Monday, April 30, 2007

CrossRef DOIs and SFX

While testing out Google Scholar links with our LibX Firefox Extension, we discovered that there was something amiss with the University of Windsor SFX links that used CrossRef's DOI service.

(OCUL librarians: some of your doi links don't work either:
that leaves these libraries who have doi linking enabled:

There are instructions that detail how to set up for doi linking within SFX in the SFX 3.0 User Guide Part Two, section 1. I mention this because after we set up our doi linking, the quality of our Google Scholar SFX links seems to have improved.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

36 percent of online American adults consult Wikipedia

From the most recent Pew Report:

Top 20 Educational and Reference Websites
Week Ending March 17, 2007
Share of traffic in the category that week

1. Wikipedia ( 24.33%
2. Yahoo! Answers ( 4.23%
3. ( 3.79%
4. ( 3.53%
5. SparkNotes ( 1.62%
6. Google Scholar ( 1.31%
7. Google Book Search ( 1.09%
8. Find Articles ( .99%
9. U.S. National Library of Medicine ( .99%
10. Merriam-Webster Online ( .85%

Source: Hitwise, U.S. Internet Visits (market share) for week ending March 17, 2007

I admit I had never heard of SparkNotes until now. [ttw]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Strange behaviour from the web

Twice in the same day, the simple act of clicking on text in a web page threw me for a loop.

The first instance occurred while I was doing preliminary research on the upcoming game World Without Oil. I learned about it from Cardhouse and was excited about being able to join an ARG on its startup. I have never played an 'alternative reality game' before and so I did what most newcomers to a discipline do: I checked it out in Wikipedia. Except the entire ARG entry had turned into one giant link to some gaming site. I couldn't 'undo' this change because this invisible link covered the entire entry page. I guess this was an apt entry point into an alternative world.

The second instance occurred when I was testing out our library's beta LibX Firefox toolbar. It has some great features and I'm particular excited about its ability to send search terms directly into Scholars Portal Search in the New York Times website. When I attempted to highlight the word murmeration by double-clicking on it a new window popped up with a definition provided by And I thought, when did simple text become aware of the double-click? How did they do that?

Small shifts in reality can still make you feel a little uneasy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Life is a trip towards death

I am regretting separating my blog into library-related and non-library related halves but I am going to live with the decision. I am going to keep cross-posting at a minimum. After this, that is:

On that other blog I wrote about my strange journey home from cil2007.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Twitter or Twitcher

I know its unfair for me to comment on Twitter without trying it but I think I can figure it out. It's the 'status' feature in Facebook without Facebook. Its the 'share personal message with contacts' in MSN without MSN.

It's a message in a bottle.

I don't think I will join Twitter unless it develops into a blossoming poetry machine. I'm going to avoid it if its just becomes another conduit for business.

I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon. I am all for connectivity. For social software. For contact. For friends of friends. For community. But right now, I'm in the mood for idleness.
Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, requisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due. Which is precisely what makes idleness dangerous. All manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had "too much time on our hands." They knew we might be up to something. And not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to something, "Quick, look busy."

Slouka, M.. "Quitting the Paint Factory." Harper's 309.1854 (2004):57-66.

On the way to work, I was stopped in my tracks twice by birds singing. I'm not sure whether I found the songs captivating because I haven't heard them all winter or because the bird songs of spring are different and more pronounced from the songs from the rest of the year. I would love an afternoon dedicated to finding this out. And to stake out the bird's nest I found by my work parking lot to properly identify the singer.

But to make best use of the spare time I do have, I tried to save its call by filming a blurry video of the bird with my digital camera. Later today or tomorrow I will flip through my Sibley and perhaps check out our library's Birds of North America.

That's how I use Twitter.

Monday, April 09, 2007

There are only 11 US newspaper reporters in Iraq

Today, there are all of 11 U.S. newspaper reporters in Iraq, covering the biggest foreign policy story of the decade, employed by just three papers – the independent Washington Post and New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The common ownership of the former Black papers helps explain why almost every major English-language daily in Canada, apart from the one you're reading, supported the war in Iraq. Indeed, it was the paucity of divergent views in U.S. mainstream papers on the activities of the Bush administration that spurred the growth of political websites – one of the largest subject categories on the Internet. It also drove readers away from the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Toledo Blade to the online editions of the Toronto Star and the U.K. Guardian.
In 2003, Lisa Sloniowski and I created a website called Iraq 2003: Sources of News as a companion to a discussion we hosted in the library about press coverage and the war. You think I wouldn't be shocked by the paucity of reporting in Iraq 2007 but evidently there's room for me to become even more jaded.