Google Scholar: Destroying good research or revolutionizing it?

Lately I have been looking promoting and setting up Google Scholar (GS) as a resource for clients. The process of getting GS to show “library links” to full-text of items in a library’s collection in GS search results is actually surprisingly easy. Just a matter of contacting your lin-resolver and asking them to set it up, and the Google-bots immediately begin to scour your page. A lot of libraries (Most university libraries, some government) already do this and GS requires the institution’s log-in to access the full text or it recognizes requested IP addresses and provides direct access. Continue reading

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Quick Thought about suscribing to RSS Feeds, Blog Readers, and Search Alerts

As the content on the web grows more and more people are looking for ways to better manage the information that is coming at them from all sides. Students, researchers, professors, economists, and scientists are looking for ways to stay in touch with current publications and know what is making waves and is important to their field at the moment. Now because of social media and it’s accompanying the amount of article and link recommendations, most people can find things to read at a moments notice but what they really want is a way to be able to filter for important stuff.

Thus we have RSS feeds, blog readers, and search alerts. These devices seemed to have exploded around 2006, after the dot-com bubble and when people started getting realistic and practical about what the web could be used for and started actually using it. They have been hanging around since then and are starting to make a “comeback even though they never went away”. This is partly because people who grew up around the web are now starting to work as professionals and realizing they don’t have the time to “surf” the net for relevant information as they did when they were young. But what is really causing them to gain importance and popularity is the emphasis on an informed workforce and individuals pushing themselves to be more informed so that they can improve at their job or find more jobs. Continue reading

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The Ridiculous Unhelpful Bureaucratic Nightmare of Parliament Hill Security

This Blog post is being written on Monday March 30th 2015, the night of the Parliamentary vote to extend the ISIS mission. I am making the date clear because like all amazing blog posts it is a rant of an individual thinking he is pointing out a deep flaw in society that nobody has noticed but him. I wanted to see this vote and I missed it. I missed it and almost didn’t get into the House of Commons at all due to the, well, ignorance and misunderstandings on part of the Parliamentary Security.

I have been living in Ottawa for a few months now and was so excited before I got up here to go sit in the House of Commons Public Gallery and watch Canada’s Democracy happen. So excited. I follow Canadian Politics so intensely that I am actually more star struck when I see Canadian Political Journalists (talking about you Paul Wells, Kady O’Malley, Aaron Wherry, and Justin Ling) than actual Canadian Politicians (I would swoon if I ever got the chance to meet Andrew Coyne). I was going to sit in that gallery whenever I could and watch the debates happen. Continue reading

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How do react to your own (potentially) prejudiced thoughts?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about our personal reactions to our own discrimination of others. I am of the “Racism is like brushing your teeth. You can’t just clean yourself once and you’re done. You’ve got to do it everyday” school. Like a tooth our thoughts are constantly subjected to an onslaught of dirt and grime from the outside world. Part of being a good person is always checking and fixing your thought process and keeping a wary eye out for discriminative thinking or actions. This is why being a good person is hard. You have to always be critical and be aware. People who don’t admit to themselves that they have prejudices are more likely to discriminate.

So how do you react when you have what might be a prejudiced thought? Recently I was listening to a Philosophy Podcasts where they interview different philosophers from all around the world. I listen to the Podcast a lot and on this particular day there was a woman with a very high and very “valley girlish” voice. Immediately after her first couple words I had what may have been a discriminatory thought. I may have. I am not sure if I did have that thought, and I’ll explain why: Continue reading

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How do Patent Examiners do their research for patent applications?

Things discussed in this blog: How do Patent Examiners do research to determine if patents should be granted? Are Library clients mostly skilled or unskilled researchers? Will Semantic Searches replace Boolean Searches?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how patent examiners do their research. I’ve been doing brief literature searches on the topic the past couple days and have found barely anything. You would think with the “Patent Wars” going on between Tech Giants and the anti-intellectual property movement ramping up everywhere that there would be more in-depth evaluations and critiques of how patent examiners do their jobs. You have hundreds of tech writers arguing that Patent Examiners are assigning “bad patents” that stifle innovation and yet there are no substantive studies on the research process patent examiners go through in order to decide how to decide if something should be patentable? Continue reading

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Some thoughts about Sports Analytics and if Art is reducible to Science

Been awhile since I’ve blogged so here I go:

In the past decade or so there has been an outpouring of sport analytic data. With the “Big Data” wave and films like Moneyball, sports have begun to use advance statistics. Things such as player tracking and efficiency rating. Teams are beginning to rely more and more on math and analytics to win games instead of “heart” or “determination”. Of course, “heart” and “determination” are still important and still are an important factor in making teams work. Heart is the art, and the analytics is the science. Knowing what to do is different from having the ability or wanting to do it.

But is motivating players to give them this “heart” or determination” really an art? We have studies and focus groups showing the proper way to motivate. We can do analysis of what motivating techniques provide the best results. Same thing with mental states. What happens when we have studies showing what the coach should say in a time-out for the best results? What happens if art is reduced to psychology? Continue reading

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The “Human Trace” of Illegal Uploaders and Scanners.

Ok. So I download a lot of comics illegally via the Pirate Bay. (Let’s not get into the ethical issues of illegal downloading right now….) Now scanning is a lot of work. One of my professors, Sarah Roberts, has done research on how for the Google Book project sometimes a finger is accidentally scanned in with the images of the book. This reminds us that there are workers, human beings, scanning and making digital copies of these books. Somebody is doing the endlessly repetitive and boring task of turning the page, scanning, turning the page, scanning, turning the page…etc.

Continue reading

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