Archive for the ‘web resources’ Category

New Search Engine Options

January 11, 2018

As I was catching up on my reading over Christmas, I came across this Wired article talking about search engines and how they can help you get to the full text of an article.

For a couple of years now we’ve been directing you to check Google Scholar for your article before you order it in through interlibrary loan (though you’re still welcome to order it if it’s not available).  But this article introduced me to a few new options: Microsoft Academic and Semantic Scholar.

Conducting the same search using all three tools yielded some interesting differences in results, and Google Scholar provides by far the most hits, but the other two have some fun features: Microsoft Academic lets you quickly filter by field of study and Semantic Scholar provides a nice graphic of results by year.

Check them out, and see if you like what they can do for you.



NASA’s New Software Catalog is Here!

March 15, 2017

At the beginning of the month, NASA released its 2017-2018 software catalog. The catalog is free for the public to use without needing to worry about copyright.

“Space Wallpapers” by tableatny is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By releasing this catalog, NASA is making it easier for you to used the latest software available and currently used by the American government agency.

Not into space? Don’t leave just yet!


Playing with Google Trends

February 9, 2017

Did you know that Google has a really cool tool that allows you to visualize trends in searches? Google Trends lets you see what stories, searches, and YouTube videos are trending right now in different areas of the world, and also lets you see how interest in different search terms have played out across time and in different regions.  It’s this tool, for instance, that let’s you compare interest in Paw Patrol versus Dora the Explorer or shows you that “searches for ‘Superb Owl’ spike during the #Superbowl each year.

If you really want to get fancy, you can pair this tool with Google Correlate, which allows you to layer your own data over Google Trends data to see how they relate (check out, for instance, how searches for influenza information correlate with actual US Center for Disease Control-reported instances of the flu).

There’s some really cool potential here.

Visualize the Spread of Fake News

January 12, 2017

A new tool developed by researchers at Indiana University allows you to visualize the spread of fake news across Twitter, and also shows attempts to fact check it.  Hoaxy lets you search for a specific claim and then creates a visual map of shares for that claim or headline over time. The researchers presented the tool, along with some preliminary analysis from it, at the 25th International Conference of the World Wide Web.

Give it a try and see what it shows you about how information, and in this case misinformation, can spread across the web.

Libraries, Archives & Museums world-wide contribute to Shared Shelf Commons

December 9, 2014

What is Shared Shelf Commons? It is a free, open-access library of images and multimedia files, developed and hosted by Artstor. Search and browse collections with tools to zoom, print, export, and share images.

An impressive number of images ranging from great works of art from world-famous galleries and museum collections to bookplates donated to library Special Collections can be found in Shared Shelf Commons (SSC). In addition to images, SSC currently has over 170,000 multimedia files, including streaming video and streaming audio, that are freely available to the global community. For example, this silent film travelogue documentary provides a glimpse into the past: Travelogues: Washington, DC

android-smartphone-image620x440 copy

Shared Shelf Commons also has a mobile site where Apple and Android device users can search, browse, and view images. SSC mobile is open to anyone with a mobile device – it is not necessary to have an account. Access the site with your mobile device.

Welcome to Shared Shelf Commons!

Introducing BrowZine, the application revolutionizing academia

June 19, 2014


… an easy and familiar way to browse, read and monitor scholarly journals across the disciplines.



What Does BrowZine Do?

For Users

  • Easily read complete scholarly journals in a format that is optimized for tablet devices
  • Create a personal bookshelf of favorite journals
  • Be alerted when new editions of journals are published
  • Easily save to ZoteroMendeleyDropbox and other services

Coming to RDC Library soon….


Wikipedia as a research tool?

February 24, 2014

Your instructors have undoubtedly stressed that Wikipedia is not an academic source, so you can’t cite it as such in your research paper. All that is true—Wikipedia clearly doesn’t pass the CRAAP test as a peer-reviewed, academic research source.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it at all. Wikipedia can be a great starting point for general information as you familiarize yourself with your research topic. There are also many links in most Wikipedia entries that will send you in many other directions to related subjects, experts, and fields of study as you explore your topic and formulate your ideas.

It’s also a great source for different keywords on your topic. Keywords are the words you enter in any search field to get results. To state the obvious, the results you get out of a search are only as good as the keywords you put in. Wikipedia can show you which words and phrases are commonly used in a specific field, and using those terms and keywords when you search will allow you to “speak the language” of that subject and get you better results. For example, a read of the Wikipedia entry for Social Media yields myriad other related terms, like consumer-generated media, social networking, digital media, content marketing, social media activism, online presence management, and many more, that become useful keyword lingo.

So while Wikipedia is most definitely not an academic source it can still be a useful research tool. Try integrating it into your next project. And if you’ve discovered other uses for Wikipedia in your own research, leave a comment and let us know. Happy researching!

Welcome to the Brave New World: Tracking your Altmetrics

February 18, 2014

A great question came my way last week from a faculty member looking to track the impact of a recently published, award winning article. With all the different ways people discuss and engage with scholarship, its is easy to see why academics would want to know all the ways their work is being engaged with, and not just how many times an article is being cited.

This beyond-traditional means of measurement is called Altmetricsand it acknowledges how scholars have an impact far beyond how many times a given article has appeared in someone else’s References list.  How about how often the article/author has been mentioned on Twitter? Or how many people have saved the article in Zotero, Mendeley, or CiteULike?  What about the number of times your conference slides were viewed on SlideShare?

All of these (and more!) contribute to the impact of your scholarly work- but it may seem daunting to check them all on a regular basis.  Certainly, you can set up alerts and track them individually- but- and I’m sure you know where I’m heading!- why not try an aggregator?

ImpactStory does just that- it aggregates your reach across websites. By bringing together your mentions from a variety of sources, it gives you a more complete picture of how your scholarship is contributing to the conversation in your field.

Come and see me if you’d like to chat more about this- we’re interested in how we can best support Faculty Scholarship at Red Deer College!

Cambridge Journals Online Releases API

May 16, 2013

For the programmers out there…

A couple of weeks ago, Cambridge Journals Online announced that they were releasing an API: “Releasing an API allows other pieces of software to communicate directly with the CJO application. It can power mobile apps, desktop widgets, and a whole host of new applications. With it we open some of our data up to the creativity and ingenuity of 3rd party developers, and hopefully find surprising new contexts for our content.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of new programs and ways of interacting with the journal literature are created through this initiative.

For those interested in following the progress, Red Deer College Library subscribes to several Cambridge Journals, including Aging and Society, The Canadian Journal of Political Science, and The Journal of Economic History.

What kinds of apps would you like to see developed for journal archives like Cambridge Journals Online?

Digital Public Library of America

April 19, 2013

If you’re looking to take a quick studying or marking break as final exams wind down, consider wandering over to the shiny, new Digital Public Library of America.  The site opened yesterday (a ceremony marking the event that was to be held at the Boston Public Library, the very first public library that opened in the US, was unfortunately postponed due to the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath) and is a remarkable partnership that is attempting to provide digital access to the collections of libraries, archives, and museums throughout the United States.

You can search the site by topic, or explore based on date, place, or exhibition.  There are also a number of apps already available, and they’re encouraging the development of more.

Have fun, but be warned – you could lose hours exploring this site!