Sunday, January 20, 2008

OLPC and the Library : The Talk

If you are in the Windsor / Detroit area, please consider joining a talk sponsored by MPOW called:

One Laptop Per Child: Open Source, Open Access, Open Library
January 28th, 7 pm, Freed-Orman Centre
By attending, you could win your very own XO laptop!

There's an article about the OLPC in the Toronto Sunday Star. What I found very amusing is that I share the journalist's same sensibility towards simple computers: he used to own an eMate and I used to lust after one.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Today my guest post at OLPC got published

Today the OLPC News blog kindly printed a guest post of mine about the relationship between libraries and the work of the One Laptop Per Child program.

That's the good news. The bad news is that evidently, there were only 4000 orders for XO laptops from Canada and that due to shipping logistics, the Canadian deliveries have been pushed back until February 15th!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

OLA wants your picutres of libraries from around the world

The Ontario Library Association's Super Conference 2008 is asking
Do you have pictures of photos of libraries you've snapped in your travels? If you’ve got some hidden away on your hard drive or in a photo album please help us by submitting them to OLA. Photos of any kinds of libraries (or librarians) in any location are good...

Photos will be used in a gallery on the OLA Super Conference Web site, at plenary sessions throughout the conference and, most particularly, at the closing plenary on Saturday, Feb. 2nd during the luncheon in which incoming IFLA President Ellen Tise from South Africa will be speaking. Photos can be submitted in any of the
following ways:
  • Send digital photos to (in any format but as high a resolution as possible).
  • If you are a Flickr member, you may submit photos to the “Libraries of the World – OLA Super Conference Pool” Flickr group.Again, as high a resolution as possible.
  • Send print photos to OLA, 50 Wellington St. East, Suite 201, Toronto M5E 1C8. Photos can be picked up at Super Conference from the Information Desk in the Registration Lobby. Any photos not picked up will be mailed to their owners following Super Conference.
I'll be at this year's Super Conference for Friday only and will be speaking on that day with Stacy Allison-Cassin in Session #1318: Scholar's Portage: Leveraging Social Networking Tools and Scholars Portal Data.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Books that scientists use - an addendum

Most cited references in Nature 2007 - all books

Some years ago when I started my tenure as Science Librarian at the Leddy Library, I worked on a particularly tedious project that really helped me get a better understanding on what books scientists actually use in their work (as opposed to so many other titles).

Using Web of Science, I would search for a year's worth of articles from Science, Nature and PNAS, download these articles' references into an Excel spreadsheet and try to decipher which ones were books. It was a very very mechanical and time-consuming process. But it made me a better science librarian.

Now, I'm pleased to say, that Scopus makes this same task possible in less than 30 seconds:

1. in search for box type in journal name (e.g. Nature) and select Source Title from drop-down menu
2. limit date range to a particular time period (e.g. 2007)
3. hit search button
4. in the Refine Results box, limit your results to just the journal name in question (e.g. Nature and not Nature Biochemistry)
5. in the Results box, click the Select All box and the hit the References button
6. If your initial search results brought more than 2000 hits, you will be informed that only the first 2000 articles will have their references retrieved.
7. review the list of most cited references of that journal from most cited to least

Here's a list of the 10 most cited books by Nature, Science, and PNAS*. The second number in the list represents where in the journal's list of most cited items can the book be found.

Most Cited Books in Nature, 2007**
1. [1] Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual (1989)
2. [2] Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994)
3. [3] Numerical Recipes (1992)
4. [4] Biometry (1995)
5. [5] Biostastical Analysis (1984)
6. [7] The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates (1986)
7. [13] Principles of Optics (1980)
8. [15] Physics of Semiconductor Devices (1981)
9. [19] Intermolecular and Surface Forces (1992)
10. [21] Co-Planar Stereotaxic Atlas of the Human Brain (1988)

Most Cited Books in Science, 2007**
1. [1] Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994)
2. [2] CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (2005)
3. [3] Biometry (1995)
4. [4] Biostastical Analysis (1984)
5. [5] The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates (1986)
6. [9] Principles of Optics (1980)
7. [10] Computer Simulation of Liquids (1987)
8. [11] Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (1990)
9. [12] Advanced Organic Chemistry (1988)
10. [14] An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications (1971)

Most Cited Books in PNAS, 2007**
1. [1] Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual (1989)
2. [4] Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1994)
3. [6] Numerical Recipes (1992)
4. [8] CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (2005)
5. [9] Biometry (1995)
6. [10] Biostatistical Analysis (1984)
7. [12] The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates (1986)
8. [13] Handbook of Mathematical Functions (1972)
9. [22] Stastical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (1988)
10. [23] Statistical Methods (1980)

*Nature and Science published almost 2000 items in 2007 and PNAS published closer to 3000 items in 2007.

I'm planning to use this method to determine if there are any important books my library is missing by reviewing the references of the key journals in various fields for 2007. Its still a largely mechanical process (although the Foxy Leddy LibX toolbar makes book-checking much faster than typing titles into the library catalogue) but its a good task to slowly start the work of the new year.

I've been thinking further about these lists and I think I am in grievous error.

For example: the approximately 2000 articles in Nature evidently produce 24,660 references. That's about 200 items in each item's bibliography - which sounds high but its in the realm of possibility. But what confuses me is the cited by column which says that the first item in the list, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, has been cited 103, 825 times. So that must refer to how many times the item has been cited within the Scopus database. The fact that the some of the books in the list appear in the same relative order when performing the same procedure using the journals PNAS and Science, means that these lists reflect the most popular science books within Scopus and not necessarily within each journal.