Friday, September 28, 2007

Vote for the cutest baby animals

For a little Friday cheer, take a minute to check out's cute baby animals. Take the opportunity to see a baby anteater, porcupine, and panda. C'mon, who doesn't love baby animals?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Endnote Web available to Eckerd

Endnote Web is a bibliographic citation manager available within Web of Science (Science Citation Index). As a web-based application, it is available from any computer, and it easily integrates with Endnote on your desktop. Use of Endnote Web requires a FREE registration through Web of Science. As long as you are affiliated with Eckerd, this account will remain available to you. It can hold up to 10,000 references.

Once you have logged into your account, you can import references from Web of Science seamlessly. However, you can also import from other databases. Generally this involves saving the reference as a text file, and importing, using one of the provided filters within Endnote Web. The filters correspond to individual databases. In addition, the option to enter references by hand is also available.

After importing references, they can be arranged in folders that you have created. References can be stored in one, or more than one folder, when applicable.

Endnote Web will utilize stored references to create a bibliography. The bibliography will be output according to your specifications: the folder you choose, the style you choose, and the output format you choose. More than 100 journal styles are available for your choice, as well as more encompassing styles, such as ACS or APA. The same folder of references can be formatted for one journal style and then reformatted for another. In addition, bibliographies can be output as HTML, rich text, or plain text.

A final feature available with Endnote Web is the Cite While You Write downloadable plug-in for Microsoft Word. This will allow you to add citations directly into your text, which will be formatted by the program. Then the citations are used to create you bibliography. This eliminates common mistakes, such as spelling an author's name one way in the text and another in your reference list. In addition, using this software, you will know that all references you cited are in the bibliography.

Personally, I am a fan of Refworks, another Web-based bibliographic utility, but it is not free. This program comes with our Web of Science package and can be used by all students and faculty. I am available for training on this utility. Just give me a call!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blog celebrates National Chemistry Week

National Chemistry Week will be celebrated October 21-27 this year with the theme "The Many Faces of Chemistry." A Science and Technology librarian at Iowa State University has launched a blog in honor of the event. In addition, a facebook group has been started for people interested in celebrating chemistry.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Free tutorial covers academic publishing process

More on publishing...PRIMO, the Peer-Reviewed Instructional Materials Online Site of the Month, chose Publish, Not Perish for August. This tutorial was created by librarians at the University of Colorado. Five modules address the oft-confusing world of scholarly publishing. Module 1 covers the scholarly communication field as a whole, spending extra time on new business models, such as open access. This module would be helpful for undergraduate students, as well as grads and new faculty. It gives an overview of the types of journals and journal articles that are being published, and that a student might access for class research. Modules 2 to 5 move from the broad overview into process-based approach for publishing. These sections of the tutorials are better suited for graduate students and new faculty who plan to publish soon. Tips include better ways to manage your time, how to conduct journal research, and where the ideas come from. The final module offers advice on how to create a personal publishing plan. This can help modulate fear and provide a working goal. The tutorial will take at least an hour to complete so set aside some time to work through the exercises. To access Publish, Not Perish, visit At the start of the tutorial, you are asked to enter your campus information. People not affiliated with University of Colorado can put "Other" and then the name of their own institution. There is no charge for the tutorial.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

New approach to citation measurement

I was recently asked about a journal's impact factor. Eckerd does not subscribe to Journal Citation Report from Thomson ISI, which presents impact factors in a neat package. I have spent some time, definitely not enough, looking into other measurements and measurement systems. I found an interesting, free, downloadable program by Anne-Wil Harzing, called Publish or Perish, that uses Google Scholar for calculations over Thomson ISI. The program calculates citations per paper, per year, as well as the h-index and g-index (Leo Egghe, Theory and practice of the g-index, Scientometrics, Vol. 69, No 1 [2006], pp. 131-152; Harzing offers a white paper comparing the use of Google Scholar and Thomson databases for calculations. According to Harzing, some of the major advantages to Google Scholar include the capture of articles in non-ISI-indexed journals and capture of book chapters, whereas some of the problems associated with Google Scholar include capture of nonscholarly works and length of time between updates.

I conducted a little experiment with one of our Marine Science professors, Shannon Gowans. Using Web of Science Cited Reference Search from 1999 to 2007, I found she had 68 citations to 9 articles. Using Publish or Perish, I found 154 citations to 10 articles. This is a large difference, and I am curious as to the reasons. I hope to look more into this topic, especially if it will help Eckerd faculty.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

APA provides examples for digital resources

The best feature to the new APA style guide are the numerous examples for uniquely electronic resources. In the past, we were guessing at the way a blog should be listed in our references. Now we have examples for not only blogs but also e-books, gray literature, white papers, raw data, course materials, preprints, and online bibliographies, to name only a few. APA also strives to simplify the electronic reference process. The name of the database where you retrieved an article is no longer necessary, unless it is an unknown or limited location. The retrieval date can be left off articles or books that are in their final form. To save space, home page URLs are favored for online reference sources, over lengthy addresses to the exact article. I guess APA thinks we, as researchers, are intelligent enough to look up a particular article once we get to the home page of a reference resource. Another major change is the use of Digital Object Indentifiers (DOI) over URLs when possible. DOI numbers, as they are commonly called, were created to assign a permanent identifier to an electronic object that may change title, URL, etc. The DOI number should be a constant form of identification. Journals that use DOI numbers will place the number on the first page of the article. An example of a DOI number can be seen below.

To read more about DOI numbers, see

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

WebCam provides glimpse of underwater research

The St. Petersburg Times featured an article about Aquarius Reef Base. Starting Monday, six researchers will be eating, sleeping, and conducting research under the Atlantic, south of the Florida Keys. In addition, the scientists will have classroom sessions via a live feed. The article from Associated Press detailing the mission is available here. NOAA's home page for the Aquarius base is The schedule for the shows can be located here.

Picture from Associated Press

Monday, September 17, 2007

I Can't Believe It!

I started out writing a very different blog post this morning, but with Eckerd internet acting a little funky, I decided to wait on my posting. That gave me the time to discover something entirely different. "Top" lists are extremely popular in our culture, from David Lettermen to the chain-letter-like Internet "memes." Alex Boese has published on his site the Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time. Boese maintains the Museum of Hoaxes Web site, however this list is based on his actual research for a book titled Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments.

While each experiment mentioned is truly disturbing, I think what I found to be the most disquieting were the two-headed dog and monkey-head transplant experiments. The fact that the United States looked at an experiment where a puppy's head was grafted to a larger dog as a challenge in science experimentation--a challenge which lead to the grafting of a monkey head onto a different body--seems unbelievable. The Cold War era inspired such terror in people that many decisions were questionable at best. The McCarthy trials were, of course, the seminal example, but the advent of these experiments shows how far Cold War fear drove even so-called rational disciplines.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dino burgers anyone?

For a little Friday fun, I thought you might enjoy a little comic strip offering an alternative explanation to the extinction of dinosaurs:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Free webliographies created by librarians

ISTL Web guides:

Science and Technology librarians have their own journal called Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (ISTL). A regular feature in this journal is the webliography. Librarians create Internet-accessible annotated lists of resources in science- and technology-related disciplines. The webliographies are peer-reviewed. Students and faculty alike may find some interesting and formerly unknown resources by perusing these guides. Keep in mind that some of these guides date back to 1997. However, the date is clearly visible so you will know the age of the information before accessing the web guide.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

APA Style Electronic reference

American Psychological Association has published a supplement to its 5th edition style guide. It is called APA Style Guide for Electronic Resources. The library has purchased a copy. It is available via PDF, and at this time, we are not sure how we will allow people to access it. To purchase your own copy, visit

I am working on figuring out the new parts of the style, and I hope to be able to let people know soon. I have already heard that APA is recommending DOI numbers instead of URLs. Soon I will be asking NAS faculty at Eckerd which style guide they ask their students to use, since I have noted we do not own the Council of Science Editors manual or the American Medical Association manual.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Play the virtual autopsy game

For Friday fun, I thought I would introduce you to the virtual autopsy game ( This game was created at the University of Leicester in England for undergraduate students in th Clinical Division of Pathology.

Eighteen cases are available for students to study. First, you are presented with a case history.

After reading the case history, you can click on the interactive cadaver to see what was discovered in the autopsy.

Once you have completed your "autopsy," You can try to determine the cause of death. Many choices are offered, and when you get one wrong, there are hints to help you make a better choice.

So have fun this Friday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Societies join to create federated search

Although active for a few months now, I thought many people at Eckerd might not be aware of Scitopia. Scitopia ( offers free federated searching throughout 13 scholarly societies. The federated search engine allows access into the digital libraries of member societies. Member societies include the following:

  • Acoustical Society of America
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Institute of Physics
  • American Physical Society
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • American Vacuum Society
  • The Electrochemical Society
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Institute of Physics Publishing
  • Optical Society of America
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • SPIE

Once citations have been located, Scitopia will connect to the full text if we subscribe to the journal electronically. This should work automatically if you are in the library or on campus. From off campus, you will have to log in using your Eckerd email address. For example, I searched for an article from the Journal of Applied Physics. Searching by title, I was able to pull up the citation and link directly the article PDF.

What happens if you cannot access the full text? There are two options. First, check to see if the journal is available in print from Eckerd College Library. If not, you can order the article through interlibrary loan. Not sure how to do that? Chat with me on Meebo via my home page. Visit the library Web site, click on staff and then my name for all contact info.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Peer review for students

I recently discovered an education resource that proposes to lessen the time a professor reads papers by creating a system of peer review. Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) was created by Orville L. Chapman, a Professor of Organic Chemistry at UCLA and a member of the National Academy. For future scientists, this seems a wonderful way to gain understanding of the peer-review process and the varied aspects of scholarly communication.

The process follows a four-step process. Students will write an essay or paper. They will then work through some calibration essays to understand how to review the work of others. Next, the students will evaluate their peers, and finally they evaluate their own work. This entire assignment yields a scored result via the program.

In addition, a library of assignments is available through the CPR database. Sample assignments are available at the Web site. Although CPR can be used by any discipline, sample assignments are predominantly in the sciences. This resource may be helpful for professors at Eckerd College who are trying to incorporate writing into classes that do not traditionally use writing. For example, the following assignment was developed for calculus:

Title: Calculus I: Damped Oscillator

Assignment Goals
The goal of this assignment is for students to

* read and understand the verbal description of a physical situation, in particular that of a damped oscillator,
* modify a mathematical model based on physical assumptions,
* explain relationships between representations, in particular between the physical situation, the formula modeling it and its graph,
* articulate mathematical ideas and techniques using appropriate vocabulary,
* read critically and assess the reasonableness of mathematical assertions, and
* evaluate the students' own writing and that of their peers for completeness and correctness.

In addition, professors can build their own assignments. Eckerd College is not signed up for CPR, but it easily could be. Let me know if you are interested.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Fall Semester!

On the first day of the Fall semester, I want to welcome back students and faculty. Remember I am here to assist you with research and instruction. Best of luck to you all.