Friday, October 23, 2009

Useful critical evaluation rubric

Lately I've been working on ways to get more thinking about and doing of critical evaluation into my library research workshops. Rob Weir's discussion of using reviews as a critical evaluation exercise includes a rubric that could also be useful to librarians, even if writing a review is beyond the scope of most one-shot workshops.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Admittedly, I do own a cardigan. One.

From 100 Scope Notes, Things Librarians Fancy.

(Mind you, I haven't worn that cardigan in several years...)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An instructive perspective on the scholarly publishing process

Many are familiar by now with the details surrounding the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science's publication of a highly controversial article in July. This article from Inside Higher Ed helps make this entire affair an instructive example to students of how the peer review process is supposed to work, ways that it might fail (or be circumvented), and some of the characteristics to look for when evaluating research.

I find it especially instructive because it's pretty clear that Margulis's contention that PNAS's editors "don't like" the Williamson paper, while probably true, is beside the point. The article fails as research and should have failed to pass peer review.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a brief thought on the 80/20 rule

This article from Inside Higher Ed doesn't specifically mention information resources, but it got me thinking about a study I read earlier this year about Wikipedia being around 80% right in a given subject area.

If that's true, it's another potential data point explaining why traditional reference sources are getting spanked.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the wave of the present, part deux

This morning's Inside Higher Ed brings the news that starting in 2011, current University of California Press journals will be available via JSTOR along with the backfile.

The article mentions the Ithaka report from 2007 that libraries have to get more involved with scholarly publishing. I'm inclined to agree, but we also need to recognize that small libraries like mine have limited capacity to do that.

On the other hand, if our acquisitions budget went more toward directly supporting the infrastructure of scholarly communication, and less toward lining publisher pockets, that money would go further for greater good. That makes me really happy that it's JSTOR doing this.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

the wave of the present

Kind of old news at this point, but ACS going online-only is still news.

If not exactly unexpected. At my university, science faculty and students had been asking pretty much since I started here (and probably before) when we'd be getting core publications like Science and Nature online. (We now do, after considerable budget reshuffling.) We'd been getting ACS's journals online for quite awhile, and I can't remember the last time I saw anyone looking at a scientific publication other than American Scientist in print.

If ACS passed the cost savings of this move on to its subscribers? THAT would be news.

Monday, June 29, 2009

and the Librarian Clue by Four of the Day Award goes to:

Chris Anderson, author of Free and The Long Tail and editor in chief of Wired.

Plagiarism? Lame.
Plagiarizing from Wikipedia, which openly grants re-use of its content as long as you follow straightforward Creative Commons licensing rules? Lamer.
Using this as your defense: "All those are my screwups after we decided not to run notes as planned, due to my inability to find a good citation format for web sources..."

That's beyond lame and into actively stupid. There does not EXIST a recognized citation format that DOESN'T address web sources; if the Modern Language Association has taken to assuming online as the default (which it has) then there really is no excuse.

(Okay, "good" is subjective. But good god, man. The citation formats for web sources are no more egregious than those for print. If you can do one, you can do the other.)

(On the upside, this'll make a great object lesson in library instruction sessions for freshman writing seminars.)