Library News

Web of Science!

There’s been some good “viral marketing” going on on campus already, but I thought it was also worth mentioning here — the NU Libraries now offer Web of Science! We’re super-excited to finally have this powerful resource available. For those who may not be familiar with this database, it’s actually a suite of citation indexes from ISI Web of Knowledge. It includes Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Sciences Citation Index, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index — so it’s not just science, despite the name. The main reason it’s so great is how easy it makes citation searching. Say you’ve found a good article from 1994 and you want to see how many articles after that date list the first article as a reference. Web of Science makes this extremely easy. Just enter the info about the 1994 article — usually author’s name and the journal title will be sufficient — and voila, you’ll get a list of subsequent articles that cite it. Then you can see what publications cite those articles, and so on, tracking a trail of citations up to the present day. Why is this useful? Well, generally speaking, the more a source is cited, the more important it is within its field. Maybe it’s important because it first introduced some major new discovery, or maybe it’s important because it makes a controversial claim that many other people want to debate. Either way, citation searching allows you to quickly see who the major players are in a given field, and how the dialog is continuing. It can be more targeted than regular keyword searching, too, since you can use the citation trail to follow the discussion of a particular topic. I urge all you researchers out there to head on over to the Library website and check out this terrific resource. Enjoy, and let us know what you think, or what tips you have for using it!

Non-library hobbies

[This is mainly just a test post using my individual login…] Most of us affiliated with libraries would list “reading” as a primary hobby, but I’m curious what else people are involved in, what non-library activities we enjoy. I play clarinet in a community band, for instance, and I also just got an acoustic guitar for Christmas and can’t WAIT to learn to play. (Anyone want to offer me free instruction? I’ll trade proofreading/copyediting services for guitar lessons… 馃檪 )

Decisions,decisions…what to write about….

Writing an e-mail or a letter is one thing but posting something to a blog is totally different. E-mails can be rambling and just thoughts and also don’t need to have spelling corrected, Spell Checker where are you? 聽Blogs on the other hand…wow for someone heading from middle age to old age I am just farklempt ( a jewish word I just love ) and also one could say fartoost. I have just been shown a wonderful Yiddish website so will now be using some of the wonderful words I have found on it. But it is all fun and I am hoping that it won’t take me too long to learn all the ins and outs of blogging. Debbie聽

The Universal Library: Not As Close As You Think

This recent New Yorker article gives a lovely overview of the progress we’ve made, as humans, in digitizing our intellectual output. You may notice that the article’s author, Anthony Grafton, is a clear library supporter, as all good and right-thinking people are. However, even if libraries aren’t your cup of tea, Mr. Grafton makes clear the sheer scale of effort that truly “putting it all up on the Web” entails. As any of our researchers in pre-1900 areas know (Poole’s Index, anyone?) the bulk of our intellectual heritage is not digitized. Who’s going to digitize it? And who’s going to organize the resulting mass of stuff so it’s usable?