Entries for August 2007

August 28, 2007

Updated Engineering Reading Room & Office Hours

For the Case community, I will be posting announcements about the Engineering Reading Room and my office hours in Nord Hall on my blog.

See the Engineering Reading Room web site for updates as they occur. You may also subscribe to a RSS feed that contains only information related to the Engineering Reading Room.

Engineering Librarian Office Hours (Nord Hall 510) - Week of August 27th
  • August 27 (Monday): OFF
  • August 28 (Tuesday)): 12pm-4pm
  • August 29 (Wednesday): By Appointment
  • August 30 (Thursday): 8am-12pm
  • August 31 (Friday): By Appointment

* Hours subject to change so watch web site or RSS feed .

* Appointments available for other times, see web site for contact information.

Engineering Reading Room (Nord Hall 509)

  • Open 24x7

  • Includes computer for searching library resources

  • Current journal issues for your viewing pleasure

  • Comfortable furniture available on 5th floor of Nord Hall

August 22, 2007

Second Life - Where to Visit

If you are new to Second Life, Wired (Issue 14.10 - October 2006) has put together a SL travel guide for you. Examples include:

  • The Burning Life festival, which runs the same time as the annual Burning Man festival
  • International Spaceflight Museum
  • CreativeCommons Amphitheater
  • Virtual Hallucinations, where UC Davis medical staff created simulations of audiovisual hallucinations
  • Neo-Realms Fishing Camp

August 21, 2007

Web Hoaxes and Pranks

Are you sick of being contacted by Nigerian royalty or those pesky chain emails? Check out PC World's The Top 25 Web Hoaxes and Pranks (Steve Bass, May 03, 2007) to know what is real and what is fake in today's email driven world.

August 20, 2007

FREE ASM Trial Membership through October 1

Become an ASM Member or Trial Member to be eligible to WIN up to $10,000 in ASM products and services in the $35,000 ASM's Everything Material Sweepstakes.

FREE Trial Membership through October 1, 2007, no purchase necessary.

Wind Farms

With the increased talk about alternative energy around campus, I thought this short bibliography that The Scout Report organized was worth sharing.

[VIA: The Scout Report, July 13, 2007, Volume 13, Number 27]

August 19, 2007

Library 2.0 Roundup

Jennifer Macaulay, a graduate student in the masters of library science program at Southern Connecticut State University, has put together a very helpful collection of resources about web 2.0 and libraries on her blog called Life As I Know It.

August 18, 2007


MathSciJournalWiki is a freely-editable resource for information on scholarly journals, especially in mathematics. It aims to be a central resource for understanding the journal system, both in its academic and economic aspects.

It lists the price history and numbers of pages for many of the journals used in mathematics and physics. It also highlights various news in the math and science publishing industry.

August 17, 2007

Do Patented Items Make Money

Michael Fitzgerald (The New York Times, July 15, 2007) shares the views of lawyers, economists, and inventors on whether the current U.S. patent laws help or discourage innovation.

For example, James Bessen (lecturer at Boston University’s law school) has demonstrated that patent litigation costs are almost twice as high as the profits from the patented items. He is working on a forthcoming book that will document his findings and theories. Some researchers have suggested his profit estimates are too low.

The article also discusses solutions to modifying or demolishing the current patent system. For example, the USPTO is experimenting with public, open commenting to help patent examiners.

August 16, 2007

What is Second Life Best At?

I have done many talk on how libraries are using web 2.0 technologies to supplement and/or provide new services and resources. I often mention Second Life as a possibility that many libraries and librarians are exploring. The common question is "what can it offer that we do not already do". In my personal experience, SL is best for collaboration and programming. It offers another mechanism to offer presentations, discussions, and education opportunities. It works best if you can go beyond the real world physical environments we already react in.

I challenge people to create things in SL that we do not or cannot do in real life. At that point, it becomes valuable.

SL is great for 3-D modeling, recreation of historical events, or other themed environments. These types of educational activities would be very expensive to recreate on a life-size scale and to bring together all the experts needed.

Here is a nice example of a unique activity that can be accomplished in virtual environments, not just SL. Have you ever imagined walking through the environment created in artworks, movie, or TV?

If you want to see how this would made, visit the blog entry describing Robbie Dingo's SL machinima.

August 15, 2007

Google offers 411 Service

Did you know Google offers a 411 service that is totally free? It can be used by calling 1-800-GOOG-411. I tried it for a few random searches. It is not perfect as it is computer automated. If you do not speak clearly or speak too fast, it does get confused.

August 14, 2007

Anthropologist Studies Second Life

A Chronicle of Higher Education Podcast interviews an anthropologist that spent the last two years studying Second Life. Tom Boellstorff from the University of California at Irvine will have a book released in the future to share his findings.

One finding he had was how important SL was to those with disabilities. Maybe this is the niche libraries should focus on as a priority in SL rather than trying to recreate traditional library programming and resources.

August 13, 2007

Web 3.0 on the Horizon

Have you learned everything about how to use web 2.0 effectively? If not, get ready to fall further behind. Articles are already starting to circulate about web 3.0 and what that will mean for Internet users.

CNNMoney.com in an article by Michael V. Copeland
shared how researchers are looking into the efficient use of the semantic web. In other words how can computers help to organize all the data, including that within documents, for the benefit of Internet searchers.

If you are looking for future employment opportunities consider this data from the article:

One estimate pegs the market for products and services stemming from semantic Web technologies at $50 billion by 2010, up from about $7 billion today.

August 12, 2007

TechConnections 8

I presented at TechConnections 8 in June of 2007. I posted my presentation in the past and shared some insight from Michael Stephens and his presentation. TechConnections 8 has posted other presentations as well, including:

  • Windows Vista: Is Your Library Ready?
  • What Does Windows Vista Mean for Directors?
  • Microsoft Office 2007: A Quick Look
  • How to Hack Your Director
  • The Synaptic Library
  • Google Tools for a Great Web Site
  • PC Sign-up Systems

K-Theory Editorial Board Resigns

The Not Even Blog reported that the entire editorial board of K-Theory (Springer) has resigned and in 2008 will be publishing a new journal called Journal of K-Theory (Cambridge University Press) at about half the subscription cost.

IEEE Spectrum Announcement

IEEE Spectrum and Make magazine are joining forces to call attention to the coolest and cleverest do-it-yourself electronics projects. If your university students have designed and built something that they'd like to share with the combined readerships of Spectrum and Make - more than 1 million people - please enter it into the contest.

If you are a finalist, you'll get:

  • An archive of back issues of Make
  • An official IEEE Spectrum Baseball hat
  • Your name in a future issue of IEEE Spectrum identifying you and your project as a finalist
If you win, you'll receive:
  • Coverage of your project in the print and/or online editions of both Spectrum and Make
  • Transportation and accommodations to attend the next "Maker Faire" Make magazine's jamboree for do-it-yourselfers. 20-21 October at the Travis County Fairgrounds in Austin, Texas where they will describe and demonstrate their project
Entry deadline is 1 September 2007.

To enter, send a brief description of your project and include an estimate of how much it cost. Include a photo, a parts list, and a schematic if possible. E-mail them to: spectrum-diy-contest@ieee.org, or send them to: Spectrum/Make DIY contest, 3 Park Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016-5997 USA.

August 11, 2007

Case's Dexter Advances to Semifinals

The Cleveland Plain Dealer on August 10, 2007, reported that Case's driverless vehicle called Dexter has advanced to the semifinals on October 26-31 at a Victorville, California military base.

See the official press release (PDF).

August 08, 2007

Resources, Data, or Tools

Are libraries offering resources, data, or tools to support instruction? Is the difference in the actual terms used just word play? Do libraries not market tools for instruction and only focus on research? Are library tools not good enough?

The Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, 2007) highlights a project asking educators their top ten lists of learning TOOLS. It has caused a ripple in the library profession communication channels as NOT one library tool once mentioned by the first 88 learning professional to respond.

Some have proposed that there is a difference between information resources and learning tools. Libraries do advertise and promote many of the learning tools mentioned but none of the subscription-based or library-design resources made the list.

I think all might be true.

First, surveys should define the meanings of words. But another view is that libraries have a reputation of developing our own terminology. Does that terminology make sense to users? Maybe library patrons do not fully grasp the words "database" or "resource". Maybe the simpler word "tool" is easier to grasp.

Second, libraries have always been good at marketing to people in the physical buildings, but marketing to more and more online patrons can be tough. Online competition is severe.

Finally, maybe we are not focused enough on instruction as a reason to use the library resources. I openly promote a database called Knovel as an instruction tool. I would not take credit for that stance though. One of my professors shared with me how he uses it for in the classroom activities. He feels it is a strong method to demonstrate chemical engineering calculations and develop real understanding. It is closer to how graduates would conduct such calculations in the real world.

August 03, 2007

Second Life Bans Most Gambling

There have been many educators and librarians that have disliked Second Life due to the plethora of "real world" type activities that are duplicated, such as gambling and/or porn. Second Life has recently announced that they are now following U.S. laws by banning gambling on sporting events, games of chance, and the traditional casino-style games.

I am sure the SL entrepreneurs will find others ways to survive.

August 02, 2007

Interface to the Virtual World

Benjamin Chodroff, a Case Western Reserve University student, recently participated in an IBM internship called "Extreme Blue" in India. He proposed an interface to connect real and virtual worlds, such as Second Life.

Wind Power Research

Case Western Reserve University has joined the research and development of alternative energy. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Case Western Reserve seeks to lead wind-power research, August 1, 2007), the university has committed $200k towards a study to research the ability to locate 5-10 wind turbines on Lake Erie off Cleveland's shoreline. Enough electricity could be developed to support 60000 households.