Search Archive

05-Oct-2008

SMS Channel Google

Google has come up with a new service called SMS Channel Google. It is a SMS based application for mobile phones. It is still in its "Labs" but seems to be a promising service.

One requires to register a Cell Phone number and verify it by using the Code sent via SMS. After successful registration process, one can subscribe to various SMS channels. It will keep on alerting through SMSes just like what egroups do through emails.


One can also create his own channel. Just check out the one I have created for this blog.




02-Oct-2008

Librarian will fine you if you smoke in Library

India has implemented "Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008" from today i.e. 2nd October 2008. According to these rules, Library is included in Public Places. Anyone found smoking in Libraries would be fined by Librarians.

Web application for Data collaboration

Swirrl is a web application that allows to store, share, edit and analyze information.

Catalogue of Delhi Public Library goes online with KOHA

Delhi Public Library is one of best public libraries of India. It is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and governed by Delhi Library Board. It is fully financed by the Government of India. Actually it consists of a network of Zonal Libraries, Branches and Sub-branches, R.C.Libraries, Community Libraries, Deposit Stations, Sports Libraries, Mobile Library, Braille library, etc. spread all over Delhi. Its total collection is over 14 lakh books in Hindi, English, Urdu, Punjabi & other Indian Languages.

Today, it added a new milestone in its journey. It made its Catalogue online. For this it has used an Open Source Software - Koha. Which is a full-featured Integrated Library System.

I have just done a quick search on Library's Online Catalogue.


Well done. Keep it up.

03-Sep-2008

zSHARE.net

zSHARE - Free Image, Video, Audio, Flash and File Hosting
.."With zSHARE you can upload files, images, videos, audio and flash for free. Simply use the upload form below and start sharing! You can also use zSHARE as your personal file storage: backup your data and protect your files"..

Why Google Chrome won't be my Browser

Downloaded and installed Google Chrome. Installing was done without any problem. Just for the last step - it required to close down my Firefox which was installing it. It wanted to copy its settings. Fine, closed the Firefox, but installation pop up of Chrome was refusing to die. The "x" was inactive. Anyway killed it and started the Chrome. Entered Gmail URL, it opens up a pop-up for Proxy Authentication. Ok done, but noticed that it does not provide for saving the authentication which normally other browsers do. So every time I needed to start a session, it prompts for authentication. Very irritating!

The technology behind Google Chrome has been explained through a 38 pages cartoon booklet. This way of explaining is quite innovative. So I was quick to learn that big advantage of Chrome lies in multiprocessing. If a "Tab" gets struck, the whole Chrome need not be killed.

However, I still can not afford to shift from Firefox to Chrome. I am used to many 'add-ons' or Plug-ins available for Firefox. Hope such add-ons are also available for Chrome in near future.

19-Aug-2008

Write-up on Library and Information as Career

Employment News carries a write-up on Careers in Library and information Science.

12-Aug-2008

Koha and Delhi Public Library

Delhi Public Library is implementing Koha for its OPAC. Tried to have a look but could not enter the OPAC. It is restricted to Library Members only. Anyway, a good begining for one of the largest Public Libraries of India.

29-Jul-2008

I told you! Everybody has a Librarian inside

Came across an interesting way of building a "LIBRARY" from the following blog post:

[India Sudar] Library project @ Govt Girls Home « India Sudar Educational and Charitable Trust.
.."I just took the print out of all the ids of books. And, those ppl worked hard to paste them all according to the excel sheet, ordering & categorizing the books, etc. Soundar has donated a book-shelf, few of my roommates dontaed some of the books. One of our members, Arun, donated the whole amt for all the 10 chairs"..

I told you na, Everybody has a Librarian Inside! But this time it is in the context of a real library and not Folksonomy.

A private library in Indore claims having rare volumes

According to a news item - Indore library has rare volumes of Hindu scriptures in Arabic, Portugeese and Farsi
"Aziz Indori's private library, located in Khajrana area of Indore, boasts of several rare volumes and publications of Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in Portuguese, Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages."

25-Jul-2008

23-Jul-2008

Report on Top Indian Web sites for May 2008

Top Indian Web sites for May 2008 - CIOL News Reports

According to a report on Internet usage in India, more than 28 million people in India accessed the Internet from home and work locations in May.

Another wiki coming up for medical information

Medpedia would be an another wiki based collaborative project to collect and disseminate authentic information about health, medicine and the body.

10-Jul-2008

British Library has a Flickr Group on Ramayana

Libraries are choosing Flickr to post and share Photos on web. Here is an interesting example by British Library.

The British Library (see its Flickr Profile) has a group on Flickr called Ramayana. Photos / images submitted to this Flickr Group could appear in their gallery in London and on their Library's website, under the section - Ramayana: Love and Valour in India's Great Epic.

09-Jul-2008

bit.ly

bit.ly, - is yet another url shortening service. However it also provides API. Worth exploring.

Philosophy behind Google ranking:

Google Fellow Amit Singhal shares the philosophies behind Google Ranking in their Official Google Blog. The post, Introduction to Google Ranking, lists following philosophies:
1) Best locally relevant results served globally.
2) Keep it simple.
3) No manual intervention.

08-Jul-2008

Open Source Software in Education

Open Source Software in Education (EDUCAUSE Quarterly) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT
..Open source and digital education and learning, separately and together, aim to reach everyone. Although both movements have gained considerable maturity, a need for greater coordination exists..

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
..is a code of best practices that helps creators, online providers, copyright holders, and others interested in the making of online video interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use..

04-Jul-2008

Book on Open Access

An e-book on Open Access has been released by ICTP-SDU. This book titled "Science Dissemination using Open Access" aims to guide the scientific community on the requirements of Open Access. It includes available low-cost solutions for open access along with selected literature on Open Access.

The book is available as PDF File. It is also available from an interesting on-line publishing platform - ISSUU.


24-Jun-2008

Koha Version 3 RC1 Released

Koha 3 RC1 (release candidate) has been released for version 3.0. We can expect a stable release soon.

Firefox Add-ons for Librarians and Library Users

Firefox is one of my favourite software applications. It is a web browser like Internet Explorer. It is from Mozilla Application Suite, managed by the Mozilla Corporation. It uses open source Gecko layout engine and is compliant to current web standards. It is available for free for most operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Its version 3.0 has been released recently on 17th June 2008, the day hyped as "Download Day 2008". It is a feature rich application, however I like its add-ons capability the most. There are around 2,000 add-ons (plug-ins) available to extend its functionality. Most of these add-ons are from third party developers.

Out of these 2,000 add-ons or Plug-ins, there are few which are useful for librarians and library users. You may like to see “100 Essential Firefox Add-Ons for Librarians” by Jessica Merritt. There are some more lists of add-ons by librarians. Like the one of Teri Vogel - My Favorite Firefox Extensions and he one by Jessamyn West - Pimp My Firefox. However I don’t feel all these add-ons are just for librarians alone. Most of these are good for even non-librarians. However, there are few, which are special for librarians. LibX is one such plug-in. Libraries can create their own edition of LibX to provide to access to their resource catalogues through LibX add-on. Around 422 academic and public libraries have already done so. Another interesting Plug-in is Zotero. It is an easy-to-use Firefox extension to help collection, management and cite Internet sources. There is a nice tutorial available for using LibX and Zotero in combination.

Firefox also has a built-in search box on the Navigation Toolbar, which has a drop-down box showing the available searches. These are created using search plug-ins. Search plug-ins are simple text files which are installed by adding them to the Mozilla Firefox searchplugins folder. Such a search plugin can be created for a library.

Librarians could experiment with thousands of available add-ons. Few months back I had advised a librarian to use an add-on for display a ticker for RSS feeds of current News.


There are many more add-ons waiting for getting used by librarians and library users.

19-Jun-2008

ImageOx

Free Photo sharing & Image Hosting with ImageOX
..ImageOx provides free image sharing/hosting with a number for EXCLUSIVE features such as instant autorun CD Flash presentation, image galleries (albums), image slideshows, instant folder creation (image series), personal profiles and image management area with free user registration..

PhpMyBibli Library Automation System Installation Guide for EasyPHP

Vimal Kumar V has prepared easy to follow Installation Instructions for an open source integrated library system called PhpMyBibli. This software is a product of a project that was initiated by Fran├žois Lemarchand in October 2002, Director of the Public Library of Agneaux. It is now better known as PMB (PhpMyBibli) and is maintained by PMB Services (a French Company).

PMB has most of the functional modules essential for a library management system including Circulation; Cataloguing; Reports; Selective Dissemination of Information Service; Administration and Acquisition. It has friendly web interfaces for librarian and users and supports UNIMARC and Z39.50 standards. Some other features include - Barcode Generator; Multi Language Support and Import and export of bibliographic records in different formats.

Quick installation of PMB using EasyPHP is possible in Windows XP as shown by Mr. Vimal.

Some other Open Source Softwares for libraries are Koha, OpenBiblio, PhpMyLibrary and NewGenLib. One can also frequently check OSS4Lib. It is a useful resource for Open Source systems for libraries.

A scientist's view on making impact through Open Access Journals

"..Govt should make a rule, which should be applicable to all the universities and institutes across India, that we, the researchers of India should publish all the work in Indian Journals only. The journals may be peer-reviewed internationally. The journals may be available online free of cost, and free copies may be sent to major universities worldwide.."
Dr Chugh is emphasising on two things - Govt. directive on scholarly publishing and free availability of Indian scholarly publications. It has been proved number of times that unrestricted online availability of of scholarly articles results in better impact (Online or Invisible? by Steve Lawrence; NEC Research Institute). Thus if Indian research is published through open access journals, it would make better impact on further research world wide. However it appears impractical to force authors to publish only in Indian Journals. However Govt. could mandate that publications arising from public funded research be archived in some Open Access archives within a specific time after their publication. A policy similar to NIH Public Access could be explored for such a mandate.

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results of NIH funded research. It requires scientists to submit journal final peer-reviewed manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/). The Policy requires that these articles be accessible to the public on PubMed Central to help advance science and improve human health.

17-Jun-2008

Learn about Library 2.0 - List of 100 Webinars and Tutorials

Jessica Merritt has listed 100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials on College@Home. A good compilation for understanding library 2.0 concept and its uses.

Self-corrective nature of scientific knowledge

Open access and the self-correction of knowledge (SPARC), From the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2008. By Peter Suber.
..Science is fallible, but clearly that’s not what makes it special. Science is special because it’s self-correcting. It isn’t self-correcting because individual scientists acknowledge their mistakes, accept correction, and change their minds. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Science is self-correcting because scientists eventually correct the errors of other scientists, and find the evidence to persuade their colleagues to accept the correction, even if the new professional consensus takes more than a generation. In fact, it’s precisely because individuals find it difficult to correct themselves, or precisely because they benefit from the perspectives of others, that we should employ means of correction that harness public scrutiny and open access..

Access to Learning Award

Access to Learning Award by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes innovative efforts of public libraries or similar organizations outside the United States to connect people to information through free access to computers and the Internet.

Applications for 2009 Award are being invited by the foundation by Oct. 31, 2008.

16-Jun-2008

e-polymers Journal

e-polymers is a peer-reviewed Open Access journal under the auspices of the European Polymer Federation (EPF).

15-Jun-2008

PDF File support now available in Google Docs

Google Docs now has added support for PDF Files. I you select
Upload a File option, you will notice the following towards the bottom right hand position:
"PDF Files (up to 10 MB from your computer, 2 MB from the web)"

The uploaded PDF file is shown as image. You can print it or share it. So, editing is not available yet.

13-Jun-2008

Comment on Open Access 2.0

Left following comment on T. Scott's post on Open Access 2.0

The "2.0" qualifier is more often used in the context where readers themselves create content in a collaborative manner on the interactive web media. I was looking for this angle in Joe Esposito's article. However, I was bit disappointed as this aspect was missing. There is no 1.0 in Open Access. In fact, Open Access itself is "Access 2.0". This movement is all about scholars making their own scholarly literature accessible to their scholarly peers.

Bibliographic Ontology Specification

Bibliographic Ontology Specification provides main concepts and properties for describing citations and bibliographic references on the Semantic Web.

12-Jun-2008

Another way to embed RSS Feeds in your web page or blog

Digital Inspiration has an interesting tutorial to aggregate feeds from various sources. The technique uses Google Docs' Spreadsheet. It uses the spreadsheet formulas - "ImportFeed "and "Hyperlink" to display feed items and hyperlink these to original URLs. This spreadsheet is then published and html code is generated. The code can be embedded in a web page or blog.


10-Jun-2008

English - Hindi Dictionary for Java enabled Mobile Phones

English - Hindi Dictionary is a freely downloadable J2ME application. It can be installed on a Java enabled mobile phone. May be helpful for visitors to India and as well for those who would like to learn English.

07-Jun-2008

Netvibes is giving away its technology

Netvibes that enables meshups of widgets, RSS Feeds, emails, instant messengers etc. at one place is now giving away its technology from Netvibes.org site.

Blogs in Plain English

What to know what a Blog is? This is one of the best resources to explain it.

03-Jun-2008

ThoughtMesh


.."ThoughtMesh is an unusual model for publishing and discovering scholarly papers online. It gives readers a tag-based navigation system that uses keywords to connect excerpts of essays published on different Web sites"..

Attitude towards profession of participants of an online discussion forum of Library and Information Science Professionals

Introduction:

Online discussion forums are one of earliest form of online communication among people with common interests. Many of these forums are meant for people associated with a profession. LIS-Forum (LIS-Forum, 2008) is such an email based discussion forum (list-serv) for Library and Information Science (LIS) Professionals. It has been there since 1995 (Rajashekar, 2002) and now has more than 4100 subscribers. This online forum is the most popular and oldest in India. It has wide spread subscription base among Library and Information Professionals from India. It also has decent subscribers from outside India. It would be matter of interest to know what these subscribers think of LIS profession. Why did they enter into this profession? Was it a pure chance, lack of alternatives or deliberate choice? What is their attitude towards the core philosophy of the profession? A brief survey was done on the subscribers in the month of April 2008 to get some insight on these issues. However, the basic objective of this survey was to demonstrate a feature of Google Docs’ online spreadsheet (Google Docs, 2008) that can be exploited to conduct online surveys.

Methodology:

An online questionnaire was created using Google Docs’ online spreadsheet (Singh, Conduct Research and Surveys Online: Design, Send and Get Results Directly in Spreadsheet Using Google Docs, 2008). Google Docs has a feature to create an online form and link back it to a spreadsheet on its server. The data entered through forms gets entered directly into this linked spreadsheet. The questionnaire can be sent directly through email to target survey participants. Most email clients and web based emails services can directly display the form in email of the recipients. The recipient can fill in the values and click on submit button. In case the form is not displayed properly, a link to the online form is always there for the recipient to visit and respond.

A very simple survey questionnaire (Singh, LIS Motivation Survey, 2008) was created. The objective was to collect only minimal but relevant information. No personal details were collected. Only four questions were asked. Three were close-ended questions where the respondents had to just click on options. The last question was open-ended asking comments from respondents. These questions were asked:

  • Your Age Group?

  • Your Occupation?

  • Why you choose LIS Profession?

  • Any comments?

The questionnaire was mailed to LIS-Forum. The LIS-Forum moderator approved the email containing the survey on 21st April 2008. The responses started pouring in from 11:01 A.M. First day saw most of the responses. On third day, the responses tampered to just three responses. However, responses kept pouring in even later. The last response that was included in the study is the 57th response received on 3rd May 2008.

Analysis:

  1. Age Groups:

The responses were grouped age-wise. Most responses (42%) were from respondents in the age group of 25 -30 years. This was followed (30%) by those in the age group of 31-35. Thus this relatively young age group of 25 to 35 years combined together formed 72% of responses.

Age Groups

Total

Above 60

1

Between 25 - 30

24

Between 31 - 35

17

Between 36 - 40

2

Between 41 - 45

4

Between 46 - 50

3

Between 51- 55

3

Between 56 - 60

1

Under 25

2

Grand Total

57

  1. Occupations:

Most respondents (65%) were employed in LIS domain. Apart from these 10% were employed in LIS domain as well research students. While 7% more were doing correspondence courses to improve their qualifications while in service. Thus 82% of the respondents were employed in LIS domain. Only one (2%) respondent was working in non-LIS domain.

Respondents’ Occupations

Total

Employed but LIS Student of Distant / Correspondence Course

4

Employed in LIS Domain

37

Employed in non-LIS Domain

1

Research Only

2

Research Only, Employed but LIS Student of Distant / Correspondence Course

1

Research, but Employed

6

Research, but Employed, Employed in LIS Domain

2

Retired

1

Student – MLIS

1

Student - MLIS, Employed in LIS Domain

1

Student - MLIS, Research, but Employed

1

Grand Total

57

  1. Reason for Joining Library and Information Science (LIS) Profession:

Interestingly, almost half (46%) of the persons said they loved the philosophy of LIS profession. Twenty percent of the people said that they joined the profession because jobs were / are easily available. About same number (23%) of people said that they did not care to know much it before joining.

Reason for choosing LIS Profession

Total

I had to do something, What is your problem?

2

I loved the philosophy of the profession

26

I was employed in another field, studied LIS during job and now I am well off.

1

Jobs are / were easily available in LIS

11

Just joined it without caring what it is all about

13

Nothing better was available to me

1

Wanted to spend some more time at university

2



Grand Total

56

Breaking down responses by two major age groups (25-30 and 31-35) revealed an interesting fact. In 25-30 age group, 9 out of 24 (37.5%) respondents said that they did not care what the profession was all about while joining it. However, in the age group of 31-35, only 1 out of 16 (6.25%) said so. This gives an indication that people tend to love core philosophy of the profession with passage of time.

  1. Respondents’ General Comments:

There was an open ended question asking comments of the respondents. Most of the people wanted to know the results of this survey. Some were with very positive comments towards the profession. At the same time, few were very critical about joining the profession. One person even thought to the extent that juniors are being exploited by their senior professionals.

Limitation of study:

The questionnaire had a very poor response. It would be risky to draw major conclusions from this study. This study can only reflect the views of active LIS-Forum subscribers who opted to respond.

Conclusion:

Though the response rate was poor, but still the study does tell about the attitude of active participants of the LIS-Forum who decided to respond promptly. Majority of the responses came within 48 hours. The methodology of the survey, that is using Google Docs, hence has been tested. This methodology works and thus can be used for online surveys. This study also showed that relatively young people from the age group of 25 to 35 years are active on online forum for LIS professionals. This active population either has positive attitude towards the philosophy of profession or consider LIS as a career. Moreover, their commitment and love towards the professional philosophy increases with time. Further studies on this issue are required. The spreadsheet containing the survey responses is being shared as open data to help future similar studies (LIS motivation survey: spreadsheet with survey responses, 2008). To maintain privacy, the comments field has been deleted from this spreadsheet.

References

Google Docs. (2008). Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://docs.google.com/

LIS motivation survey: spreadsheet with survey responses. (2008, June 3). Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://snipr.com/2bvu5

LIS-Forum. (2008). Retrieved June 3, 2008, from LIS-Forum: Discussion Forum for Library and Information Professionals in India: http://ncsi.iisc.ernet.in/mailman/listinfo/lis-forum

Rajashekar, T. (2002, Oct 1). LIS-Forum: A brief history. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from http://snipr.com/lishistory

Singh, S. (2008, April 25). Conduct Research and Surveys Online: Design, Send and Get Results Directly in Spreadsheet Using Google Docs. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from http://snipr.com/gdsurvey

Singh, S. (2008, April 19). LIS Motivation Survey. Retrieved June 1, 2008, from http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=p4GBbR26ZPytvtls2v-qhBw

29-May-2008

What can Bloggers do for Open Access?

Last Saturday I participated in a Bar Camp in Delhi. This was organized by IBNMS [1] and was named as Blog Camp Delhi [2]. I learned that the philosophy of such Bar Camps [3] is that everyone has to contribute in some way or the other. So, I decided to give a presentation on Open Access [4]. I knew I will be talking to entirely wrong audience. As the theme was on blogging, obviously the people can be expected to be more interested in the art of blogging and monetising their blogs. Most would be young and might not have tasted the frustration of obtaining scholarly articles [5]. But, I had no other way to contribute. I went ahead with my decision to give a presentation on my favorite topic i.e. Open Access.

I finally took a session on it - Open Access: What it is and why it is required for scholarly community?

While working on my presentation, I was always thinking on how to make it relevant to expected participants of blog camp. Without any lose of time, I thought of Peter Suber [6]. After all, he has been blogging on Open Access for years now. We are getting all the latest news on Open Access from his Open Access News blog [7]. But then, he is an Open Access advocate. Blogging is just a media for his advocacy of open Access. Many other like him are advocates first and bloggers afterwards. However, my job was to tell an audience that might not even know what scholarly literature is.

How to tell them that there is a community that does things just for the sake of science and advancement of knowledge? This Community of academicians, scientists and scholars has different value system. Here, the reputations of community members largely depend upon papers they publish and references they get to these papers. So, they need to publish papers to remain relevant in the community. This helps them to get promotions and other career advancements. Scholarly papers are often based on original research done in systematic manner over a period of time. Research is never done in vacuum but is always based on existing knowledge. New research aims to extend the baseline of existing knowledge in a specific domain. This requires searching and ‘consumption’ of relevant scholarly papers related to their research. Once the research is completed, the results are included in manuscripts for getting published as articles in scholarly journals. Before an article can be published in a journal, it has to undergo a process called peer-review [8]. In this process, the manuscript submitted by authors is referred to two or three scholars working in similar area. Editorial board consisting of eminent scholars takes final decision to accept or reject paper based on comments of reviewers. It can also send back manuscripts to authors for modification and resubmission. So, it is the members of same scholarly community that are playing the roles of consumers (researchers and scholars) of previously published papers, producers (as authors) as well as quality controllers (as peer-reviewers and editorial board members). All these players are contributing to science and knowledge without seeking immediate monetary benefits. However academic publishing business is more often guided by commercial interests. Publishers insist on exclusive transfer of copyrights of authors in their favour. While authors of books, non-scholarly and popular literature negotiate in terms of royalties, scholarly authors give away their rights without caring much about monetary benefits. Thus, years of hard work is given away for free by scholars so that their papers can be published. The same is then sold back to the same community at a very high subscription rates.

Scholars, academicians and scientists need to access knowledge locked up in high cost journals for conducting new research. It is same knowledge which they themselves had created. It means, only those researchers and scholars can access this locked up knowledge whose employers and institutes can afford to purchase this knowledge. This creates inequalities of access to knowledge. That results in inequalities in efficiency of producing new knowledge. Poor and developing nation are most hit as they can not spend much on purchasing scholarly journals in foreign currencies to the level of developed countries.

Thanks to Internet, things are changing now. Research can be reported much quickly. Authors can submit their manuscripts online. Manuscript management and online publishing has become much easier especially with manuscript management systems like Open Journal System [9]. All processes, from assignment of peer-reviewers to bringing out a new issue can be done online. Which means journal publishing now is much cheaper and prompt. Number of online journals have come up in last decade. Even the traditional journals now have online versions. Wait, that does not necessarily means that what all is available online can be accessed for free. However many journals do provide free access to their full content. Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) [10] lists about 3390 open access journals. Out of which around 100 are from India [11]. These Open Access journals do whatever the traditional scholarly journals do for publishing peer-reviewed articles. Only difference is that they provide online access to anybody and everybody for free. Open Access journals are free to readers but obviously not free to produce. There are various business models for producing open access journals. Most professional societies have their official journals. These are distributed to society members. The parent society takes care of publication costs. Many such society journals have online version. These are normally accessible for free. In India, most online society journals come under this category. Then there are public funded organisations engaged in research and its promotion. These also publish research journals and make their online versions free. The best citied journal from India, Indian Journal of Medical Research [12], falls under this category. Somewhat controversial but successful model is being adopted by Open Access Publishers like PLoS [13] and BioMed Central [14]. Here once the article gets selected for publication after peer-review process, the author needs to pay a fee [15][16]. Popularity of such publishers with such a author-pays model sometime confuse people to belief that open access is all about author-pays and free-to-reader model of publishing. No, Open Access publishing of scholarly literature can be done through number of business models. The model adopted by publishers like PLoS and BioMed is just one of models.

There is one more route to open access. Here, the authors or other right holders retain [17] and exercise their right to self-achieve their papers in publically accessible digital repositories. These could be repositories run by their institutions (Institutional Repositories) or Subject Repositories allowing self-archiving without considering institutional affiliation of the authors. Number of universities, academic institutions and research funding agencies are making Open Access via such repositories mandatory [18]. Recently in U.S., NIH voluntary Public Access Policy has been made mandatory through an Act [19]. University faculties are becoming aware of benefits of archiving for open access, for example on 6th May 2008, Harvard Law faculty voted for 'open access' to their scholarly articles [20] through digital repositories. Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) had 1065 registered repositories with it as on 21st May 2008 worldwide [21].

I don’t know how much people in blogging or the wider domain of New Media know about this strange model of academic publishing. However bloggers, once made aware of it , can help open access movement [22] in number of ways. One way is to blog on Open Access itself. There are few already there and well established like the one by Peter Suber [7]. Some others which I know are OA Librarian [23]; The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics [24] and I will also mention the one from student community – Open Students: students for open access to research [25]. Second way is to blog about various open access resources. Every day, number of resources including journals, repositories, open courseware etc are launched and announced. These could be evaluated, annotated and listed under well planned categories (or tags) in a blog. Links of such tags or categories automatically collate resources into listings of related posts. It could be very similar to ‘Digital Scholarship’ [26]. Third way has to do more with subject experts. Scientists and Scholars can blog on how to promote open access within their own subject domain. Open Access Anthropology: Promoting Open Access in Anthropology [27] is beautiful example. Very similar concept has been highlighted in a presentation - Blogging Archaeology: creating an Open Access source for knowledge [28]. Fourth way is to blog about Peer-Reviewed Research. All such blog posts can be aggregated at one place [29]. There could be many more ways to promote Open Access through blogging.

Further Readings:

  1. Indian Blog & New Media Society. http://ibnms.com/
  2. Blog Camp Delhi. http://barcamp.pbwiki.com/BlogCampDelhi
  3. Bar Camp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BarCamp
  4. Open Access Overview. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm
  5. Scholarly vs. Popular Articles. http://www6.wittenberg.edu/lib/research/schol-pop.php
  6. Peter Suber. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/hometoc.htm
  7. Open Access News. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html
  8. Peer-review. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review
  9. Open Journal Systems. http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs
  10. DOAJ. http://www.doaj.org/
  11. DOAJ Search for Journals from India. http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=findJournals&hybrid=&query=india
  12. Indian Journal of Medical Research. http://www.icmr.nic.in/ijmr/ijmr.htm
  13. PLoS. http://www.plos.org/
  14. BioMed Central. http://www.biomedcentral.com/
  15. PLoS: FAQ - Questions about publication fees. http://www.plos.org/about/faq.html#pubquest
  16. BioMed Central: Frequently asked questions about BioMed Central's article-processing charges. http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/authors/apcfaq
  17. Author Rights: Using the SPARC Author Addendum to secure your rights as the author of a journal article. http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/addendum.shtml
  18. Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies. http://www.eprints.org/openaccess/policysignup/
  19. Revised Policy on Enhancing Public Access to Archived Publications Resulting from NIH-Funded Research. http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-08-033.html
  20. Harvard Law faculty votes for 'open access' to scholarly articles. http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/2008/05/07_openaccess.php
  21. Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR). http://roar.eprints.org/
  22. Timeline of the Open Access Movement. http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/timeline.htm
  23. OA Librarian - http://oalibrarian.blogspot.com/
  24. The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics - http://www.poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/
  25. Open Students: students for open access to research - http://www.openstudents.org/
  26. Digital Scholarship. http://www.digital-scholarship.com/
  27. Open Access Anthropology: Promoting Open Access in Anthropology. http://blog.openaccessanthropology.org/
  28. Blogging Archaeology: creating an Open Access source for knowledge – http://www.slideshare.net/milozvu4na/blogging-archaeology-creating-an-open-access-source-for-knowledge
  29. Research Blogging: Discussing and creating peer-reviewed research. http://researchblogging.org/index.php

20-May-2008

My first encounter with Google Health

Google Health is now a reality. On visiting it, I landed on an agreement page. Apart from other usual terms and conditions, I had to agree to authorize Google to share my health information in my profile. However, it appears that I can choose with whom it could be shared.

This could even contain sensitive information relating to the following:

* HIV or AIDS
* Mental illness or any mental health condition
* Alcohol or substance abuse
* Sexually transmitted diseases
* Pregnancy
* Abortion or other family planning
* Genetic tests or genetic diseases


This authorization also covers any record that a doctor or other health care provider may supply to Google Health. The good thing is that I can withdraw this authorization by deleting my profile or using options available in Google Health.

Health profile could be created by entering information relating to Drug interactions, Age, sex, height, Medical Conditions, Medications, Allergies, Procedures, Test results, Immunizations etc. Health profile can be populated from very user-friendly search tool or from alphabetic listings. Diseases can be added from alphabetical list. The items in the list are with “reference” links. The “reference” here means special pages with brief but excellent description of the disease. These contain information on symptoms, treatment, prognosis, tests, prevention, complications, when to consult a doctor etc. These pages are supplemented with what Google is best at. These are search results from Google Scholar, related groups and search trends. These pages are illustrated with diagrams and pictures.

One can even import medical records from independent service providers offering personal health services. It has the following in the listing. Very likely, this is going to expand in future.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Cleveland Clinic MyChart
Longs Drug Stores
Medco
MinuteClinic from CVS Caremark
Quest Diagnostics
RxAmerica
Walgreens Pharmacy

One can also explore health services for medical records. The following are listed at present:

Cleveland Clinic MyConsult
ePillBox.info
Heart Attack Risk Calculator
HxTI VaccineView
iHealth, powered by Medem
Lifestar
LIVESTRONG.COM Health Center
MediConnect Global
MyCareTeam MCT-Diabetes
MyDailyApple

One can also find a doctor and add to medical contacts. It also has tools to alert and send you notices like drug interactions depending upon information in the profile.

My overall impression is that it could become very useful tool for keeping better personal medical histories and records. As expected, presently it can be fully exploited by people residing in U.S. Hopefully more and more service providers from other countries would be associating with Google Health.

12-May-2008

Yet another URL Shortening Service

Came across yet another URL Shortening Service - Xrl.in - Really Tiny Links. It also provides "Bookmarklet" link to shortened the URL of the current page in your browser. For this, you can also download an extension for your Firefox. It promises to come with a facility to manage your shortened links.

Snipr still remains my favorite service for shortening long URLs. It let you to select your own suffix text (if available) and title to the URL being shortened.

07-May-2008

More link shortening services

Found two more link shortening services - http://lin.cr and http://www.moourl.com/.

Lin.cr appears to be more attractive in the sense that its own URL is short and sweet.

06-May-2008

Google Reader evolving into a Social Networking Site?

Just wondering whether Google Reader is gradually evolving into a Social Networking Site? It has now improved its Sharing options. It has become easier to share your favorite sites with your friends. It provides for a “Note in Reader” link that can be dragged and dropped in your browser’s bookmarks bar. Once that is done, you are ready to share your favorite sites or the sites you just discovered. Select a relevant portion of the site you wish to share through Google Reader and click on “Note in Reader”. (Well text selection is optional, but it is also better to be focused). A window will open up with title of the site being shared with selected text already filled. Now just put your annotation (yet another optional step) about the site (your friends might like to know as why you are sharing?) and click “Post Item”. You have now shared an item through Google Reader. You can email the links of shared items to your friends, share through your blog (ready to add clip in Blogger available) or copy and paste relevant HTML snippet in your site.

Will Google Reader continue to add such features and evolve into a Social Networking Site? It can add profiles, favorite contacts, communities, pictures and all that stuff. With all these usual social networking stuff powered with shared knowledge (sites), Google Reader could become “Google Wisdom” for a participating virtual community.