openurl, firefox, and google scholar

Peter Brinkley of the University of Alberta Libraries has developed a Firefox extension that adds an OpenURL button to Google Scholar search results.[web4lib]

“The purpose is to enable users at an institution that has an OpenURL link-resolver to use that resolver to locate the full text of articles found in Google Scholar, instead of relying on the links to publishers’ websites provided by Google. This is important because it solves the “appropriate copy problem”: the link to a publisher’s site is useless if you don’t have a subscription that lets you into that site, and your library may provide access to the same article in an aggregator’s package or elsewhere.”

From all appearances, this is a fantastic tool that embraces Google while still providing even more of that useful service that librarians do. If you have an OpenURL link resolver that you are able to tweak like SFX, go for it! (Next step, educate your users about Firefox….)

Update: One of the library coding gods, Art Rhyno, has developed a bookmarklet that prepends your library’s proxy server URL string to the links in the Google Scholar results. That’s another work-around if you don’t have an OpenURL link resolver. If it’s something your library gets, then you’ll get passed through authenticated to the full-text content. If not, then you can obtain access or the content some other way.

One snag I seen in all of this is that depending on how your proxy server is set up, this may not work. Some libraries *cough*UofKY*cough* use a proxy server that requires the user to make modifications to their web browser before authenticating them. I’m not sure whether or not this would cause confusion for the users who haven’t done that modification.

publishers embracing rss

Last year, I brainstormed an idea of having subscription-based journal RSS feeds, and as I assumed, I wasn’t the only one with this idea.

Last year, I brainstormed an idea of having subscription-based journal RSS feeds, and as I assumed, I wasn’t the only one with this idea. There was quite a bit of buzz recently when folks discovered the University of Saskatchewan Library’s eJournals with RSS feeds list. Now that they have a list of publishers and sources providing RSS feeds, it’s much more impressive to me. Granted, many of the feeds are coming from open access publishers, but the fact that there are several subscription journals with RSS feeds is indicative of where this technology may lead us in information dissemination.

techno hipster

I feel like a techno hipster right now.

I feel like a techno hipster right now. I’m visiting a friend in Eugene for the holiday. Pulled out my laptop just now to work on a few things before we go out, and on a whim I decided to see if I could connect with some random wireless network in the neighborhood. Whaddya know, there is one! Kind of slow, though.

wi-fi on the radio

Wi-Fi gets radio coverage this weekend.

On Saturday, I heard a Weekend America program that discussed the NEA report on the decline of reading. In reality, we do not know if there is a decline in reading as a whole, since the NEA study focuses on reading of literature, and with strict definition of literature no less. From what they discussed on the program, very little of my reading would count in the NEA study. Most of the classic literature I have read was while I was in school, and reading done as a part of formal education does not count in the study. (I have little interest in the genre, unless my course grade is at stake.) The program sent a reporter out to interview readers in a city bookstore and used some of those interviews to illustrate the failings of the NEA study. The reporter also spoke with the founder of an internet media company that runs several prominent blogs. This blogger reads 250 blogs a day, which floored the interviewer and host. The interviewer explained the concept of RSS and how it allows the blogger to manage the information flow.

The blogger said that by reading the writings of other bloggers, he is able to keep up with information on topics about which he is not an expert. That’s how I feel about reading the tech savvy librarian blogs. I would like to know more about coding and the nuts and bolts of library oriented software, but I don’t have time or the proper resources to learn. One of the nice things about my current place of work is that we have that kind of expertise in the systems department. However, most of those guys aren’t librarians. By keeping up with what my tech savvy colleagues are doing and writing about, I can pass on ideas to our systems folks who have the skill to implement them. Knowing that something is possible is half-way to making it happen.

Today, I heard a story on Sound Money about Philadelphia’s plan to set up a Wi-Fi network to cover the entire city. The reporter commented at the end that Wi-Fi is something that you don’t know you need until you have it, and then you can’t go without it. This rings true for me. I’ve enjoyed being able to go to my favorite local coffee place, sit with a cup of cafe au lait and do whatever it is I do online (like post this entry). My only frustration is that I can’t get to a Wi-Fi network everywhere I’d want to. I’d be willing to pay $30-50 a month to have secure wireless access everywhere in town (home and wherever else), provided there was as strong signal and the network didn’t get overloaded with the volume of use.

Just think of how a city-wide Wi-Fi network could help libraries and branches provide more internet access without having to maintain the equipment! The library could provide free access by paying the access fees, or at a discounted rate, for anyone accessing from that location. If the city-wide Wi-Fi network funneled users through a portal site when they log on, then the library could have a bit of retail space on the page for an Ask-a-Librarian service. I’m sure there are other ways that a city-wide Wi-Fi network could be used by the library to its advantage, but that’s all I can come up with for now. Anyone else?

comment spam: bragging too much

Shoulda kept my mouth shut…

So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve bragged a bit about how I haven’t gotten any comment spam since early August. I should have known better. I’ve been hit by about ten or so comment spam messages in the past few days, despite all the nifty ways I’ve blocked this from happening. Oh, well. A couple of clicks and the spam comment is gone and the URL is blacklisted.

I wonder if the reason why I hadn’t gotten much comment spam until now was because I wasn’t posting much? I’m quite pleased that I’ve managed to keep up with posting something interesting (IMHO) at least five days out of the week this month.

bipartisan support for clinton?

Hillary Clinton 2008?

A friend passed along this joke about a bumper sticker popular with both major political parties. I had to chuckle.

I’m torn between wanting to support a woman running for the office of the President, and my general dislike for Hillary Clinton personally. Is she the only Democratic woman that the party can support?

howard dean 2008

Howard Dean for America – we want our country back!

I mentioned earlier that there is a petition to nominate Howard Dean as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Today I ran across a petition to draft Dean for 2008. Sign if you want a doctor in the house.

We will not be controlled by our fear.

We will believe in what you said, and have hope for this country.

We will believe that it all can change if we fight hard enough.

We will have hope and faith that we will win, so long as we have the right person to lead us.

We ask that you announce your candidacy for President of the United States.

witness for the prosecution

Old movies maybe aren’t so dusty after all.

I watched a 1957 black & white film version of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution last night. It stars Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich (amazing performance!), and Charles Laughton. In doing a bit of research for this blog entry, this was the last film done by Tyrone Power before his untimely death of a heart attack at age forty-five. A small irony, since his character’s antagonist in the movie was in danger of suffering the same fate. Anyway, the reason why I am commenting on this movie at all is because I kept thinking of how much Tyrone Power resembles Barry Williams.

I was also surprised to discover in my research that Marlene Dietrich was 56 when the film was made. I assumed she was probably in her late 30’s or early 40’s! Now I know why her name still lives over fifty years after her heydays (heydecades, really). Quite a stunning woman!