Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Safari Tech Books Online on trial

For the month of March (1st - 31st) we have a trial of Safari Tech Books online.

Safari has the complete text of selected books from excellent IT publishers like O'Reilly, Addison-Wesley, Sams, and more. You can browse for specific titles, or search across the whole collection to find sections or chapters on your topic. Many of these books are useful 'how-to' guides to programming or using IT systems.

The trial will be IP-address based so it will be available on campus only from
http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com/?uicode=BATH. (edit: now also off-campus from here)

There are training materials available from Proquest at
http://www.proquest.co.uk/training/safari/index.html or I can help you to get started, just drop me an email or phonecall (ext. 5809).

Although this trial is for a product largely composed of IT books, there is a team in the library working on plans for future trials from other ebook providers that cover other subjects or are multi-disciplinary. This is a subject that inspires a multitude of questions, not the least being:

How does the electronic product compare with the print product? Does the print product have frequent new editions released on topics which are evolving rapidly (such as IT), would it be better served with online versions?
What's the possibility for integratation with content on the new VLE Moodle?
Could we replace short loan titles (frequently these are required textbooks) with ebook subscriptions? Would that improve access for students to these titles?
How does the cost of electronic versus print compare?
Do we have access in perpetuity?
Are there other products you would like to trial?

That's probably just the tip of the iceberg! I am completely open to suggestion or comments on the future of ebooks and I'm happy to offer training to staff or students in order to improve feedback.
There's also a news announcement (from Wednesday 1 March 2006) on the library website with a link to the trial.

Monday, February 20, 2006


... is a very interesting new site, currently in beta version that aggregates life science blogs and then analyses that data. It seems to me to be a cross between a citation tracker, impact factor analysis tool, and search engine.
From the website: "For example, it allows you to get an instant picture of which web sites are being heavily linked to by researchers in the medical sciences, or which papers are being cited or reviewed most often by bioinformaticians, or which buzzwords are being used the most frequently by evolutionary biologists". (http://www.postgenomic.com/)
Perhaps this could be useful information for scientists interested in entering the blogosphere as it shows which domains and which journals bloggers are linking to most frequently already.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Searching for Undergrad Dissertations in the Library

Lots of students are looking for past dissertations in the Library at the moment (usually as a guide on how to prepare their own paper). Instead of rifling through boxes of past dissertations, find exactly where to look by searching for dissertations on the library catalogue.
Using the 'Advanced catalogue search', type 'dissertation' as a keyword search, and also a keyword from the dissertation (such as 'ecology'). That will locate any dissertations with that title or subject held in the library, and give a shelf mark to identify it's location. If you have a recent edition of Macromedia Flash on your computer, you might like to look at this website for a screen capture demonstration.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Mathematics Today - Exploring the 'blogosphere'

The most recent issue of Mathematics Today contains an article written by Craig Laughton, a PhD Mathematics student at the University of Manchester (Exploring the 'Blogosphere' -
http://www.ima.org.uk/mathematics/ExploringtheBlogoshpere.htm). He explores the benefits of blogging - try these as food for thought:

*Community building - sharing ideas and experiences, and sparking debate
*Helps improve written communication skills
*Blogs allow you to reflect on your experiences, and over time help show a path of progression (eg. in your study, research, etc..)
*Ease of use and availability of free blogging tools that allow interaction and contribution.

Whilst not for everyone, this does highlight a few of the potential uses of a weblog for those involved in study and research. I believe I read somewhere there's even a LaTeX add-on for those who want to talk equations...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

'Biology Direct': New online open access journal

A new online open access journal from BioMed Central, with a peer review twist...

"BioMed Central is pleased to announce the launch of Biology Direct, a new online open access journal with a novel system of peer review. Biology Direct will operate completely open peer review, with named peer reviewers' reports published alongside each article. The journal also takes the innovative step of requiring that the author approach Biology Direct Editorial Board members directly to review the manuscript.
The journal, available online at
www.biology-direct.com, launches with publications in the fields of Systems Biology, Computational Biology, and Evolutionary Biology, with an Immunology section to follow soon. Biology Direct considers original research articles, hypotheses, and reviews and will eventually cover the full spectrum of biology". http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/pr-releases?pr=20060205 [Accessed 7 Feb 2006]

Cell Press Online

Our online access to the Cell Press titles has now been activated so we have full-text access up to the most recent issues of:

Cancer Cell (vol.1(1), 2002 - )
Cell (vol.80(1), 1995 - )
Cell Metabolism (vol.1(1), 2005 - )
Chemistry & Biology (vol.2(1), 1995 - )
Current Biology (vol.5(1), 1995 - )
Developmental Cell (vol.1(1), 2001 - )
Immunity (vol.2(1), 1995 - )
Molecular Cell (vol.1(1), 1997 - )
Neuron (vol.14(1), 1995 - )
Structure (vol.3(1), 1995 - )

These are available via ScienceDirect, and each title can be found on the A-Z list on the Electronic Journals page on the library website http://www.bath.ac.uk/library/ej/.

If you are accessing these journals from off-campus, please make sure you follow the links from the A-Z list, or via ScienceDirect so that you do authenticate via our proxy server - you will need your BUCS username and password for this.

Please let me know if you have any difficulties accessing these journals.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Information Skills Instruction

Do your students know how to navigate the information resources relevant to their subject area? Part of my remit as subject librarian is to provide instruction in the use of print and electronic library resources, and one of my personal interests is 'information literacy' (IL).

"Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner" (CILIP Information Literacy Definition. Accessed: 6 Feb. 2006). The American Library Association also has a very good document giving Information Literacy Standards for Science and Technology (draft).

I would not expect that students or even staff will intuitively know how to access and use the wide variety of frequently evolving resources provided by the library. These are learned key skills and I'm happy to provide instruction - from a 20 minute overview to hands-on searching demonstrations in a computer lab. Please contact me if you'd like to discuss further or arrange a session for your students. k.l.jones at bath.ac.uk or ext. 5809.