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Friday, 27 June 2008

Non-English blog roundup #4 (Dutch)

I've been saving up a whole pile of stuff and then more came in when I was down with a cold, and then I just got behind. So I'll start off with a bunch of old content from Dutch blogs -- fair warning, it turns out that my Dutch is even worse than I thought it was. Hopefully it'll improve, and in the meantime, machine translation is improving all the time...

On ZB Digitaal:
  • comments discuss the reliability of IP address tracing to find the location of visitors -- the problem being that it depends on the address provided to the registry by the server. [In New Zealand this means that no matter where you are in the country, if you use ISP X you'll show up in server logs as being in City Y.]
  • the 7 Vs of young adult librarianship: freedom, trust, responsibility, imagination, narrative, enrichment, cheerfulness. [Alliteration loses something in translation.]
On Wowter over het Web:
  • Wouter introduces a wiki for Dutch biblioblogs, nlbiblioblogs
  • a great post discussing at what point libraries should adopt new technologies. Wouter leans towards the experimentation side of the spectrum, rather than waiting for everything to be perfect, and gives an example of the unintended benefits of a comments feature in a catalogue. "When the library as an organisation is not exploring and playing with the possibilities than the organization is not teaching learning (thanks, wow!ter, for the correction -DF 30/6) anything." [I ended up reading this through Google Translation which is startlingly readable though it doesn't deal so well with compound words. Where you see "commentaarmogelijkheid", read "the ability to comment".]
And on the Bibliotheek 2.0 Ning group, Jeroen van Beijnen writes about one solution to writing in the margin of library books: transparent post-it notes. [I personally as a reader don't mind if someone had pencilled in one or two notes. In pencil. And not many of them. OTOH, I do think that (following links all English) readers should be careful, when correcting a book's historical details, to ensure first that it's not an alternate history book. The author of the book in question maintains that "we should hold off on the brain-wipe until the second offence"; a comment on her post leads to a LiveJournal community for found marginalia.]

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Database RSS alerts - Errata

A few things I missed the first time around:
  1. Ovid:
    • has Contents alerts which work immediately.
    • I went in again this evening to try to create an RSS search alert which might actually send me results ("trees" perhaps not being general enough and "effects" apparently being a stop word, I thought I might try "properties"), and couldn't find my way back to create a search alert at all. So I went back to the instructions I'd written for our postgrads on how to do it... and discovered that the RSS button isn't now where it was two days ago. I have screenshots so I know I'm not going mad:


      Yes, I've tried both logged in and logged out.

  2. ProQuest:
    • I commented on Tame The Web that I hadn't received any alerts yet from ProQuest; I now have.

  3. Scitation provides alerts:
    • on addition to the database
    • search alerts
    • by RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

  4. Standards New Zealand:
    • also has Topic alerts

Monday, 16 June 2008

Database RSS alerts #3

Concluding my investigations of what alerts various engineering databases provide (part 1, part 2) with a few loose ends...

  • RSS "Editor's Choice" average 10-15 alerts a week per 'industry' - the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server
  • Email search alerts "continuously updates" - but only the account administrator is authorised!

  • when database updated
  • search alerts (contents alerts for PsycArticles journals)
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server

Ovid (eg GeoBASE, Biological Abstracts, Forest Science Database)
  • weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or when database updated
  • search alerts
  • by email or RSS - but the RSS link has to be manually edited if you're using the database through a proxy server
  • Note: I'm not convinced this worked - my feeds are sitting happily in my RSS reader with one post each saying "Newly created Ovid feed" but I'm still waiting for any alerts to appear...

And various databases that have no RSS capabilities:
  • Agricola
  • CE Database
  • FireInf
  • Index New Zealand
  • Kompass
  • NLM
  • NTIS
  • Transportation Research Information Services Online

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Exploiting library catalogue data

At some point I'll catch up from when I was down with a nasty cold and do a proper non-English blog roundup installment. In the meantime this leaped out at me:

Marlen's Corner (French) quotes from a survey about catalogue use (also French) saying approximately: "[...] we must say that the quality of library data is their advantage compared to other data sources. The problem currently doesn't come from these latter, but rather from the lack of exploitation of the library data's potential by search engines, and from the lack of visibility that the interfaces give them."

Every now and then I talk about how I want a catalogue that lets users search by colour. There's just that tiny detail that we'd first need to catalogue the colour of a million-odd existing volumes and redesign the search interface... But seriously, we catalogue books with all sorts of obscure information -- by size, for example. Why do we do that? More to the point, since we do do that, why don't we exploit the fact that the information's there: why can't users search by size? Why can't we limit our searches by "has illustrations", "has colour illustrations", "includes maps"?

(Is there any catalogue that can do any of this?)