. Smaller groups were able to utilize CampFire to work on details. The telephone allowed for full group discussion (which was a poor answer to some of my concerns above, but maybe the best available at this time for this group).

Participants did have some options. Some people may have chatted in the external CampFire application rather than watching a portion of the presentation (of course, ideally chat would have occurred within the LiveMeeting format). People may have left after hearing that the presentation would be made available at a later date as a podcast. I doubt anyone did leave though with all the interesting content and discussion.

Interaction & Sensory

Surveys, break away chats, phone comments, slide content, etc. People learn very different, and the combinations of technology developed to support Web 2.0 allows a larger pool of people to participate and benefit at the greatest level possible for each person.

Opportunities for Follow Up
With the blog system, CampFire chat, copy of the presentation, and recorded podcast, the learning and discussion is not limited to a short meeting. People can absorb the information at their own pace, and still play with everyone equally.

Ability to Overcome Technical Difficulties with Alternatives
I think this goes back to options. The newer generations are not locked into a single format of communication. As a result, the technologies that have developed have made it easier to overcome technical difficulties. Many more alternatives exist for the same or similar tasks.

My Summary of Web 2.0
Lets make this short and sweet: alternatives, user options, & participation/ownership.

SAE Eye on Engineering Podcasts

Access the SAE Eye on Engineering podcasts for quick 60 second updates on timely topics impacting automotive technology and business today. Brought to you by the editorial staff of Automotive Engineering International, these weekly educational audio broadcasts are delivered direct to your desktop. Listen to them on your computer or load them on to your MP3 and take them with you.

Automotive Engineering International is available in the Kelvin Smith Library periodical collection.

Youths Use Cell phones as Mini-PCs

From eSchool News (April 5, 2006) comes information on the results of a new survey suggesting that today's youth--and minorities in particular--are using cell phones more and more as mini personal computers. See the full article for more information.

This article does bring up some interesting considerations for libraries, universities, and other content producers. Are we producing web pages and data that users can access on a small screen?

(Via: The Kept-Up Academic Librarian, April 13, 2006)

May 03, 2006

Need for Engineers Increasing Due to Aviation Industry

Molly McMillin reports the "demand for engineers is growing in Wichita and across the country as the commercial airline and general aviation industries are in an upswing." See Increase In Work Has Companies Hunting For Engineers (The Wichita Eagle, April 9, 2006) for specific examples.

(Via: Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog, April 10, 2006)

Visualizing the Blogosphere

On the Data Mining blog is an entry exploring the link structure of the blogosphere based on the various structures, such as LiveJournal, TypePad, etc.

(Via: Jeremy Smith's blog, January 6, 2006)

NSF Supports the Development of Modules to Teach High School Students About Nanotechnology

Alexis Abramson, the Warren E. Rupp Assistant Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, received a $20,000 Research Experience for Teachers (RET) supplement from the National Science Foundation to develop modules to teach high school students about nanotechnology. Abramson, along with other collaborators, is developing the Nanopedia, a Web-based multimedia and interactive electric resource on nanotechnology.

(Via: Case Daily, March 24, 2006)

May 02, 2006

Podcasts from the U.S. Government

The U.S. Government has made various podcasts available. From a science and technology perspective, user can listen to NASA Science Feature Stories, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) News and Feature Stories, or the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Research and Development News. Others exist as well, so make sure to explore the full directory to satisfy your interests in various subject areas.

Wiki as a Presentation Format

Here is an example of using a wiki to give a presentation, as an alternative to PowerPoint.

I think PowerPoint is quickly losing its hold on the presentation format, especially as reliability on Internet resources increase and discussions continue long afer the actual, physical presentation. Blog and wiki presentations promote discussion and collaboration into the future.

(Via: Library Stuff, October 20, 2005)

They Are Blogging At Blackboard

Educate Innovate is the Blackboard blog about the convergence of education and technology.

They aim to use this forum to generate discussion about the topics, news, and latest trends impacting e-Learning and campus service offerings; and hope to provide insight about how technology can enable educational innovations for both.

They invite people to visit frequently to hear from their blogging team, guest bloggers, Q&A interviews with education industry thought leaders, movers and shakers, the people who work at Blackboard, and just plain interesting, cool people.

(Via: The Kept-Up Academic Librarian, February 23, 2006)

May 01, 2006

America's Best Jobs

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Wired Campus highlighted a Money Magazine and Salary.com ranking of "best jobs in america".

Some highlights:

  • #1 was Software Engineer
  • #2 was College Professor
  • #7 was Computer/IT Analyst
  • #15 was Medical Scientist
  • #16 was Physical Scientist
  • #17 was Engineer

Universities and Patents

Chemical & Engineering News highlights the annual list of U.S. universities receiving the most patents for inventions by the United States Patent & Trademark Office. University of California ranked #1 for the 12th year in a row with 390 awarded patents. MIT was 2nd with 136 patents. See USPTO press release for more information.

Case Professor Emeritus - Pioneer in Plastic to be Enshrined

In mid-June, at a hotel ballroom in downtown Chicago, Jack Koenig will be immortalized for his contributions to the plastics industry. That's when the 72-year-old professor emeritus at Case Western Reserve University will be formally inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame. See full article from the Plain Dealer (March 21, 2006).