June 29, 2004

How free software won

How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun is an article in the lastest M/C Journal. It's by Biella Coleman and Mako Hill. via BoingBoing.

June 25, 2004


From SciencePORT.org, Cheminfostream is a blog highlighting chemistry information, modeling and informatics.

From Wired News: An Arsenal to Combat Spyware

Article about free and commercial products to help you rid yourself of the scourge of spyware here.

June 23, 2004

From STLQ: Thoughts on Mastering the Chemical Literature

Randy quotes a post from Dana Roth on the CHEMINF-L here. The source is an interview with Nicholas J. Turro called "How to skate on the edge of the paradigm and keep from falling off." My favourite quote in the original article: "Three months in the lab can save a couple of hours in the library." Of course, these wise words really apply to all disciplines, not just chemistry.

Cites & Insights: July 2004

Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is always a great source of information and stimulating commentary. This time around I would like to note his stinging commentary on the whole ebook phenomenon. He certainly deflates a lot of the techno-utopian BS about ebooks from a few years ago that still seems to hanging around. Cory Doctorow in particular comes in for a bit of a reality-check, probably not-altogether-deserved, but amusing nonetheless.

Open Access Overview

Peter Suber has put up this Open Access Overview on his Open Access site. I can't imagine that there is anyone out there, no matter how knowledgable about OA they might be, that couldn't learn something from Peter's overview. Definately recommended, especially for passing around to skeptics at your institution.

Lunar Physics Blog

Check out this brand new Lunar Physics Lab blog by Karen Cramer Shea. It has an interesting discussion of why we might want to do some science on the moon as well as tons of links to Lunar Physics sites. via Kathryn Cramer.

June 21, 2004

Future of Sci-Tech E-Books

William A. Woishnis, co-founder of the Knovel ebooks publisher, gave a very interesting (and very droll) presentation on the Future of Sci-Tech E-Books at the recent SLA conference. The emphasis was on the value that the online format can add to technical information, through graphics and interactivity, and how ebooks can be integrated into the engineering process.

D-Lib Magazine

An extremely interesting issue of D-Lib Magazine (v10i6) this time around. Highlights:

STS Proposed standard for IL in the Sciences

An extensive proposal for information literacy standards by The ALA SciTech Section. I posted this a while back, but I'm not sure if the online document has changed since then. In any case, this serves as a reminder to us all to submit our comments on the proposals. via Virginia Baldwin on ELD-ILIT.

Open Access and Scholarly Societies

Will learned societies signal the change? by Vanessa Spedding in the most recent Research Information talks about the uncertain and ambiguous role scholarly societies play in the whole open access movement. They need the money from subscriptions desperately, but on the other hand, what they are really about should spreading the word, not making a buck. Very interesting, a good stimulus for a Monday morning. via Open Access News.

June 18, 2004

ELD Conference Program, Salt Lake City, 2004

This page has the conference program and selected PPTs for the presentations at the captioned conference. Topics include collection development, engineering ethics and library instruction for engineers. I went to the conference in Montreal a couple of years ago, and I have to say it was well worth it. I hope to go again next year in Portland; since SLA is in Toronto, I will be a lot easier to make two conferences in the same year. ELD is the Engineering Library Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

June 17, 2004

FreePint Newsletter 161

RSS: Less hype, more action by Roddy MacLeod in the latest FreePint is well worth taking a look at. He covers the basics as well as touching on a lot of more interesting topics such as the recently popular topic is journal TOCs using RSS.

June 15, 2004


Yesterday's Astronomy Picture of the Day is the new wallpaper on my desktop. To say the least, it is rather striking. APOD has been the source of all my wallpapers for the last couple of years -- they never disappoint.

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

Some highlights from v23i1 and v23i2:

SciTech bloggers of the world, unite in Toronto!

Christina also suggests that the lot of us find a way to get together next year in Toronto. Sounds like a great idea, there must be a way. Informal get together at a local watering hole? Perhaps some sort of panel discussion? Time to start planning!

Winner's Circle of Best Science Websites

Every year, the SciTech division of SLA has a session on the newest, best sites out there. Every year, they also highlight different disciplines. I was planning to blog the presentation sites, but Christina has already done it for me, so why reinvent the wheel.

Remind me not to go to work at Drexel

From this ResourceShelf story I get the following quote from Constantine Papadakis, "My understanding when I was first hired was that in three years I did not want any professor or graduate student to walk into the library to find a book, because this is a waste of your time unless you love books and are going to look at them" and that abandoning print books for eresources is "the philosophy that we follow, right or wrong." The ResourceShelf story also points to varios Drexel University student newspaper articles massively rejecting this path.

June 14, 2004

Open Source Special Issue of Queue

The ACM's Queue is generally quite an interesting online journal to follow, particularly for discussions of trends. The current issue (v3i2) focuses on open source software with the following articles as highlights:

Information literacy website

This is a really solid site on IL, including lists of websites, articles, bibliographies and mailing lists. It's by Ola Pilerot, at Skövde University Library, Sweden.via IL Weblog.

June 11, 2004

The Week In Chess 500!

TWIC, the mother of all chess sites, is about to celebrate it's 500th issue. Bravo, with a little history from About.com!

Web Citation Index

This article (Thomson ISI to Track Web-Based Scholarship with NEC's CiteSeer) is about ISI & CiteSeer's collaborative project to do citation search and tracking on the web, combining what CiteSeer does with what Web of Science already does to make something bigger and better. ISI demo'ed a very early version at SLA a few days ago and it was very interesting looking. My only question is what will become of CiteSeer in this collaboration? If the WCI includes all the content and services that CiteSeer includes for free...

Virus-proof your PC in 20 minutes, for free.

A few simple, free things we can all do to make our lives a little more secure and less hassle-free: A Simple Plan - Virus-proof your PC in 20 minutes, for free. By Paul Boutin via BoingBoing (hey, I read'em all!)

Results of a brief survey of PAMnet participants

Christina recently polled PAMnet members. The results and her observations are here. I find it interesting that she received negative comments on blogs and blogging from the members. Hello? Science librarians? Wake up and smell the coffee.

I'm back from SLA

The SLA conference in Nashville was, once again, a great conference. I attended a number of great sessions, particularly the various roundtable discussions for physics, astronomy and math. The computer science roundtable was scheduled too late in the conference for me to attend, Wednesday at 3-4:15 when my flight was at 5pm. Ah well. As it happens, I "volunteered" to moderate the CS RT next year in Toronto...

As usual, one of the best parts was networking/hanging out/having a beer (or three) with colleagues. This year, I was able to see both Catherine and Christina (and here) in an informal scitech library blogging meeting. Unfortunately, I was somehow unable to find myself in the same room with Randy at any time during the conference.

Grey goo probably not a problem

According to the article Safe exponential manufacturing in Nanotechnology v15, Aug 2004 by Chris Pheonix and nanotech guru Eric Drexler, the threat of nanotech turning the world into a indistinguishable mass of grey goo isn't as bad as they had thought, at least by accident. Oh well, there goes the plot of half the SF novels of the past few years...

The conclusion:

Early proposals for manufaturing systems based on molecular nanotechnology inlcuded devices that had some similarity to runaway self-replicating machines, in that they were, at least, self-replicating. It has since become clear that all risk of accidental runaway replication can be avoided, since efficient manufacturing systems can be designed, built, and used without ever making a device with the complex additional capabilities that a hypothetical "grey goo robot" would require. However, this does not mean that molecular nanotechnology is without risks. Problems including weapon systems, radical shifts in economic and political power, and aggregate environmental risks from novel products and large-scale production will require close attention and careful policymaking.

June 10, 2004

Play chess, get better math results

Improved Math Scores Through Chess? is an interesting little article posted on About.com.

June 2, 2004


From browsing around Wikipedia, just discovered MathForge.net--Power Tools for Online Mathematics, an extremely cool math blog.

June 1, 2004

Yes, that Springfield

One of the great accomplishments of map making has to be the creation of maps of imaginary places. For example, this Map of Springfield. vis lisnews.