May 29, 2003

The latest issue of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship is out and as usual it is full of terrific articles. The theme for this issue is Information Literacy for Science & Technology. It's been a while since the last issue, but well worth the wait as this is probably the best issue of the journal that I have seen. Here are some of the highlights of the TOC, but of course all the articles are interesting:

May 27, 2003

Another batch of computer chess links, in no particular order. Not all of them are freely available online:

  • Gimbel, Steve. "Get with the program: Kasparov, Deep Blue, and accusations of unsportsthinglike conduct." Journal of Applied Philosophy 15(2): 145-154. 1998.
  • Hsu, F-h. "IBM's Deep Blue chess grandmaster chips." IEEE Micro. 19(2): 70-81. Mar/Apr 1999.
  • McGrew, T. "Collaborative intelligence. The Internet Chess Club on game 2 of Kasparov vs. Deep Blue." IEEE Internet Computing. 1(3): 38-42. May/Jun 1997
  • Seirawan, Yasser. "Still no match for the human brain." Communications of the ACM. 40(8): 22-25. Aug 1997.
  • Friedel, Frederic. "A short history of computer chess." Chessbase.
  • Schaeffer, J. and A. Plaat. "Kasparov versus Deep Blue: The Re-match." ICCA Journal. 20( 2): 95-102. 1997.
  • Campbell, M., A. J. Hoane and F-h. Hsu. "Deep Blue." Artificial Intelligence. 134(2002): 57-83.
  • Gulko, B. "Is chess finished? World champion Garry Kasparov let IBM's computer get away with murder." Commentary (US). 104(1): 45-47. July 1997.
  • Guterl, F. "Silicon Gambit." Discover. 17(6): 48-50, 54-56. June 1996.

Ok, so it has nothing to do with science librarianship, but it sure is funny: "Read it and weep" from The Independant. A bunch of fairly pretentious people pick their least favourite book. Best comment, about a Martin Amis book: "It reveals what a disgusting, malformed, literary dwarf Martin Amis is. His whole approach to life ­that if you write good prose you are morally superior ­is so ridiculous and snobbish." FWIW, I actually quite like Martin Amis. From Lisnews.

May 26, 2003

A couple of other excellent bits of content from the O'Reilly site:

  • "Buy Where You Shop" by Tim O'Reilly wherein O'Reilly makes a very sensible suggestion -- if you like to hang out at bookstores and look at the books, you should buy there rather than saving a few bucks online. Everything he says is applicable to the music biz as well.
  • "Information Architecture Meets Usability," an interview with IA guru Lou Rosenfeld and usability guru Steve Krug. A fun, wide-ranging discussion, useful at least for the answer to the burning question, "Hey, aren't information architecture and usability the same thing?"

"Why Try to Out-Google Google?" is the second installment of Tara Calishain's series over at the O'Reilly site. It concentrates on some of the non-technological reasons for Google's success, some of which I think academic libraries could pay more attention to, particularly the way it is tune with the culture of its user community and uses humour to establish that link. Calishain also makes a few suggestions about how Google could extend it's functionality. The most interesting of which is the suggestion that they reach out to various content providers and help them get their content indexed. Scholarly societies and journal publishers, anyone?

May 24, 2003

Noted without comment: "Too much self-esteem: the blight of modern times" by Johanna Schneller of The Globe and Mail (May 24, 2003). Check it out quickly as the link will decay after about a week.

May 20, 2003

The May 10th issue of The Economist had a series of articles surveying the state of the IT industry. They all seem to be online.

The newest issue of D-Lib is out and as usual there are several very interesting arcticles included. Most interesting is "Patterns of Journal Use by Scientists through Three Evolutionary Phases" by Carol Tenopir and several others. This article presents the results of several years of research into patterns of scholarly communication among scientists and basically makes the case that the world is changing. Personal subscriptions are down, online reading is up, more and more scientists are using online searching and citations to find articles. But most interestingly, the total amount of reading done by scientists is going up as they get access to online journals. If it is easier for them to find and retrieve information, they will retrieve more of it. And, it seems that they are still very interested in the peer-reviewed journal literature as the research did not indicate a large number of articles read from personal web sites. IMHO, this last finding may be the one to change most drastically over the next little while. If institutional repositories, eprint servers and google catch on like I think they will, I thnk we'll see more and more researchers finding their information where it is most convenient and fastest, not where it is most pre-approved.

Also of interest, but without accompanying rant:

May 15, 2003

At this point, I'm usually not going to bother duplicating either Randy's or Catherine's blog postings here (at least on purpose), but this one on academic integrity and peer review in the sciences is important enough to make sure it gets as wide a readership as possible. The title is "Peer trouble" by John Crace in The Guardian. From The (sci-tech) Library Question.

Take a look at "Search engines make us dumb" by Jonathan Gordon-Till. The title says it all. There's not much for me to add to the very perceptive comments on this article over at the ResourceShelf, where I originally saw this posting. Favourite quote: "No search engine can cause the same degree of discovery as the human brain. Yet we are happy to abrogate our responsibility to use our brains optimally." This whole google / search engine / open access journals / information literacy melange of things all relate to each other. With the ground shifting beneath our feet so quickly, it can sometimes be hard to see the forest for the rather distressing trees, sometimes.

May 13, 2003

Check out the Directory of Open Access Journals. It's searchable by title and browsable by subject. From FOS News.

May 12, 2003

Here's an interesting article from the Communications of the ACM, May 2003 (v46i5: 71-75): "Of Course it's True; I Saw it on the Internet!" I find it particularly interesting because it's sort of an acknowledgement that even CS students need to develope information literacy and critical thinking skills when it comes to finding stuff on the net. And it even comes from CS scholars! There's what seems to be a slightly different version here.

May 8, 2003

In the spring 2003 issue of Mathematical Intelligencer there's an article titled "Predicting the Future of Scholarly Publishing" by John Ewing. Ewing is a bit skeptical of the whole free online scholarship movement, tending to favour something closer to the current model for journal publication. "Throwing out the baby with the bath water" might describe his viewpoint of the mad rush to FOS. I don't really agree with a lot of what he says, but he does make a lot of interesting points. Ewing's site at the AMS also has several other articles about scholarly communications in mathematics. All together, a treasure trove of information and opinion. BTW, he's Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society, so he's not exactly a disinterested observer. From slapam-l.

For those of us going to SLA in New York next month, the latest issue of the journal Physics in Perspective (v5i1: 87-121) has an absolutely indispensible article. It's titled "The Physical Tourist: Physics and New York City" and it's by Benjamin Bederson. Link here to the absract and here to the full text, for those of you who are licensed. Who knew there was so much to see and do? See you in NYC!

A so-so article on computer chess. It's long and informative (and the English is a bit fractured -- whatever happened to editing?), but it has some factual problems. See Mig Greengard's comment (it's number 91) for some of those issues. From Chessbase.

The latest on the listservs in the scitech world is this article in arxiv about the accuracy of author citations in papers. The article is titled "Read before you cite!" and is by M.V. Simkin and V.P. Roychowdhury. The implication is, of course, that many authors don't actually ever read many of the papers they cite, but rather copy the citation from a paper they did read, thus perpetuating an incorrect citation from that source. So, I wonder if I actually read this arxiv article or if I'm just copying the citation from a source I did read? From slapam-l.

May 5, 2003

The new Ariadne has an article on EEVL's ejournal search engine. The engine is very interesting because it indexes free ejournals, certainly providing a service we lack. I'm sure that the scholarly content is a bit weak, but this is a real start. I also can't wait until they do the same for their computing and math collections. The article is titled "Free full-text e-journals and EEVL's Engineering E-journal Search Engine" and its by Nicola Harrison and Roddy MacLeod. There's also interesting articles on syndicating content for web pages & blogs and a UK eprints archive project . from sepw.