Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sign up now for library instruction

I've already seen upperclassmen and -women unloading their cars while relieved freshmen, finished with their Autumn Term class, play baseball in their bare feet outside the library windows. The Fall Semester is nearly upon us, and as you finalize your syllabi, remember to include library instruction. I prefer to design instruction around your class assignments so give me a call or send me an e-mail so we can chat. The library classroom is already being booked so if you want to have your preferred time, get in touch with me as soon as possible. However, instruction is most effective when it can be immediately applied to an assignment. If your major research paper is not due until the end of the term, you may want to put off instruction for a month or so. Or plan two instructions, one as an introduction and then a refresher/Q&A class when your students are in the midst of the assignment. Furthermore, if you prefer, keep in mind that I can teach in your classroom if you have access to the Internet and a projector screen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Live science from a researcher near you

YouTube is famously popular. Who hasn’t gotten links to hilarious, pathetic, or just plain strange YouTube videos in their email?

The National Science Foundation, Public Library of Science (PLoS), and the San Diego Supercomputer Center have teamed up to launch what bloggers and journalists are billing as the “YouTube for Scientists.” In SciVee, scientists can upload multimedia video podcasts that are associated with papers that they have published on PLoS. SciVee is structured to build communities among scientists through communication and discussion surrounding shared research interests. The SciVee “About Us” ( page has an excellent graphic that demonstrates their mission well:

I have watched a couple of videos on SciVee. There are not many, however this resource has only been available for about a week. Time will tell whether scientists will find this method of communication useful and comfortable. From what I have seen, there are differences in presentation quality and approaches. Some have chosen to give a straightforward lecture, while others have used photographs, slides, music, and animations to illustrate their paper. For example, in a video linked to a paper entitled “Order in Spontaneous Behavior” by Alexander Maye, Chih-hao Hsieh, George Sugihara, Bj√∂rn Brembs, I was able to see video of a fruit fly glued to a mechanism that measured head movements. This video illustrated the author’s device much better than a written description.

I am interested to see how the scientific community takes to this new dissemination medium. I hope the Eckerd community will check it out and leave me some comments.

SciVee (

Scifinder Scholar 2007 expands search features

The 2007 version of Scifinder Scholar has a number of new features to simplify your research process. Now when you locate a substance, you can extend your search by clicking on the structure.

In this screenshot, by clicking on cyclobutane, a drop-down menu for a number of search possibilities appears. By choosing, “explore” or “refine” you will automatically open the drawing window where you can alter the chemical structure to conduct more searches. The drop-down also offers you a number of other options. For example,

when you click on references, you are offered choices to create a more precise search (as seen below). Using the provided subject categories, one can search cyclobutane associated with adverse effect, including toxicity.

Another new feature is categorize. The categorize feature will analyze the subject terms of references you have retrieved and provide bar graph analysis per subject word. Using this analysis, you can combine subcategories to further refine your search. Scifinder Scholar has provided a PDF documenting slides on these new features. To access the slides, click here.

In addition, to sign up for webinars from the vendor, visit here.

Remember, I can instruct your class on this or other databases. Contact me to set up a lesson.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New interface for Web of Science

ISI Web of Science has thoroughly updated its user interface. Presently, the old version and the new version are running concurrently. To access the new version, you have two choices:

1. Go to the library home page. Choose "Web of Science" from the drop-down menu QUICK JUMP: GO DIRECTLY TO A DATABASE. Once you have entered the old version, click the button on the top of the screen to access the new version.

2. Use the following URL from a computer on campus:

Upon entering the new version, the most noticeable feature is the availability of several search boxes (Figure 1). In addition, additional databases, such as ISIHighlyCited are no longer present on the introductory page. To access additional resources, one must use the “Additional Resources” tab. The new interface implemented by ISI Web of Science mimics some familiar databases owned by Eckerd College, such as Wilson’s General Science Full Text. The drop-down menu to the right of the search boxes allows the user to choose specific options, such as topic, author, language, and several more.

Figure 1. Initial search interface for the new version of Web of Science (click to see a larger image)

In addition, the results screen offers more new elements (Figure 2). A sidebar easily allows you to refine your results by subject areas, document types, authors, and more. An “Analyze Results” buttons provides a bar graph of your results filtered by your choice of data.

Figure 2. Results screen

Web of Science vendor Thomson Scientific is offering recorded training demos that you must sign up to access at In addition, I have acquired some Powerpoint slides on the new interface, which I can send to you if you email me: Don’t forget, though, your friendly librarian is always available to give instruction to you or your classes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zotero keeps track of your research

When I was in grad school, I wrote my first paper using handwritten notecards. It had been ten years since I was in school. I thought someone must have created an electronic research tool. I downloaded a few trials from, however I did not find a system that allowed me to keep my citation information linked to my notes, something that would allow me to search my own notes, capture screen shots that would link to citation information, or let me drop that citation information into my research paper with a simple mouse click. Zotero, created at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, claims to do all of these things. (Of that I have graduated).

Zotero is a Firefox plug-in that works with your browser window. Free to users, it downloads in a matter of minutes. This morning I downloaded the plug-in and began using it for some research on chronic daily headache.

Click the screen shot above to see the full screen with Zotero in use. Notice the notes attached to the article Managing the "difficult" headache patient. I have experimented for a short time this morning, but initially I feel that the potential for this tool is great. However, I have not used it enough yet to see how well it lives up to its potential. I will continue to use it in my daily work and post an update in a month or so.

For those interested, there is a video tour on the zotero site:

If you do test it out, let me know what you think of it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

New science journal focuses on sustainability

The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) and Wiley and Sons have joined forces to offer a new journal, Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biorefining. According to Bruce E. Dale, editor-in-chief from Michigan State University,

movement towards a bioeconomy presents great opportunities for forward-thinking institutions to become catalysts for beneficial change and reap the related benefits.
This journal is meant to be the forum for scientists to communicate their research related to the bioeconomy. The journal publishes peer-reviewed critical reviews, commentary, business news highlights, policy updates, and patent information.

At this time, the first issue is available online via

In addition, a related Web site with free content is being launched. Visit for free content, a links directory, and, in the future, a forum for like-minded individuals. Sign up for updates and you have a chance to win the book Renewables-Based Technology: Sustainability Assessment, edited by Jo Dewulf & Herman Van Langenhove.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Science tattoos

Blogger and science writer, Carl Zimmer, has written about the tattoos that scientists choose for body decoration. Asking that readers send in their own science-related tattoos, Zimmer has now collected more than 20 photos. Follow this link:

to read the blog, and this link:

to reach the flickr photo album that Zimmer has set up for scientific tattoos. If you have your own science tattoo, send in a photo to add to the growing collection. If you send the photo me also, I will post it to the blog for the Eckerd community to enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Volunteers requested for ACS Meeting event

Students or faculty who may be attending the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston this year can get involved and network with other chemists by volunteering at the outreach/Presidential event. Volunteers will help conduct hands-on activities during "Chemistry in Action: Health and Wellness" on Sunday, August 19 at the Boston Museum of Science from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Interested parties should contact Marisa at the following email: m_burgener at acs dot org

Monday, August 13, 2007

History of science journal to change name

In a press release dated August 2, 2007, University of California Press announced that the journal Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences will change its name to Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. In addition, beginning February 2008, the journal will be published quarterly. The full press release can be found at

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Computing Hot Topic

Computing Reviews, an online archive of published reviews on the newest material related to computing, has published its latest Hot Topic. Hot Topics focus on new ideas within the genre and are available online. From the press release, the newest release is described as follows:

Written by Dennis Fetterly of Microsoft Research, this Hot Topic essay focuses on how search engine results can be manipulated by content providers. By using methods such as adding unrelated content to meta tags, duplicating information, and cloaking content so it is indexed differently, Web pages can improve their result rankings. While the economic incentive for achieving high rankings is significant, manipulated results undermine the trust of millions of users. Fetterly suggests research into link-based spam detection and the identification of spam blogs, and advocates the development of a clear set of rules for search engines.
Access is available at

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"All that JAS" gets new home

For those of you familiar with "All that JAS: Journals Abbreviations Sources," this valuable resource has become part of

All that JAS was developed by a librarian, Gerry McKiernan, at Iowa State University. He ran the site for 7 years. Divided in numerous categories, such as AQUATIC SCIENCES, MEDICINE, and FOOD SCIENCE, All that JAS provides access to journal abbreviation lists for those writing references and those attempting to interpret them. Also included are resources that provide full titles of periodicals as well as conference proceedings. was started by a software engineer, and includes abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms in dozens of categories. For All that JAS, the move means a dedicated team will be able to maintain the integrity of the resource list.

To directly access All that JAS at its new location, book mark following URL:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Gray literature" added to Webster's

The 2007 update for Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition will include the term "gray literature." Gray literature has been in use within the scientific community for a number of years. The entry will look as follows:

Main Entry:
gray literature
: written material (as a report) that is not published commercially or is not generally accessible

Other new dictionary terms can be found at Merriam Webster's site.