Search Archive

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