Friday, December 31, 2004
Thursday, December 23, 2004
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
Monday, December 20, 2004
Overseas Students' Difficulties -2
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
Monday as release day of books
Thursday, December 09, 2004
RSS news feed
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'
You can read the full-text online here.
Google Scholar Again
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
Friday, December 03, 2004
Online Information 2004
to see the full size picture click here