Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Article -- The importance of stupidity in scientific research

The author, Martin A. Schwartz, does a great job of explaining the importance of being scientifically curious and humble.

From Journal of Cell Science 121, 1771 (2008). "The importance of stupidity in scientific research."
"For almost all of us, one of the reasons that we liked science in high school and college is that we were good at it. That can't be the only reason – fascination with understanding the physical world and an emotional need to discover new things has to enter into it too. But high-school and college science means taking courses, and doing well in courses means getting the right answers on tests. If you know those answers, you do well and get to feel smart.

A Ph.D., in which you have to do a research project, is a whole different thing. For me, it was a daunting task. How could I possibly frame the questions that would lead to significant discoveries; design and interpret an experiment so that the conclusions were absolutely convincing; foresee difficulties and see ways around them, or, failing that, solve them when they occurred? My Ph.D. project was somewhat interdisciplinary and, for a while, whenever I ran into a problem, I pestered the faculty in my department who were experts in the various disciplines that I needed. I remember the day when Henry Taube (who won the Nobel Prize two years later) told me he didn't know how to solve the problem I was having in his area. I was a third-year graduate student and I figured that Taube knew about 1000 times more than I did (conservative estimate). If he didn't have the answer, nobody did."

Thanks to @timoreilly via twitter for noting in his feed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"The Power of Place on Campus"

This is an interesting article in the Chronicle Review -- The Power of Place on Campus. What locations do you think are special places on the DU campus? (Thanks go to Rudy Leon at UIUC for telling me about the article.)
Colleges and universities should never underestimate the power of special, transformational, and even sacred spaces on their campuses....

So how do we create sacred spaces?

In fact they already exist all over campus — but they must be recognized, maintained, and supported. Commuter campuses can also identify and create their own transformational spaces, but administrators must first envision their campus constituencies as "thought communities" — academic villages and places of enculturation.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Over a million records with URLs

Penrose Library now has over 1,000,000 records with URLs in our catalog. We tagged the book (Computers and Education: E-Learning from Theory to Practice) which broke the barrier using the subject tag "millionth url". This is one of the new Springer ebooks -- we have about 3,800 records from SpringerLink. Over 1,000 of them are journals, and the other 2,800 are ebooks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Scholarly Communication and Open Access Resources

This is a presentation that I gave at the three Library Liaison Advisory Group (LLAG) meetings, May 12-13, 2009.

I also created a research guide to go along with this presentation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Liaison Connection newsletter is now out

The newsletter for the Library Liaison Advisory Group (LLAG) is now available for your reading pleasure.

The Human Flu

The H1N1 virus has certainly been in the news lately. However, there is a little known new virus that has hit the local Denver community -- the Human Flu. It is a particularly virulent strain that effects farm animals, particularly those of the Suidae family. To protect these animals from the Human Virus, the CDC recommends that they wear surgical masks over their mouths (or snouts) to protect them. Please see the accompanying visual that demonstrates how the mask should be worn.

Thanks to Erin for taking the picture. Here is more info about the sculpture. The mask was provided by an unknown patron. Once the picture was taken, we then removed the mask from the piece of art.