Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Need a DOI?

No, this is not a post on driving over the influence, nor under it, either. Rather, this is about finding a digital object identifier (DOI). The International DOI Foundation gives the following definition: "A DOI® (Digital Object Identifier) is a name (not a location) for an entity on digital networks. It provides a system for persistent and actionable identification and interoperable exchange of managed information on digital networks."

Some associations, such as APA and AMA, have begun to ask for DOIs in their bibliographic references and include instructions within their published citation style manuals.

What happens if you cannot find the DOI? Fortunately, many databases provide the DOI as part of the full citation of the articles they index. Nevertheless, there may be times when the DOI cannot be located. Crossref.org has created a query page that allows individuals to input elements of their citation into blank fields before clicking the search button to find the answer. Actually, they provide three different search options:

  • Bibliographic Metadata Search: enter as many individual elements of an article, book, or conference proceeding citation. Note: select the radio button next to Book/Conference proceeding if that is what you seek.

  • Search an Article Title: use this one if all you have is the article title. Knowing the author's name may reduce results.

  • Automatic Parsing of a Normal Reference: enter the text for a bibliographic record. It lets you search for multiple DOIs if you enter multiple bibliographic references.

So if this post influences you to use Crossref.org to find DOIs, then you might just be driving [the internet] under the influence (DUI).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Using Google Sites as Library Guides

Idaho State University stopped using a webmail service back in October 2009 and switched to Google Apps. I have migrated completely from the Microsoft Outlook to exclusive usage of the Google Apps. It has many advantages, though many of my colleagues may argue otherwise. They have stayed with Microsoft Outlook, preferring its system of folders, which is an advantage in many instances. Today's news says that 25 million people use Google Apps.

I like the greater capacity to collaborate with the Google Apps. It seems to be easier to share calendars, share documents, collaborate on websites, etc. Google Sites in particular makes it easy to create webpages. True, they may not function as well as LibGuide's product; however, the price tag, or lack thereof, really makes Google Sites more of a realistic option in today's down economy.

As part of my duties, I teach lots of different classes and have created handouts for many of them. Unfortunately, some students will discard them immediately after the class, so rather than print handouts that may get wasted it may make a bit more sense to create websites and include digital copies of the handouts and worksheets that they can print or use digitally themselves.

Here are some of the Google Sites I have created thus far:

Let me know what you think of them and please share any suggestions for improving them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Information Literacy: A Practical, Everday Skill

About a month ago, a friend of mine invited me to join him in a triathlon. That sounded like a good idea, so the next morning I got up early and went to the gym to swim. Of course, I was pathetic, which did not surprise me. My swimming skill at the time was more on the level of a beginner than an intermediate. Another friend saw me swimming and invited me to train with him for this triathlon, which I gratefully accepted.

From the beginning he talked about how difficult swimming had been when he had first started a year earlier. He also mentioned that he had gone onto YouTube to learn more about swimming techniques, how useful that had really been, and even supplying some basic keywords for the search.

Now I had heard that YouTube had become more of a reference resource, but I just have not used it much for anything more than entertainment or library-related videos. Like many online search engines, when I began typing in "swimming technique" it supplied with numerous other search options, such "swimming technique freestyle," "swimming technique butterfly," "swimming technique for beginners," "swimming technique breathing," etc.

One thing I really like about these videos is that they automatically include captions, which is really nice for catching all that the "instructor" says. The audio is not always the best, considering that many of the YouTube videos are created by amateur cinematographers.

Like other social networking sites, you may add your own comments to critique or praise the video. As a beginner, I have enjoyed some of the following videos on the subject of swimming technique as found in my Delicious account under the tag "swimming."

By the way, several people think I'm crazy for wanting to compete in a triathlon; they believe I need to start practice the word "No." We have even had some mini-workshops on this skill in our core reference meetings. : )

Monday, March 1, 2010

Finding Full-text Theses & Dissertations

A week or two ago one of my colleagues made me aware of a site that can help you find the full text to a thesis or dissertation. If she is helping someone at the reference desk who needs a thesis, she will look here before advising them to request a copy via our Interlibrary Loan department.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations's website states: "The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic analogues to the traditional paper-based theses and dissertations."

Once you get there, select the following words in the box: "for Researchers: Find ETDs." Presumably, ETD stands for "electronic theses and dissertations." On the Find ETDs page you will see options for searching, browsing, and contributing to the archive as well as various possibilities for interfaces. The VTLS Visualizer hyperlink will take you to a search interface where you can plug your search terms in the box and do some hunting.

If this tool is not sufficient, you might look for the Dissertations & Theses A&I database. Most academic institutions purchase access to this database, since it can be immensely useful for graduate and faculty research. It's great for searching; however, it just provides abstracts, 24-page previews, and the option to purchase a copy in various formats..

Now I have one more thing to show graduate students in future workshops--as if I did not have enough already!