Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Google Scholar’s Coverage of the Engineering Literature

Interesting article by John J. Meier and Thomas W. Conkling, Google Scholar’s Coverage of the Engineering Literature: An Empirical Study, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, May 2008. Google Scholar’s coverage of the engineering literature is analyzed by comparing its contents with those of Compendex, the premier engineering database. Records retrieved from Compendex were searched in Google Scholar, and a decade by decade comparison was done from the 1950s through 2007. The results show that the percentage of records appearing in Google Scholar increased over time, approaching a 90 percent matching rate for materials published after 1990.Thanks to Mel DeSart at the U of Washington for noting this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Library budgets, open access, and the future of scholarly communication

This is a new article in College & Research Libraries News. May 2008, Vol. 69(5):271- Fact one -- We need to begin with a fundamental fact—the cost of scholarly journals has increased at 10 percent per year for the last three decades. This is over six times the rate of general inflation and over two-and-a-half times the rate of increase of the cost of health care. Between 1975 and 2005 the average cost of journals in chemistry and physics rose from $76.84 to $1,879.56. In the same period, the cost of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline rose from 55 cents to $1.82. If the gallon of gas had increased in price at the same rate as chemistry and physics journals over this period it would have reached $12.43 in 2005, and would be over $14.50 today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

World Wide Telescope

This service was launched about an hour ago!

The World Wide Telescope is a "single rich application portal that blends terabytes of images, information, and stories from multiple sources over the Internet into a seamless, immersive, rich media experience. Kids of all ages will feel empowered to explore and understand the universe with its simple and powerful user interface."

Looks cool, but you need some serious hardware and software -- here are the requirements...

  • Microsoft® XP SP2 (minimum), Windows® Vista® (recommended)
  • PC with Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster, recommended
    1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM; 2 GB RAM recommended
  • 3D accelerated card with 128 megabytes (MB) RAM; discrete graphics card with dedicated 256-MB VRAM recommended for higher performance
  • 1 GB of available hard disk space; 10 GB recommended for off-line features and higher performance browsing

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chance to win a $50 gift certificate

Please take a couple of minutes to tell Quick Copy your views on the services offered at the Quick Copy Center in the Penrose Library, and the University Mail Services. Your opinions will help us ensure that we fulfill your needs, and feel free to make suggestions also. As a token of our appreciation, after you have submitted the surveys, sign up to win one of four $50 DU Bookstore gift certificates or a $20 Stick-e-Star gift certificate! Please fill out the surveys online by Friday, May 16th.

The Quick Copy Center survey is at https://taurus.cair.du.edu/ir/quickcopy/
and the Mail Services survey is https://taurus.cair.du.edu/ir/mailservices/

Use of Technology in Education

Are we using enough technology to teach our students? Maybe -- maybe not. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Information Resources in High-Energy Physics

This is an interesting article -- Information Resources in High-Energy Physics: Surveying the Present Landscape and Charting the Future Course by Anne Gentil-Beccot, Salvatore Mele, Annette Holtkamp, Heath B. O'Connell, Travis C. Brooks Abstract: Access to previous results is of paramount importance in the scientific process. Recent progress in information management focuses on building e-infrastructures for the optimization of the research workflow, through both policy-driven and user-pulled dynamics. For decades, High-Energy Physics (HEP) has pioneered innovative solutions in the field of information management and dissemination. In light of a transforming information environment, it is important to assess the current usage of information resources by researchers and HEP provides a unique test-bed for this assessment. A survey of about 10% of practitioners in the field reveals usage trends and information needs. Community-based services, such as the pioneering arXiv and SPIRES systems, largely answer the need of the scientists, with a limited but increasing fraction of younger users relying on Google. Commercial services offered by publishers or database vendors are essentially unused in the field. The survey offers an insight into the most important features that users require to optimize their research workflow. These results inform the future evolution of information management in HEP and, as these researchers are traditionally "early adopters" of innovation in scholarly communication, can inspire developments of disciplinary repositories serving other communities.
The PDF of the preprint is here.