June 24, 2003

A couple of readings suggested by one of my colleagues in the Computer Science Department:

  • "Teaching reviewing to graduate students" by Jens Palsberg and Scott J. Baxter in Communications of the ACM, v45 i12, Dec 2002. A quote: "researchers usually learn the principles and practices of reviewing with little to no practical training because such training is generally not a part of a Ph.D. education. Despite this fact, we believe teaching the review process should be part of a Ph.D. education, and that such training can be integrated smoothly and inexpensively as part of existing coursework rather than be added as an additional course." Of course, the article is written about CS grad students, but I see no reason why the same argument couldn't be applied to any discipline. And, of course, part of any good review is a search of the appropriate literature. And, the grad student asks, how do I do that? Very interesting -- the article is written by CS faculty, not librarians.
  • The Sept 2002 issue of CACM (v45 i9) has a special section on search engines called, "The consumer side of search" with several very interesting articles. The one I would most like to draw attention to is "Bias on the Web" by Abbe Mowshowitz and Akira Kawaguchi. The main idea is that the web is full of biased information, largely trying to sell stuff, and that the best way to combat the bias is to have a variety of engines to search for the same information. They suggest that it's a good thing to have a variety of intermediaries between the user and the information to try and evaluate or filter the data. Unfortunately, they neglect to mention libraries & librarians as possible intermediaries. The even take a bit of a shot at us in the beginning: 'Your refrigerator starts making unusual noises; you figure it is time to replace it. ... Unwilling to take the time to head for the local library and browse consumer magazines for "refrigerators," you decide to search the Web for information about this home appliance.'

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