Climate change for libraries

At the RLG Partnership Annual Meeting in 2007, Timothy Burke told the assembled research librarians ‘you have to figure out how to be hydraulic engineers of information flow rather than the guardians of the fortress’. It’s an image that has stuck with me. Everywhere now in our professional literature we see the challenges of our …

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Mendeley scrobbles your papers

Mendeley is a social web application for academic authors that has been receiving quite a lot of attention recently. Victor Keegan wrote about it in The Guardian last week, likening it to the streaming music service Last.fm: How does it work? At the basic level, students can “drag and drop” research papers into the site …

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Journals and the tainting of science

The main feature article in last week’s Times Higher, A threat to scientific communication: do academic journals pose a threat to the advancement of science?, by Zoë Corbyn, examines the scholarly journals system and asks some penetrating questions about dysfunctionality in the academy, at least in the UK. We are all aware of some troubling …

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Special collections and university rankings

The University of Leeds has made two prestigious acquisitions recently which have been deemed worthy of announcing from the university’s own news page. In early June, the university acquired the archive of Marks & Spencer, one of the UK’s most prestigious stores, which began its life in Leeds some 125 years ago (and has created …

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Impact Measures and Library Selection

I have just been reading a recent article by Kathy Enger* published in Library & Information Science Research that examines the potential value of citation analysis as a selection tool in academic library acquisitions. Enger proposes that citation analysis of the journal literature might be used to identify potentially high-impact books for inclusion in a …

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Efficiency and scholarly information practices

There is a good article* in the most recent issue of JASIS&T by a group of Canadian scholars who challenge James Evans’ controversial claim that the increase in online availability of research publications has resulted in more focused and narrowly concentrated scholarly citation patterns. Evans’ study (2008) was the subject of a previous post on …

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Herbert’s Adventures In Linking

The title of this post is my homage to another famous Belgian. I have been posting from the 9th International Bielefeld Conference in Germany. In yesterday’s closing keynote, Herbert Van de Sompel gave a most unusual presentation. Preparing, on his return to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, for a six-month sabbatical, he used the occasion …

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Optimisers, One and All

Librarian can be a fragile and even uncomfortable designation in today’s world. Nonetheless, as our roles continue to expand, change and develop, it seems that librarian as an anchoring designation can become more necessary. We could easily imagine it sitting at the centre of a mind-map, with dozens of roles spidering out of it. On …

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