Library and Information Science Miscellaneous

This weblog in the field of Library and Information Science contains news, comments and everything that its bloggers think could be useful for LIS professionals and students. It is maintianed by a number of students mainly Research students and Iranian. Our email is lismisblog at Yahoo dot com.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Google Scholar Advanced Search

Google Scholar search engine added advanced searching facilities to its feature.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Research Tender

In UK, there are different channels for getting funding for a research project. Sometimes researcher or research group makes a proposal to an organisation that is relevent to the research, sometimes an organisation askes a group to do a research and some,times there is an announcement for a reseaerch tender. Read this new tender by JISC for 4 research projects in the field of scholarly communications.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Iranian web sites

Imagine that you are desperately looking for some information and the only resource that you think you have access and can find information in is web site, and then instead of some useful information you find some unuseful information or even worse you find some funny stuff. Last week for a reason I needed some information about some Iranian companies, and I though I might be able to find them on internet on their web sites. I checked web sites of some ministries and some of the biggest Iranian companies and I was almost disappointed. I found many problems. Some of them have problem with being downloaded, some of them are not compatible with different browsers, some webmasters and web site designers are unfortunately very keen on using flash files and animations. Besides all of these technical problems I just realised that in Iran companies and governmental organizations consider having a website as a kind of luxury not a necessity. Therefore you cannot find up-to-date useful information. I hope some master students in computer science and LIS do some research on this topic and write some papers in newspapers to attract attention of the people in charge to this issue.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Overseas Students' Difficulties -2

English as a second language

I wrote previously about the problems of studying in overseas (here). Loneliness and losing the relationship with other people was described. The second important issue is the language. We have been learning English for a long time in our previous studies. Starting just after the primary school, we were taught English for seven years during our school education. In undergraduate programs, English is one of the courses all students have to attend and once again we had a close relation with English in our postgraduate studies.

Altogether, we have been learning English as a second language for, at least, 10 years in Iran. After such a long time, one would hope to have a good knowledge of English. However, as you know, our language-teaching system is not perfect and usually the English programs concentrate on grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension, rather than everyday conversation and communication skills.

As an example, imagine two Iranian people learning English in different situations. The first one has been taught English as a part of his/her school and academic education and the second one has been living in an English-speaking country during the same time and has learnt English through working and living with native speakers. The first person is probably perfect in English grammar, comprehension, translation and even writing, however the second one will be more fluent in his/her day to day communication, listening and speaking.

Most overseas research students are similar with the first case. We can read and understand English books and journals – especially in the field of LIS. Usually we can translate English articles in Persian and maybe we write in English correctly. But we have many difficulties in listening and speaking English – two important communicational skills. Three to five years completing a Ph.D. in an English-speaking country forces us to improve our fluency in English. We need to communicate with people in their own language to meet our daily living needs. Shopping, travel, health care, recreation and education are major areas in which we should speak with people in English.

In summary, there are few opportunities for international research students to improve their English speaking skill through daily communications. Whether our Offer is conditional or not, personally I think it is useful and even necessary for all research students to attend in a suitable English course at least for one month immediately after arriving to the host country. Language learning must be more difficult for our friends in the non-English speaking countries such as France and Denmark because they have to learn a new language plus English.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Google, another step forward

Google is going to digitize the collections of 5 important libraries in the world including full libraries of Michigan and Stanford universities, as well as archives at Harvard, Oxford and the New York Public Library. So most of the collections of these libraries will be available to the world. Read the full story on BBC English and Farsi.

Monday as release day of books

Those who have spent some days in the west know that new movies specially Hollywood movies are released usually on Fridays. Music and Computer Games have their own release days in the market too. Now publishers and retailers in the UK are trying to set Monday as the release day of new pubished books in the bookstores. This strategy creates exitement in the market and demand for new book and help books sell better.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

RSS news feed

I have already written a post about RSS in this weblog. It is more than one month that I'm using Mozila FireFox instead of Internet Explorer and I am quite happy with it. It is much better than IE. Today I shifted from Outlook to Mozila Thunderbird. This email client is as cool as Firefox. I discovered a new world. Besides that you can deal with your emails and manage them easily with Thunderbird, it supports RSS feed which makes the life much easier for you.

You don't have to check some websites several times a day. You can create as many RSS accounts as you want and recieve update of your favourite websites whenever it is released. Fortunately most of famous websites and weblogs support RSS feed. BBC started this service recently for Farsi news. You can recieve news and post from BBC English, BBC Farsi, Yahoo and so on, or in the field of LIS you can recieve new posts from Open Access weblog and a couple of other weblogs. I strongly recommend your using Thunderbird. Try it, you'll enjoy it.

CiteULike, create your own library

CiteULike is a free service to help academics to share, store, and organise the academic papers they are reading. You can register free in a few seconds, and add the bibliographic information of the articles you read or found in some databases like ScienceDirect to your library, tag them with your keywords, write a comment or description about them. You can create or join a subject group and share the articles that interest you with others. You can monitor what other people or groups add to their libraries, which indicate their interest in articles (without invading their privacy). You can export the bibliographic information of the articles to Endnote. Also this service let you know which articles are more interesting as you see more people add them to their libraries.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Tale of Iraq's 'Cemetery of Books'

In the December Issue of Information Today, an article is published which is in fact the speech of Saad Eskander in Internet Librarian 2004 about the story of destruction of Iraqi national library and archive in 2003 and the Iraqis' efforts to rebuild their nationa library. It is worth reading or even translating to Farsi for a newspaper if somebody does.
You can read the full-text online here.

Google Scholar Again

I just did a search in Google Scholar and I found that it could be very useful. By checking the results of my search I found out by chance that I have full-text access to some materials that I thought I didn’t. For example I just realised that I have full-text access to JASIST back to 1986 while I always used to think that my access is limited to issues after 2001.

Also I found out that Google Scholar will break some boundaries that inhibit interdisciplinary use of scholarly articles. For example we librarians and information scientists usually search LISA or ISA for our research purposes and think that they suffice us. But if you do your search in Google Scholar as well, you might found (as I did) some very useful and pertinent materials in the other areas like computer science or in some general resources Like the Science Magazine that we usually never check. I feel that Google Scholar works like a Federated Search Engine!

Monday, December 06, 2004

ISBN 2007 change

ISO, the international organisation for standardisation, has approved a new ISBN standard. from 1 January 2007, ISBNs will have 13 digits, like the EAN barcode number.
(Update, 3(12))

Friday, December 03, 2004

Online Information 2004

Online Information 2004 exhibition was held from 30 Nov-2 Dec in Olympia Grand Hall in London. There were more than 100 free seminars and presentations available and about 250 exhibitors participated. There were some good news in the exhibitions. for example some more informaiton is to be available free on the web including all UK trade statistics and European Union statistics that will be available free on the web with search facilities from January 2005. Online Informatio 2004 Some new products were introduced like Scopus from Elsevier which is quite different from other databases in that it presents the results of the search with a new style and within new categories. The other interesting phenomenon which could be observed in the exhibition was the number of companies which provide services and applications for managing the access to electronic resources.
to see the full size picture click here