December 23, 2002

Following up on the Salon article about the Jan Hendrik Schön fraud controversy, the APS has decided to retract serveral articles co-authored by Schön. Fortunately, they have decided to leave the articles online with clear statements of retraction.

December 20, 2002

I've been reading about Claude Shannon and information theory quite a bit lately so I thought I'd share some of things I've seen, both on the free Web and in journals & conferences:

December 18, 2002

No one seems to know whether the Bogdanov Affair is a case of a Sokal-type hoax, a fraud or just a case of how theoretical physics is becoming an awful lot like Olympic figure skating -- very difficult to judge. John Baez's essay is a very good explanation of the case without the hype or finger-pointing.

December 17, 2002

Open source biology? Read this fascinating interview with bioinformatics pioneer Jim Kent. Also note O'Reilly's Bioinformatics Resource Center.

Sauron the good guy? Hmmm. This essay by science fiction author David Brin is particularly interesting (and relevant to us) because it takes a critical look at the way we romanticize the past and demonize science and technology and how those ideas are reflected in Tolkein's books and the movies. BTW, I'm a big fan and can't wait to see The Two Towers.

December 16, 2002

Some not-very-surprising reports from the latest dlib. First of all, as shown in King & Montgomery's "After Migration to an Electronic Journal Collection:Impact on Faculty and Doctoral Students," electronic formats are quicker and easier for faculty to use. Similarly, as shown in Rudner & Gellmann's "Who is reading on-line education journals? Why? And what are they reading?" if you build it online, they will definately come and read. An interesting question: why would any scholar in her right mind publish in a print-only journal? Given the option, wouldn't she naturally prefer a free, online journal?

December 12, 2002

O'Reilly is my favourite publisher of compter books, bar none. And I think that has a lot to do with how sensible and intelligent Tim O'Reilly is. Take a look at this discussion of the whole Internet piracy/file sharing controversy and you'll see what I mean. Too bad he doesn't run some of the record companies, too. From Lisnews.

December 11, 2002

Indexing and abstracting services, BEWARE! In fact, as the thrust of this article from MSNBC indicates, everyone who's job is involved with sorting, classifying and providing access to information needs to know how the landscape is shifting beneath our feet. We think libraries and librarians are more important than ever in the brave new googlized world, but does anyone else? (BTW, I just checked Google to see if I was the first to coin the term googlized, googleization or googlization, and I'm not. Sigh.) From Lisnews.

December 10, 2002

Absolutely terrific article in the new Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship by Ibironke Lawal called "Scholarly Communication: The Use and Non-Use of E-Print Archives for the Dissemination of Scientific Information." It uses a very well done survey to explore the scholarly communication patterns of various disciplines with respect to e-prints. As expected, physics & astronomy come out on top and just as interestingly, chemistry comes out on bottom. This article brings together in a concrete way a lot of the threads running throught the science librarian community these days about free online scholarship, the Web and the role of institutional repositories versus discipline-based resources. Highly recommended.

December 2, 2002

After a bit of a silence due to a rather busy term, a bit of a reminder about why we all do this kind of thing. And I don't mean just for tenure, although since I'm tenure stream I can't pretend to say it doesn't influence my desire to maintain this blog. I know I do this also to be able to share my ideas and concerns with other academic (science) librarians who are in a similar position. And if doing this helps my tenure chances, well, I have to say that that's great too. The blog that most influenced me to start this up was the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog, which I think is by far the best current awareness site on the web for librarians interested in the future of scholarly publishing.

And while I'm pointing to Ex Libris and talking about the future of scholarly publishing, take a look at this article from a couple of years ago. It really highlights for me the challenge of reference service these days. We're straddling two worlds, one print and one electronic. Our students want to be 100% electronic but we know that so much of what is useful for them is still in print and it can be a bit of a struggle to get them to look at print resources. But, how to get to that 100% electronic world, and who will pay for it. It should be very interesting to see where we end up in even 10 years from now.