April 25, 2003

And last but certainly not least for today, Rita Vine has a link on her blog to an industry report on the search engines. I haven't read the report yet (it's 90 pages!) but it seems to be coming from the business/commercialization perspective. I think it's important to keep in mind that these search engine companies are in it to make money -- even Google.

It seems that there are two other scitech librarian blogs out there, one of which I've know about for a while: EngLib by Catherine Lavallée-Welch of the University of Louisville. The other is a relatively new one: The (engineering) Library Question by Randy Reichardt of the University of Alberta. We all seem to take a slightly different approach to our missions. And, as Catherine points out, we're all Canadians. Enjoy!

Getting tech books to developing nations is a great idea. Tim O'Reilly, of course, is at the crest of the wave.

So, what are the information seeking habits of engineers in industry? They just ask their friends. Take a look at these two news stories (1, 2) about a study done on aerospace engineers. Apparently they prefer to ask a co-worker they know well as opposed to using any print (or even oline) source or even an expert they may not know personally. I haven't been able to track down the original article yet, but when I do, I'll post the source here. From Lisnews.

April 21, 2003

Here's an interesting quote: "'What did they think I was taking, smart pills?' asked Eythorsdottir, an native of Iceland who now lives in Huntsville, Alabama. 'The moment I invent smart pills, I won't have to play bridge for a living.'" This is from a recent newspaper story about so-called "mind sports" such as chess and bridge becomming olympic sports. Of course, to compete in the olympics, an athlete has to undergo drug tests to make sure they are not cheating. And what drug, exactly, would make someone perform better at chess or bridge? Even too much coffee would make it more difficult for someone to concentrate deeply.

ResearchBuzz guru Tara Calishain has just posted the first in a series of articles about search engines on the O'ReillyNet site (Yeah, them again). She talks about where she sees search engines such as Google evolving over the next little while. The first is titled "Eight Search Engine 'C' Changes." I'll put something here as the articles are posted.

The O'Reilly site is a goldmine of interesting material for those of us interested in the bleeding edge of computing technology. There's currently a link to a long interview with Tim O'Reilly where he talks about his vision of open source software and the communities that have risen up around the movement. The interview ranges all around copyright, bioinformatics and a whole bunch of other topics. O'Reilly can be a bit of a techno-utopian, but his ideas are always thought provoking.

April 14, 2003

Every issue of D-Lib profiles a different digital collection that's out there. The most recent is quite a hoot: Strange Science: The Rocky Road to Modern Paleontology and Biology. Hey, scientists aren't perfect.

A very interesting article from the latest D-Lib about the new trend (or, actually, not so new) to personalizing library web sites: Building Upon the MyLibrary Concept to Better Meet the Information Needs of College Students by Susan Gibbons. What I got out of it is that the next wave of portals we provide to our students will not be based on the subjects or programs we think they are in, but on the actual courses they are taking. A bit of a stretch, maybe, but our students are notoriously impatient with (and indifferent to) our efforts to get them to the information resources we think they need. The article also suggests that these kinds of efforts will by their very nature lead to a closer relationship between us and the faculty we serve. Thought provoking.

Chess and Science Fiction? What could be a better combo?

April 7, 2003

Eprints -- the wave of the future, usually the best way to see what's at the cutting edge in a field. Here's a good metalist of eprint servers in various disciplines. The best example is easily the Physics one, arxiv. From FOS News.

What's programming all about? Where did it come from, what's its history, where's it going? Alan Kay is a pretty important figure in the computing field, and he shares some of his ideas on these issues in an interview at the O'Reilly site titled Daddy, Are We There Yet? A Discussion with Alan Kay. Oh, and by the way, don't forget to test your code.

April 3, 2003

Engineers don't exactly have the best reputation in the world for their writing skills. And guess what? They know it too. From EngLib