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Until Next Time . . .


(Photo by Don Hawkins)

Let’s not say goodbye, but rather arrivederci. 

I take my hat off to all the editors who participated in our blogging effort this year.  I challenged the blog team  to do nothing more than "produce good news stories."  Of the five blogs we have written in London, this certainly stands as our best collaborative effort  . . . to-date.

See you next year.

Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content

 

Bottom Lines 2.0

As usual, covering the London show was a whirlwind experience.  As you can see, ITI’s editors were "all over" the show. 

For my conclusions on web 2.0, you’ll need to read my editorial in January’s edition of Information Today (www.infotoday.com).  Though I don’t quite always "get it," I am convinced it’s here to stay.

Among the many vendors on the show floor who have embraced and incorporated the new technologies is Teragram, who has just released the enterprise version of MyGADs, a service that supports users in creating, accessing, searching and sharing documents and pages through an Internet browser, Smartphones, mobile PDAs (e.g. BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phones) and mobile phones.

Teragram representatives Cailyn Clark and Seratendu Sethi showed me MyGADs

Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content

Just the Facts

The OECD (the not-for-profit Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has more numbers than you can ever crunch, and there’s more coming. Toby Green, head of OECD Publishing, just announced the launch of OECD.Stat in beta that will let researchers search for statistics and gather data across OECD’s 50 databases. OECD.Stat is now part of SourceOECD, OECD’s iLibrary. “Users can search through OECD.Stat for free while it’s in beta,” says Green. Access to this world of statistics will later be subscription-based.

But for those who aren’t familiar with the Paris-based OECD and its mission, here’s some history in a nutshell: The OECD is a forum that was established in 1961 with the goal of helping governments support economic growth, boost employment, raise living standards, maintain financial stability, and contribute to world trade. For years, the OECD operated “under the radar” and pursued economic development for its members. Now, the 30 member governments collaborate in addressing the economic, social, and environmental challenges involved in globalization.

“The OECD is a think tank of countries that share their experiences and come to agreement through peer pressure,” says Green. Such collaboration has resulted in establishing regulations and guidelines that benefit the members as a whole. But with such a storehouse of data in its banks from the organization’s team of 1,000 researchers, the OECD is ready and willing to share stats and facts the organization has compiled and analyzed over the years from inflation rates to climate change. For more on the project and the OECD, visit www.oecd.org.

Barbara Brynko
Editor in Chief
Information Today

Ovid: A New Level of Search

Ovid, a Wolters Kluwer Health business, rolled out its new precision search and discovery platform called OvidSP at London Online that has enough sterling functions to make any user smile.

Since it went live on Oct. 25, OvidSP has collected a rather loyal audience of users (whether novice or expert) who will attest that the extensive user-driven feedback behind the scenes has culminated in a product that churns out relevant results quickly, accurately, and easily. Karen Abramson, president and CEO of Wolters Kluwer Health, Medical Research, is certainly pleased with the launch, but she’s even more enthusiastic about what lies ahead. "Version 1 is the first phase of the vision," she says, "and we’ll continue to build and refine the search platform with upcoming releases that will cover in-depth workflow tools, collaborative features, and more." She says the product works on all levels: for end users to easily search complex topics on their own, for librarians to help clients search for relevant results, and for publishers to promote their journal and book content.

OvidSP offers a host of features: a simple, intuitive user interface; natural-language processing; multiple search modes (for all levels of searchers); and a variety of workflow tools. Users can search across a collection of books, journals, and databases for the most relevant results. Need help? Users can tap into Ovid’s Knowledge Base for more information or ask an on-site expert a question.

The search tabs make navigation  easy, whether finding citations, changing search tools or search fields, or consulting Ovid Syntax. Need to narrow your search? The Search Aid at the left side of the screen lists the terms used in a search, then it offers ways to narrow or broaden the search, depending on the results received. Users can also stay on the same page to check out abstracts (no need to toggle away and then come back) and set up customized alerts via RSS feeds or email (AutoAlerts and eTOCs). Can’t spell? OvidSP will display a warning with an assortment of options. The yellow note icon also lets users annotate any results in their research along the way.

The SP, by the way, actually stands for SilverPlatter, but Abramson likes to refer to the SP as "Super Product." 

Barbara Brynko
Editor in Chief
Information Today
 

Resolutions

Every year I return from Online with a host of resolutions. I’ll surely look further into some of the things I’ve just heard about.  However, like many folks, I guess, there’s always plenty to catch up on. Inevitably, those good intentions get pushed to the back of the mind and a few of them get forgotten altogether. I remember the first time I ever heard about some new-fangled search engine called ‘Google’ at a conference and noting to myself to check it out. But oh no, it got pushed to the back of my mind and it was months later before I realized that I’d missed something important.

I’ll try harder this year – honest! For one thing, Online is loaded with practical advice sessions with alerts to new functions, sites or services. You can’t attend them all, but Mary Ellen Bates’ 20 Search Tips In 25 Minutes is guaranteed to give you a few new things to try out. So my resolution this year is to try out every one of her tips, and furthermore to get it done before the New Year even begins.

I’ve made a good start. I’ve already downloaded Tip #5: a Firefox extension called CustomizeGoogle which allows me to remove advertisements, run the search on other engines and number the hits among many other useful things.

There’s plenty more to try though – you can find them all on Mary Ellen Bates’ website here.

Jim Ashling

Information Today, International Columnist

 

Where East Meets West

Thomson Scientific is adding a bit of new content to its collection after the first of the year. It has just announced a partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to bring the Chinese Science Citation Database (CACD) into the ISI Web of Knowledge platform. This translates to more than 1,000 scholarly publications and more than 1.3 million records from the People’s Republic of China that will be fully searchable within the ISI Web of Knowledge in early 2008. Citation links will connect CSCD to data within the Web of Science.

According to Keith MacGregor, executive vice president of Thomson Scientific, “The Chinese scientific literature that will be included offers 80% of the material with English-language titles and abstracts, since English is still the language of science.” Much of the bibliographic information will appear in simplified Chinese and English, so the ISI Web of Knowledge will be upgraded to support Unicode. The new database, says MacGregor, “will bridge Chinese science and the global research community.”

The partnership developed to continue “building opportunities as part of our ongoing relationship,” says MacGregor; Thomson Scientific established an office in Beijing in 2000.

Barbara Brynko
Editor in Chief
Information Today

Baby boomers v MySpace generation

Many conference sessions were devoted to dealing with the expectations and challenges faced by the new generation of school leavers. Never has one generation had so many names! From digital natives to Bebo generation to screenagers – it seems like a new title is coined with each presentation.

We are presented with lots of anecdotal stories concerning the behavior of these kids. They have the attention span of a gnat, they learn by play and experimentation and they view anyone older than 25 as well past it. What’s more, we are urged not only to design our new products with them in mind, but to go further: to give them the reins and let them design the products themselves.

That’s absolutely great, but I had to smile to myself when a guy from Airbus, who asked how best to encourage take-up of Web 2.0 technologies in his organization was encouraged to "just let them play with it" because you learn most from failure. I just hope they get the bugs fixed before I take my next Airbus flight – that’s one lesson to learn too far for me.

Seriously though, it was good to hear about some real research done into the information seeking behavior of the Millennial Generation (oops, there’s another one). Folks from OCLC and ProQuest have done some sizable research into the behavior, media choice, patience and trust levels of young searchers as well as their knowledge of existing resources.

John Law of ProQuest reported that in contrast to the conventional wisdom that Google is the only search that students will attempt, there is a much greater awareness of, and respect for the quality of, conventional library-provided electronic resources. The bad news is that although students appear to know that the library holds lots of ‘good stuff’, library web pages and information literacy education is so poor that finding the best available resource is a nightmare for them.

Students had their page history tracked while researching for a project. The ones that did the best were those who had had specific resources recommended to them at some time in the past by a course tutor or those who had benefited from a recent library outreach program. Those who tried the ‘play with it and see what happens’ approach either gave up in frustration, determined that there is nothing available or found a couple of things while missing the best material.

Personally, I don’t think there’s as much difference between the generations as some make out. A little education, some sensible design of library web guides, a campaign to ‘big up’ the image of librarians and information professionals could go a very long way. But then, I’m a Cohort 1 Baby Boomer without a MySpace profile so what do I know?

Click here for information on OCLC studies

Click here for details on ProQuest research

Jim Ashling

Information Today, International Correspondent

 

 

Elsevier and Research 2.0

In the minds of many information professionals, free and Elsevier are polar opposites. Yet Elsevier has introduced several products over the past few years that are striking in their value for information professionals and scientists, in their adoption of Web 2.0 philosophies and technologies, and in their price (none). The most recent is 2collab (www.2collab.com) which gives researchers a technology tool to enhance collaborative work, which is the typical modus operendi for scientists anyway. With 2collab, you can add, share, and rate bookmarks, tag resources, add comments, and create topical groups. Users are encouraged to create a personal profile, which leads to them being considered trusted sources. The environment encourages specialists to work together to evaluate new research, discuss current controversies, and view the research efforts of firt-time authors. Beta testing, as Marketing Manager Brant Emery explained to me, was done with researchers from Elsevier’s Development Partners, who come from academic, government, and corporations worldwide.
 
The stress during his demo was on science, but as he scrolled through various features of 2collab, I saw several topics that were library-related, science librarian blogs was one, although it lacks several that are at the top of my list. Because 2collab is so new, it will take a while to get the amount of information and number of participants up to critical mass. If it can also somehow incorporate or reach out in some fashion to similar products, such as Connotea, it would be an even more robust collaborative, 2.0 tool. This is definitely on Elsevier’s radar screen.
Here’s Brant demonstrating 2collab to an information professional:

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

 
 

SIIA expands European activities

The SIIA (Software & Information Industry Association) has launched a European Publishers Council. The Council will determine the direction of SIIA’s European conference agendas, produce more local European events and disseminate white papers.

SIIA has produced Information Industry Summits in the U.S. for the past six years. The next annual meeting, designed for information industry leaders, is to be held January 30-31, 2008 in New York City. European activity is more recent with Global Information Industry Summits so far held in Amsterdam (2006) and Berlin (2007).

Ed Keating, Vice President Content Division announced that the next Global meeting will be in London September 9-11 2008 at the Royal Garden Hotel.

Interested parties (content publishers and creators, aggregators and technology-enablers) should contact Ed Keating at ekeating@siia.net for information on joining the council or attending the next meeting.

Jim Ashling

Information Today, International Correspondent

 

 

Agile Development

Not all sessions occur in the conference portion of Online Information. Down on the exhibit floor, there are concurrent sessions, half an hour in length, free to anyone attending either the conference or the exhibit. A particularly interesting one, in the Epublishing Solutions track, was Outsell’s Kate Worlock on Agile Development. She characterized the current publishing climate as one where customers are in control, want a consumer experience, and have attention deficit. Competitors are lightening fast and change stripes at will. There’s no legacy anything and wierd business models exist. She asked the attendees if they thought their processes were agile, after she descirbed the ititerative "virtuous circle" of agile publiishing: Describe, develop, test, launch, learn, then start over. Think platforms adn extensible frameworks rather than products was her advice. Feedback is a critical part of agile development. Finally, she believes that a product launch is the beginning not the end.

Obviously, Kate believes that Outsell itself is an agile developer and noted that it even has a "Chilef Agility Officer" (Marc Strohlein). The discussion made me wonder if we have agile information professionals in place in our organizations to keep up with their vendors’ agile development.

Marydee Ojala

Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals