Jul 182007
Decline in library usage

Extract:And then yesterday my friend Jerry McDonough of the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science forwarded me a talk that he gave recently at the British Library called, “We Are Not Alone: The Role of the Research Library in a Suddenly Crowded Information Universe.”… But notice that this decrease is already well underway by 1995, when electronic journals did not have anything like the degree of penetration into library collections that they have today.“

Jul 122007

The Istanbul Declaration signed at the recent OECD World Forum looks interesting, calling on governments to make their statistical data freely available online as a “public good”:[quote]It’s not entirely clear to me how much different this would make to access, given that major Western governments like UK and USA already make their statistical data available. [check this]What does look really interesting, though, is the potential to combine this raw access to data with new online tools like Swivel, ManyEyes and MappingWorlds that allow ordinary users to manipulate, visualise and share datasets.

Jul 122007

Shelfari is “a social interactive social media site for book lovers”.Using Shelfari, you can create a personal shelf of your books, see what your friends are reading, get and give recommendations for what to read next, create book lists, and even share your opinion on a book with friends or the growing Shelfari community.It intends to make money from affiliate marketing/referrals:we aren’t running any ads on the site…. So when you buy a book through Shelfari on Amazon or another service, Shelfari gets a percentage of that revenue.The service is also neatly integrated into Facebook, which must surely increase its uptake potential.True to form, “Fantasy” and “Science Fiction” are among the most popular tags, and the DaVinci Code is the most commented book, but it’s not all bad, and there’s plenty of real books too.File under “nice”.

Jul 112007

Topic PagesMechanisms of immune tolerance to allergensSerine ProteasesIt takes a bit of imagination to envisage how useful these pages could be when presented with such a bare-bones attempt.Perhaps it’s unfair, but I couldn’t help comparing these Topic Pages with the Nature Publishing Group’s Reports, which also offer an aggregation of information on particular topics (albeit aimed at a broader audience, with a mix of news and science), e.g.: Nature Reports Stem CellsNature Reports Climate ChangeIt seems unlike Elsevier to show publicly such an unfinished product – compare for example the extensive global testing and refinement programme that preceded the Scopus launch. In fairness, Elsevier clearly intend to develop the products before the official launch and to offer considerably expanded functionality, including (it sounds like) social features:At the official Topic Page launch later this year, the functionality of the Topic Pages will allow scientists and researchers to alter the content and provide feedback, allowing each topic to be shaped by the suggestions made by the research community.

Jul 112007

But that doesn’t take into account the effectiveness of a site, because again people could be visiting a site due to it being highly ranked in Google – yet when they click through they find rubbish content and so very quickly leave.Compete (a R/WW sponsor) has a good measure called ‘engagement’, which measures things like Daily Attention and Average Stay…. Reading a blog, using instant messaging, and using web search are utterly different — the idea that one metric can be used as a yardstick to compare them is absurd on the face of it.Karp goes on to point out that for many advertisers, all these measures (pageviews, visits, time spent, etc.) are really proxies for action by the users, i.e. clicks (or preferably conversions):Google makes money by selling actions, i.e. clicks.No wonder more than half of all online advertising revenue goes to Google.

Jul 112007

All large publishers have such schemes, primarily as a response to the introduction of policies by research funders (such as the National Institutes of Health in the US and the Wellcome Trust in the UK) requiring authors to deposit a version of their accepted articles in a public archive.Springer had gone rather farther than most, however, with the appointment in 2005 of Jan Velterop as Director of Open Access, who had made public statements about Springer’s commitment to real open access, e.g. with the use of a licence based on the Creative Commons licence.Murray-Rust thought about publishing an article under Open Choice and decided to look at some existing examples to see what he got for his money…. Velterop went on to blame the copyright line and Rightslink buttons on inflexibilities in the Springer production system and flaws in their Rightslink implementation, which is hardly great PR for the publisher — the “cock-up rather than conspiracy” defence.He also pointed out that Springer had made some articles Open Choice without author payments to help measure usage (there presumably not being enough take-up by authors to produce any valid statistics on differential usage?), and that Springer had made some articles retrospectively Open Choice by agreements with various Dutch institutions.

Jul 102007

Tony Hammond of NPG has now blogged an account of his recent talk on OTMI at the BioNLP 2007 conference (Biological, translational, and clinical language processing):I was fortunate enough to talk early in the morning while people were still lively (talk is here) and there were several questions afterwards both in the Q&A and later during the breaks and the poster session at end of the workshop…. That is, most of the features are parametrized and it is up to individual publishers to determine e.g. whether a snippet is a paragraph or a phrase, whether snippets are randomized or not, etc.Of course OTMI is far from being the only game in town as regards text-mining or semantic enrichment of STM literature.

Jul 062007

Both Google and Google Scholar are slowly incorporating an increasing amount of this content, and these data will be appearing in search results for Google and Google Scholar.This will make Google Scholar significantly more useful as a research tool.In his comment on the move, Peter Suber said:This is notable for a wide range of reasons…. In contrast to the various European newspaper publisher-related lawsuits, Elsevier has clearly felt that…their ability to execute business strategy is unimpeded by encouraging greater content exposure….But this misses the point that the only part of the content that Google will reveal via its search engine is the part that is already publicly available – in most cases, the article’s abstract and bibliographic record, while the full article content will remain behind the same access controls as before.

Jul 052007

Saur Verlag GmbH, which since 2005 has also included the programme of Max Niemeyer Verlag. Through this acquisition Walter de Gruyter will become the market leader in the subject areas classical studies, philosophy, German studies, linguistics and English and Romance studies, as well as in library sciences and general library reference works.