Tag Archives: Research

Raiders of the lost archives

“In the age of digitisation, the search part of research has become a virtual experience. Although progress has many advantages, John Sutherland laments the end of the scholar-adventurer and the thrill of discovery amid dusty, uncatalogued manuscripts”

via Times Higher Education

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Keep the library open after graduation

“Students’ library cards are a passport to the specialized knowledge found in academic journal articles — covering medicine and math, computer science and chemistry, and many other fields. These articles contain the cutting edge of our understanding and capture the genius of what has come before. In no uncertain terms, access to journals provides critical knowledge and an up-to-date education for tomorrow’s doctors, researchers and entrepreneurs. But should that access cease at graduation? Or would you rather a graduating medical student, perhaps your future doctor, be able to keep up with the latest advances? Would you rather an ambitious graduate student feel comfortable leaving the academy to found the next Google, knowing she still has access to the latest insight in her field and is able to build upon it?”

via The Washington Post.

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Getty launches full text web site for art history research

LA Times.

“When UC Santa Barbara professor Ann Jensen Adams, known for her work on 17th century Dutch painting, was given the chance to try a new research website from the Getty last week, she first typed in the name of a major artist and author in the search field: Karel van Mander. She was surprised to find online a full-text version of Van Mander’s 1604 masterpiece, “Het Schilder-Boeck” (Book of Painters), which attempted to introduce Dutch and German painters like Vasari’s classic “Lives of the Artists” did for so many Italians. “Up came the work on the first hit,” she said. “When I looked at who scanned the text, I realized it had been [online] for a while. But without this portal as a consolidator of information, I never would have found it.”

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Medical Researchers Tune Into the Internet Buzz

WSJ – “Looking for medical information on Internet message boards can be risky for consumers. Some of it is confusing, misleading or downright wrong. But for medical researchers, all that chatter can yield some valuable insights. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, are mining message boards and Twitter feeds to see what breast-cancer and prostate-cancer patients are saying about herbal and nutritional supplements—including whether they take them and why and what side effects they encounter.”

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Ancestry.com Publishes the Most Comprehensive Collection of Massachusetts Vital Records Ever Compiled

MarketWatch – “Ancestry.com, the worlds largest online family history resource, today announced that it has added nearly nine million Massachusetts birth, marriage and death records detailing over 330 years of Massachusetts residents to its website. Acquired from the husband and wife research team of Jay and DeLene Holbrook, the records represent the most complete collection of Massachusetts vital records known to exist. Now available exclusively online at Ancestry.com, the collection includes original records for 315 of the states 351 towns from 1620 through 1988. The collection contains important details on Bay Staters through periods significant not just to the history of Commonwealth, but to the entire nation — including the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving in Plymouth and the first battles of the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord.”

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Google Gives Search a Refresh

WSJ.com – “Google Inc. is giving its tried-and-true Web-search formula a makeover as it tries to fix the shortcomings of today’s technology and maintain its dominant market share. Over the next few months, Google’s search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at the top of the search-results page. The changes to search are among the biggest in the company’s history and could affect millions of websites that rely on Google’s current page-ranking results. At the same time, they could give Google more ways to serve up advertisements.”

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Social Media for Research: Not Quite There

Press Release – “ebrary®, a ProQuest business and leading provider of ebooks and research technology, today announced that the social media data of its 2011 Global Student E-book Survey is now publicly available…Among other key findings, the addendum revealed the following…35% students indicated they would “likely” to “very likely” pose a question to a librarian using social media, compared to 45% who would “likely” to “very likely” use social media to pose a question to faculty.”

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Wolfram, a Search Engine, Finds Answers Within Itself

NYT – “The new version of Wolfram Alpha arrives Wednesday afternoon. Its formal name is Wolfram Alpha Pro, and Dr. Wolfram calls “Step 2, the next step of what can be done with this approach,” which he describes as a “computational knowledge engine.” This is a premium version of the search engine: $4.99 a month, or $2.99 for students. The new version handles data and images. In a recent demonstration, Dr. Wolfram, using his computer mouse, dragged in a table of the gross domestic product figures for France for 1961 to 2010, and Wolfram Alpha produced on the Web page a color-coded bar chart, which could be downloaded in different document formats. He put in a table of campaign contributions to politicians over several years, and Wolfram Alpha generated a chart and brief summary, saying that House members received less on average than senators.”

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Google searchers beware: Features come and features go

Bev Butula – “We have all heard that the only thing constant is change. Technology and website functionality, prime examples of this point, continue to evolve – particularly with Google. Many Google changes are so seamless that the researcher may not even notice new or different features when they happen. For example, many people cannot remember when Google Instant launched. However, it’s second nature now, and people now expect the answer they seek before they finish typing the question.”

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One Librarian’s Mission: To Locate American Flags On The Moon

Time – “Annie Platoff, a librarian at UC Santa Barbara, is on a mission to find out what happened to the American flags that astronauts planted on the moon during the six lunar landings. Platoff’s research pinpointed four of them, including the one from Apollo 17, the final lunar mission. At the very least, the nylon national symbols are “tattered” and have “darkened” over the years. She speculates that the other two, planted during Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, fell victim to the ignition gases emitted from the lunar module during blast-off.”

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