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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

about DNS

Domain Name System DNS is a huge directory that translates Domain Names (URLs) to IP numbers. Computers on the Internet use IP numbers to communicate with each other. Your computer cannot find Websites or send and receive e-mails unless the working browser first access to DNS directory to translate your URL to an IP.

DNS System

DNS consists of many servers on the internet that work together to deliver requested URLs. DNS servers are distributed throughout the World and they cover billions of names (both IPs and domains). They contribute to deliver requested queries on the Internet. The domain name system is a global network of servers that translate host names like www.google.com into numerical IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, like 204.62.131.129, which computers on the Net use to communicate with each other.

DNS software

DNS servers use some DNS softwares especially BIND. Each DNS software has two sections: the Name Server and the Resolver. The Name Server is the main part which translates a browser requests (URL) to an IP. When it doesn't know the answer, the Resolver will ask other Name Servers for the requested address.


How DNS works?

When you type in a URL, your browser sends a request to the closest Name Server. If that server has already been requested for the same address within in a certain period, it has the reply. If the Name Server is unfamiliar with the requested domain name, the Resolver sends the query to another Name Servers. If that doesn't work, the second server will ask yet another - until they find an Authoritative Server (A server which supplies an answer without asking another server).

Errors

Sometimes, when you write a URL you receive an Error Message that indicates the requested URL has not been found e.g. “Sorry, we could not find http://www.www.google.com”. In this case, if you are sure that your address is correct, then there is another reason. The process of communication between the browser and Name Server is usually very fast but sometimes it might take several seconds to find an Authoritative Server. You might receive the error message because the Authoritative server is slow in replying to the first Name Server and meanwhile the connection of your computer with the Name Server is dropped based on your connection defaults. In the next efforts, there is more chance to open the URL because the Authoritative Server has replied to the first Name Server in this time and the closest Name Server has already stored the requested IP. So your requested IP is available on the closest Name Server.

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Resources: BIND9 and iana

Friday, September 24, 2004

Facilities for research Students

Just have a look at the facilities available for LIS PhD stdents at three UK uiniversities and Queensland in Australia:
desk and PC
City: yes
Sheffield: yes
UCL: no
Queensland: yes
free printing
City: yes (no limit)
Sheffield: yes (up to a reasonable limit)
UCL: yes (260 pages a year)
Queensland: yes (1500 pages per semester)
free photocopy
City: yes (no limit)
Sheffield: no
UCL: no
Queensland: yes (1000 pages per semester)
direct telephone line
City: yes
Sheffield: yes
UCL: no
Queensland: yes
possibility to make free call
City: yes (no limit to all UK land lines)
Sheffield: no (you have to pay)
UCL: not at all
Queensland: yes (just in city without zero)
web or store space on the network
City: yes (at least 6 GB)
Sheffield: yes (?)
UCL: yes (100 MB)
Queensland: yes (more than 2 GB)
possibility to have your own webpage
City: yes
Sheffield: yes
UCL: n/a
Queensland: yes

you can see that different departmetns are offering different servces to their studets. these services are affected by many factor including the faculty that the department is a part of and etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

RMIT Uninversity-visit to Tehran

In late September, a delegation from RMIT University - Melbourne Australia - will be present in Laleh Hotel, Tehran, to provide information, conduct interviews, and help process applications for students who are interested in continuing their education in Australia.
A number of other Australian universities will also attend this session.
Details are:
Date and Time:
29th and 30th September, 10am to 6pm
Venue:
Laleh International Hotel, Dr. Fatemi Avenue, Hejab Cross Road, Tehran.
Tel:
(+98-21) 8965021-9, 8966021-9, 8967021-9
Email:
info@lalehhotel.com
Web:
www.lalehhotel.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Knowledge management and librarianship: part 4

It seems that knowledge management has extended the LIS job market to the outside of traditional libraries and information services units. Although the level of LIS professionals involvement in the KM programs may varies.
Facing with the phenomenon of information overload in companies and organizations, LIS professionals are increasingly needed to managing the huge volume of information and to providing people with the high-quality information. Indeed, information management is the heart of every KM programs.
Ajiferuke (2003), has conducted the empirical research understanding the role of information professionals in KM programs in Canada. The result of his research shows that:
Many of information professionals involved in the programs are
playing key roles, such as the design of the information architecture, development of taxonomy, or content management of the organization’s intranet. Others play lesser roles, such as providing information
for the intranet, gathering competitive intelligence, or providing research services as requested by the knowledge management team.
While these results make us happy, there are other researchs which show different results. I will write about them later.
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Ajiferuke, I 2003, 'Role of information professionals in knowledge management programs: Empirical evidence from Canada', Informing Science Journal, no. 6, pp. 247-57.

Pure Persian Editor


I found this program useful for checking a Persian text. In fact, it is not excellent; however, you can use it to find good Persian equivalents in your Persian articles and letters.



I entered this text:


بنا بر این گزارش، افزايش جمعيت روستايي اطراف تالاب نيز موجب وسعت گرفتن فعاليت هاي كشاورزي و دامپروري در اين منطقه شده است كه به تبع اين موضوع، جاری شدن انواع فاضلاب هاي خانگی، صنعتي و كشاورزی در محيط زيست تالاب، استفاده بيش از حد از سموم رفع آفات، بهره برداري تجاري از نيزارهای اطراف تالاب و شكار بی رويه و غير مجاز اهالي منطقه، باقي مانده اين اكوسيستم نادر طبيعي را در معرض تخريب و نابودي قرار داده است

And this was the result:

بنا بر این گزارش، افزایش جمعیت روستایی اطراف تالاب نیز مایه گستره گرفتن فعالیت های کشاورزی و دامپروری در این منطقه شده است که به تبع این موضوع، جاری شدن گونه های فاضلاب های خانگی، صنعتی و کشاورزی در پیرامون زیست تالاب، بهره گیری بیش از اندازه از سموم رفع آفات، بهره برداری بازرگانی از نیزارهای اطراف تالاب و شکار بی رویه و غیر مجاز اهالی منطقه، به جا مانده این اکوسیستم نادر طبیعی را در برابر ویرانی و نابودی نهاده است

You can try it in this address:

Monday, September 20, 2004

Getting Published

I think we are all in agreement that there is a pretty good enthusiasm among new generation of LIS students in our homeland for publishing articles. This movement can be fruitful and effective if it is managed and directed properly. Those who are interested to know more about publishing in international LIS journals can have a look at "How to get published in LIS journals: a practical guide" from Elsevier. It contains very useful information.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

University Ranking

What Reza reported about Dr. Moein’s words is a ray of hope for us. It’s nice to hear about new scientific promotion of Iranian universities. But we have seen the significant differences between Iranian and other counties’ universities. This big gap should not be forgotten.
Personally, I believe that the main problem with Iranian higher education system is its focusing on education rather than research. As you see in your universities, most academic passion is doing research and publishing new articles not teaching in undergraduate levels. I agree that our system makes the academic people be a teaching machine; however, this does not decrease our responsibility in the case of doing some research.

Several months ago I received a link about Evaluation of the World’s universities (maybe one of you emailed it to me – I can’t remember). This ranking is run every year by a Chinese university. Neither in 2003 nor in 2004 we can’t see any Iranian University among the 500 best universities of the World.
If we consider size of a university as an educational value too, we’ll see that only 20% of the ranking value refers to education and 80% of its authority goes for its research-based statistics and activities:

Criteria / Weight
Quality of Education / 10%
Quality of Faculty / 40%
Research Output / 40%
Size of Institution / 10%
“We have scanned every university that has any Nobel Laureates, Fields Medals, Highly Cited Researchers, or papers published in Nature or Science. In addition, we scanned major universities of every country with significant amount of papers cited by SCIE and SSCI. In total, we have scanned more than two thousand universities” [FAQs].
It seems that the publication and research activities of Iranian universities are very low yet. This is the link for the ranking system mentioned above:
http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/ranking.htm

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

DR. Moein’s speech in London, 3

At the endof the speech in Kanoon Towhid in London, somebody asked Dr. Moein if the growth in the number scientific publication has had any effect on our industry or people’s life. Dr. said that it has but the effect is not outstanding. Because there is still not enough relation between university and industry. And also for example in agricultureal sector less than about (I think) 2% of human force have a university degree. In such a situation it is not reasonable to expect that the results of the agricultural researches have direct effect on our agriculture. Dr. Moein also talked about the lack of funding for research. He siad he visited the University of Cambridge and was told that most parts of the city of Cambridge are owned by the University which is a great source of income for that university.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

DR. Moein’s speech in London, 2

Here are some of the main points of Dr. Moein’s Speech:
According to the ISI database, Iran’s scientific production (i.e. articles published by Iranians in the ISI journals) has increased ten times during last decade (since first 5-year development paln). The most of the articles belong to Basic science, and the least to Humanities and Arts (this needs to be studied to find out why?). Iran know is among the top 31 countries which publish 98% of scientific articles and this is a great achievement. Iran is the only Islamic country among these top countries.Only three Iranin scientific journals are indexed by ISI. But recently the Ministry has paid more attention to increase the quality of the journals to have more jourals in ISI. Unfortunately some of the academics seem to be disagreed with this movement. Dr. said they are often those who don’t publish in international journals. The research identified the universities which have the least international articles and those which have the most. As to the cooperation of Iranina authors with researches of other countries, Iranian researches published the most joint articles with American scientists. Dr. Moein also compared the scientific production of Iran with Iraq’s since 1970. The chart showed that our production befor revolution was more than Iraq’s. During the 8-year war Iran’s production approached to almost zero while iraq’s was still in an acceptable level. This shows that Iraq was being supported by many countires during war but Iran had to put mobbilize all of its potency just for war. After war Iran’s scientific production started a racket-like growth but Iraq attacked Kuwait and involved in 1st Gulf war. Afer that Iraq’s scientific production (which obviously lost the support of all his former allies) decreased to almost zero point and is still at that level.

Monday, September 13, 2004

DR. Moein’s speech in London, 1

On Saturday night at Kanoon Towhid in London, Dr. Mostafa Moein (former Minister of Science) delivered a speech about "Iranian scientific productions in the beginning of the 21th century". The speech was based on a bibliometric research on ISI database which is going to be published in Scientometrics. The speech was very informative and inspiring. I must say I really admired Dr. Moein’s approach to higher education and generally his understanding of the current situations. The interesting point for me as an Information professional was that the research which lies in our field was done by some non-information professionals. Dr. Moein himself is a physician and two other people who helped him in that reseaerh work in one of medical research centres in Iran. Dr. Moein was explaining Impact Factor for the audience and I was thinking that If physicians are supposed to do bibliometric researches, so we should go and treat patients, shouldn’t we? But honestly, there is no border in science as long as researches are of high quality and useful. The information that Dr. Moein presented that night could be very useful and effective for higher education planning. It was the most useful speech I’ve ever attended at Kanoon Towhid. In the next post I’ll write about the content of the speech.

Friday, September 10, 2004

ArXiv: an e-print archive and an online database

ArXiv.org is an online database of self-archived research articles covering physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology. ArXiv is an e-print service in the above fields. The contents of arXiv conform to Cornell University academic standards. ArXiv is owned, operated and funded by Cornell University, a private not-for-profit educational institution. ArXiv is also partially funded by the National Science Foundation.
Authors deposit their papers as preprints (before peer review) and postprints (after peer review – both referred to here as “e-prints”) in source format (often Latex), which can be converted by the arXiv.org service into postscript and PDF. In addition to depositing the full-text of the article, authors provide metadata. The metadata include the article title, author list, abstract, and (optionally), a journal citation. Articles are deposited into “sub-arXivs,” (subject categories for which users can receive periodical emails listing the latest additions).

With 260,000 articles self-archived over 12 years, arXiv is the largest Open Access (i.e., toll-free, full-text, online access) central e-print archive. (There do exist bigger archives, such as citeseer, whose contents are computationally harvested from distributed site, rather than being self-archived centrally by their authors). ArXiv, receiving about 10,000 downloads per hour on the main site alone (there are a dozen mirror sites), is an essential resource for research physicists. For more information, see: www.arXiv.org

Thursday, September 09, 2004

JDoc

Those who are used to browse and read Journal of Documentation (JDoc) might have noticed that the quality of this journal declined a bit compared to a few years a go. I was told that the editorial board of the JDoc resigned altogether as an objection when it was sold to Emerald Publication. However it is still one of the most accretided and prestigious journals in LIS.

In fact in all scientific fields, the scientists are unhappy with the gradual take over of academic journals by commercial publishers such as Elsevier, Blackwell and the like. A few decades ago almost all scientific journals were published by universities or scientific societies, but most of them were sold to publishers because of funding and commercial problems. While advanced technology and electronic publication have presumably reduced the publication expenditures, the journal subscription prices keep going up. Most of scholars at the moment are wondering what kind of value publishers add to their articles, because nowadays authors are asked by pulishers to type, outline and even prepare a camera-ready format of their articles. So what do publishers do? Just print and distribute the journals and make the readers and libraries to pay through the nose for subscription! Now, many authors consider big commercial publishers like Elsevier as a symbol of the exploitation of scientists. According to one scientists “we do research for the hell of it”.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Knowledge management and librarianship: part3

There is a general acknowledgement within the literature that although LIS professionals have excellent information management skills in order to be significant players in knowledge management they need to gain additional skills and overcome a number of obstacles. Some of these obstacles arise from their personal behavior and some from an inappropriate type of education. Abell & Oxbrow (2001) state that from the employers' point of view the specific obstacles are as follows:

  • lack of business knowledge
  • lack of understanding of the interplay between information and organizational objectives
  • poor team and leadership skills
  • lack of management skills

Another general criticism of LIS professionals is that they are reluctant to change or slow to do so even when the need to do so is apparent. So, they fail to seize the opportunities.

To successfully engage in knowledge management, LIS professionals must have a holistic view and go beyond the narrow scope of their profession.

Abell, A & Oxbrow, N (2001), Competing with knowledge: the information professionals in the knowledge management age, Library Association Publishing, London.


Free access to Sage journals

Sage publicationhttp is granting free access to all of its journals from Sptember 1 through 31 October. This limitated service is just to celebrate the release of new online journal platform of the publisher. The journals include the following LIS journals:
Business Information Review
Health Informatics Journal
Journal of Information Science
Journal of Librarianship and Information Science
Information Development

to see the list of all journals (more than 250) click here

Monday, September 06, 2004

Localized Searching

There is a big competition at the moment about localized searching. Localization is a kind of specialization in which the search sngine finds the best results and ranks them based on the geographical neighbourhood.

For example, if you like to find the Pizza Restaurants in Azadi Street of Tehran, the best way is using a localized search engine. This special engine doesn’t search just for your keywords. It refers to the geographical databases and uses GIS techniques and therefore you will see not only related Pizza Restaurants in Azadi St. but also in the neighbour streets such as Enghelab St.

This technology is very young yet and many groups are working on it. Google has developed a localized search engine for the United States. It has a useful local map for easier decision. Have a look at it in this link.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Overseas Students' Difficulties -1

Low Communication opportunities

The name Research Student reminds me of Marquez’s famous novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. Unfortunately, as research students, we don’t have enough opportunity to make communication with people and gradually we will find our life boring.

We receive a computer set and a desk in a shared office. Every morning we start our daily program with our PC and this can waste all of our creative time and energy. Browsing new books and journals and reading related articles in the branch library is another significant activity of a research student. You would be lucky if your supervisors are native English speakers, although you see them just once every second week. Whether your office is shared with native or international students, it is not fair to interrupt their concentration and altogether the office should be silent at all times. In many countries Ph.D. is just research and there is no coursework. As a result, there are few chances to have direct contact with other people in the school.

The type of accommodation also affects the quantity of our friends. Students usually have four choices for their accommodation:
1) Living alone. Never try it! This is my recommendation.
2) Living in shared houses and units. This might be a good opportunity to make relationship with people and have fun, especially if you can find both native and ovearsea housemates. Don’t live with some people that are from the same country. Why? Because if they are native it is hard for you to enter in their strong group and if they are from another country, they’ll speak in their language and in both cases you will be alone.
3) Living in residential colleges or dormitories. This is excellent for undergraduate students and I think this is the best way for living without homesickness as well as for learning English. However their fees are very expensive and postgraduates live separately.
4) Living with partner or Iranian friends. If you are married or if you are living with Iranian guys, Persian will be automatically used in most times. This condition reduces your chance to improve your English skill. However, it is the best way to live far from your family, friends, hometown and country without or with less homesickness.

In summary, a research student is an alone person and married students probably have a better condition, although the poor fellow is alone all day. Finding some reliable friends and neighbours is a good way to overcome the loneliness difficulties. Changing the tedious daily program and giving yourself an off can be effective too.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Free access to some journals

Emerald has a generous service called “Journal of the Week”. The service offers free access to two journals every week. You can have free access to the following LIS journals during the given periods:
13-20 September
The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances
Journal of Knowledge Management
20-27 September
The Electronic Library
27 September - 3 October
Library Hi Tech

Thursday, September 02, 2004

jux2

As search aficionados, we have watched recent changes in the search industry with great interest. Yahoo! launched its own search algorithm in February 2004. MSN previewed its proprietary search algorithm in July 2004, and is expected to roll it out soon. That will give Internet searchers a choice of four different major search algorithms (Ask Jeeves, Google, MSN, and Yahoo). It also made us wonder: how different are the search engines, and is one any better than the others? They created jux2 as a comparative research tool to answer these questions. Using jux2, theylearned that search engines are more different than people think, typically sharing fewer than 3.5 of their top 10 results (see the other statistical data). They also found that a comparative tool like jux2 gives users far more control over their searches and, in many cases, better search results than from any single search engine. Their hope is that the community of advanced search users finds jux2 an interesting and useful tool.

Google now indexing Flash files

Google is now indexing the text content of Flash files. Removed from AlltheWeb, this option is now only available at Google. A limit is available by using filetype:swf in combination with search terms. Google added a local search option (still in beta) for U.S. locations. Enter a U.S. city name or ZIP code with search terms and phone directory-style results appear at the top of the regular results. The local results include store name, distance from the center of town, address, and phone number. The direct version [http://local.google.com/] gives more than three results and also tries to guess Web sites connected to the businesses. That part does not always work well.

Editorship and Authorship

One of the contradictions in the publication of scholarly journals is when the editor of a journal publishes his/her articles in the same journal that s/he is the editor of. The interests of an editor and an author in a journal are different. Aren’t they?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Publication of Scientific Journals

Recently I cooperated in a research project about Open Access Journals. I used N6 software to analyse comments of about 1000 authors from different countries about open access and scientific publication. By reading the answers of the authors to an open question I learned many points that I didn’t know about scholarly journals. I never even imagined that scientific journals may charge authors for publishing their articles. But in fact some journals do this especially in medical sciences. Many journals charge for article submission (e.g. Journal of the Investment Management charges 100$), many journals charge the authors if their articles have colour pictures (e.g. European Journal of Neuroscience charges 450£ per colour page), some journals charge submission fee if the article is submitted in manuscript (not electronic format).

In the traditional business model of scholarly journal publication, there is a publisher (private or public) that invests and publishes journals and then by selling the journals to readers makes benefit. In fact readers traditionally pay for the journals. But now some other business models are being implemented. One of them is Open Access (OA). In open access publishing, journals are published on the Internet and access is free for all. But, who pays for the expenditure of publication? Authors are expected to pay for publication of their articles (I should point out here that there different definitions for Open Access. I am talking just about one of the approaches to OA).There are many doubts and questions about this publication model. For instance many scientists believe that this may deteriorate the quality of the articles and also leads in biased publications as just those authors can publish who have money. Indeed the quality of articles may be compromised. If you are interested to know more about Open Access take a look at this collaborative weblog which is one the best source for information about OA. Also if you need the list of Open Access journals you can refer to the directory of them.