Category Archives: Cool tools

Search TRLN: unified catalog for Duke, UNC, NCSU and NCCU

Did you know that these local universities have cooperative agreements between their libraries ? Duke students, faculty and staff can use their Duke ID cards to check out books at UNC, NC State, or NCCU, and vice versa, for example.

Now TRLN (the Triangle Research Libraries Network) has launched a new catalog that has a unified search for the collections of all the schools’ libraries. You can request delivery between the schools, which is expected to take 48 hours.

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Search TRLN has a number of exciting new features:

    Browse by call number
    Look at books recently added to the collections
    Limit to types of libraries (i.e. law only)
    Refine your search by format, subject, etc.

It still has the support you’re used to:

    Ask a Librarian
    Live chat help

We’ll be posting some more detailed suggestions and web tutorials for how best to use this new catalog in the coming weeks. Right now, give it a try! Leave a question or a tip in comments.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Search Duke Library Resources from Facebook

Hang out in Facebook a lot? Do you think you might want to search the Duke library catalog and other library databases directly from there some times? You can now using the Duke Libraries Facebook application.

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To install it, go to http://apps.facebook.com/dukelibraries/ and follow the usual method for installing Facebook applications, checking or unchecking the settings you want for this application. Then look for it on your profile page. The box should be able to be moved around on your page and fit in either column. With this app, you should be able to do any of the searches that you can do on the library home page.

Try it out, and let us know what you think!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Introducing Zotero (part 2)

(Since my first post introducing the research tool Zotero, its development continues apace. Several new features have been added, and over 60 institutions, according to the Zotero blog, now recommend Zotero, including MIT and Rice University–both having published their own tutorials on using it.)

Zotero Tour ThumbnailIn my initial post I promised to explain why I thought Zotero was something worth writing home about, not just yet-another-piece-of-software. In case you’re still wondering if Zotero is worth the hype, I’ll make good on the promise. First, since Zotero is an open-source extension to the Firefox browser, anyone can modify it to support their needs—for example, by adding new citation styles or integration with word processors like OpenOffice.org. Of course, being open-source software, Zotero doesn’t cost a dime, making it an even more attractive alternative to expensive proprietary options like EndNote. Second, Zotero makes use of the evolving Firefox extension platform (also open-source) which will, I think, become ever more useful and functional development platform, as software proliferates that lives in the space between the internet and your computer. Lastly, Zotero is a modest coup for open access. As Zotero not only creates a citation to the material you’re reading in your browser—a journal article from PLOS Biology, for example—but also a copy (Zotero calls it a “snapshot”), when you need to refer or share the material later, you’ll be able to provide not only the citation but also the content itself. No trip back to the database or journal’s website is required (“Research, not re-search” is among Zotero’s mottos). Imagine thousands of researchers making use of this feature and you can imagine how this might constitute a modest push toward faster, easier access to research material for those who need it.

If any of this interests you and you’re not already a user, the Zotero folks have a short video introducing the extention.

Online Encylopedias for Specific Subjects

We recently wrote about some all-encompassing online encyclopedias. But there are also some very useful encyclopedias on specific scholarly topics. Increasingly the standard print reference works in any given field are becoming available in keyword-searchable full text online. Here are some great ones:

Oxford Reference Online
has excellent encyclopedias and dictionaries for fields from Art and Architecture to Science, and also includes foreign language and quotation dictionaries. Titles include The Oxford Classical Dictionary, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. They even have a browser toolbar you can download and install allowing you to search their products.

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AccessScience @ McGraw-Hill gives you keyword searchability of the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology as well as science biographies, yearbooks, and some news articles.

Blackwell Reference Online has especially strong collections in Business, History, Linguistics, Literature, and Philosophy.

Next in our tour of online reference works we’ll look at some specific titles. If you want an overview of the things we subscribe to, look in the Resource Finder under the subject heading Reference, and look for Encyclopedias and Dictionaries.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Bookish Applications for Facebook

If you spend all your time in Facebook, branch out from Scrabulous and movie trivia quizzes to take a look at some applications related to the library and books.

So far we’ve found:

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WorldCat, the closest thing there is to a universal library catalog (for US users, anyway), now lets you search their public site directly from Facebook.

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MiniLibrary, which does sort of the same thing except searching European National Libraries.

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Books iRead, which allows you to add your books and rate them, and compare them to what your friends have. It’s sort of a simplified LibraryThing for Facebook, basically.

We hear that an application that will allow you to search the Duke Library catalog from Facebook is in the works; we’ll announce it here when it’s ready.

Have you found any useful and/or fun library, research, or book-related applications on Facebook? Give us a link!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Webcast on Zotero: Online Citation Manager

Innovate, Journal of Online Education, is hosting a webcast that looks like a good introduction to Zotero, the free online citation management system that Allen raved about here. It’s Thursday Jan. 10 at 2:00 pm EST. [edited to correct date: Thanks, Brandi!]

It looks like you have to register for the webcast, but it’s free. A good way to get your feet wet if you’ve been thinking about Zotero. And how often do you get to hear from an official Technology Evangelist?

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Cell Phones for Citation

A colleague in the library recently observed a student using a cell phone camera to make a quick “note” of the title page of a book, and the call number label. What a great idea! Very useful for people who are in a big hurry, but want to make sure they capture the full bibliographic citation of something they checked, and also want a reminder of the call number so they can come back for it. Much better than a scribbled post-it note that can be lost or undecipherable.

Plays, and More Plays.

Photo by absent.canadian from the Photo Scavenger Hunt – any interest in doing a new hunt in the new semester?

By Phoebe Acheson

Duke Library Website Under Creative Commons License

Most of the Duke Libraries’ web pages are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike License. What that means in non-lawyer speak is that everyone is welcome to use, share or remix the pages so licensed, under certain conditions.

Look for the logo below the footer on every relevant page. A few pages are not licensed, because of various copyright or other legal issues; they will explicitly say so.

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The conditions for use are: you give credit to the Duke Libraries for the used material, you don’t use our material to make money, and whatever you make from our material must also be available for sharing and remixing.

Do you have a web site that you host or contribute to? Consider Creative Commons licensing for your site.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

LibX browser add-on – take the library with you

Last summer we posted the first version of the Duke Libraries LibX browser add-on. A new version is out now, with some fixes, updates, and new functionality. If you already have LibX, Firefox should have notified you that there was an update available (if not, in Firefox go to Tools -> Add-ons and click “Find Updates”). If you haven’t heard about it yet, please read on.

What is LibX? It’s an add-on (or extension) to your web browser that puts library services wherever you go on the web. It has a toolbar (which you can choose to show or hide as needed) that lets you do several different kinds of library searches (catalog, journals, databases, Google Scholar, etc.) directly from your browser. There are also quick links to frequently used library services (My Account, Ask a Librarian, and more) and a Scholar “magic button” – drag and drop text on it, and it will search for that text in Google Scholar.

LibX toolbar

But some of the coolest functionality is what’s hidden behind the scenes, and only shows up when appropriate. Go to Amazon or Google or other places where a book’s unique ISBN number is encoded (including many book reviews) and a Duke Libraries icon (the “reading Blue Devil”: Reading Blue Devil icon) will appear as a cue that there’s a library connection there. Click on the icon, and it will link you to a search of the item in Duke’s library catalog. The same thing works for many journal articles – look for the embedded Get It @ Duke cue Get it @ Duke logo in Google Scholar, CiteULike, and elsewhere. Clicking the link will take you to it via Duke Library’s subscription.

LibX cue

More hidden functionality is revealed when you right click on a web page. If you’re off-campus and a site that requires a Duke subscription doesn’t recognize you as being from Duke, right click and look for the item that reads “Reload [name of web site] via Duke University EZProxy”. Clicking on this will send you through the library’s EZProxy system, which will authenticate you as a member of the Duke community and then direct you back to the page you were on. Not all sites work with this, but many do, and it might save you a trip to the library catalog or VPN.

LibX right-click

The right-click menu also gives you lots of search options if you highlight some text before right-clicking. Highlight a word or phrase, and the right-click menu will give you lots of places where you can search on that word or phrase. For the “Author” field, it will even flip the terms, so if you highlighted Joe Smith it will turn your Author search into Smith Joe, which the library catalog likes better.

Give it a try – it’s available for Firefox (Windows, Mac, and Linux – yes Linux users, we love you too) and for Internet Explorer on Windows. Note that while the Firefox version is stable and well-tested, the IE version is still in beta, and requires recent versions of the browser and .Net framework.

See Duke Library’s LibX page for download links and instructions, and please let us know what you think.

Take EndNote on the road with EndNote Web

Interested in accessing your EndNote library even when you’re not in front of your personal computer? Take your research on the road by setting up an EndNote Web account, and enjoy the freedom to consult or add citations to your EndNote library from any computer with an internet connection.

EndNote Web is designed to complement the more robust desktop version of the citation management tool, but it’s possible to use it even if you’ve never used EndNote (by the way, EndNote may be downloaded for free by Duke students, staff and faculty).

Simply set up an Endnote Web account, and then add up to 10,000 citations to your Web library. Format bibliographies and in-text citations in over 2300 publishing styles (MLA, APA, etc.), or use the Cite While You Write plug-in and Microsoft Word to format papers and insert references instantly. You may also share citations with others who use the web application and search PubMed, Web of Science and hundreds of libraries for relevant resources, all within the EndNote Web interface.

RefWorks

And if you choose to use the two programs together (as they were intended), it’s easy to transfer citations between EndNote and EndNote Web.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think about EndNote’s latest innovation for researchers who don’t want to be tied to their offices or dorm rooms.

Literary Style by the Numbers

Have you ever noticed the link on Amazon.com’s book record pages called “Text Stats“? (it’s in the “Inside this Book” section – you have to scroll down a bit). Since Amazon has the full text of many books in electronic format, they can tally up some fun (and revealing) statistics about each book. Stuff like the number of characters, words, and sentences in the book, the complexity and readability of the text (using various metrics, like average words per sentence and syllables per word), and even words per dollar and words per ounce!

Author Steven Berlin Johnson (The Ghost Map, Everything Bad is Good For You, etc.) blogged recently about exploring this feature, comparing the statistics on his books with those of other authors, including Duke professor Fredric Jameson, and plotting them on a graph.

Read Johnson’s blog post for his observations on what these statistics reveal about different authors’ literary styles, and the comments below his blog post for other interpretations of this data, as well as how you can get these statistics on your own writing using word processing software.

Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Stories

The Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive is a remarkable database that contains full-length digital videos of Holocaust survivors and witnesses. This resource that Duke Libraries just recently purchased contains over 50,000 video testimonies.

To get to this database, just click on the database tab on the Duke Library homepage and type “Shoah” in the search box. Once at the site, you will be asked to create a free username and password in order to log-in.

Shoah screen shot

Once you are logged in, you can search for interviews by keyword, a specific person, or by an experience group.

What will you find inside, you may ask?

  • Extraordinary primary source material to use in your research.
  • Full-length video interviews taken in 56 countries, in 32 languages!
  • At the end of many interviews, personal photographs, documents, and artifacts from the interviewee’s family are displayed.

Have questions? Save time, Ask a Librarian!

Written by Jennifer Castaldo

Podcasts: Audio Primary Sources

As we at iPod – I mean, Duke – University know, podcasts have proliferated in the past 5 years. They aren’t just for fun, however – major radio news sources and government agencies are making podcasts available that can be used in research or academic presentations. Radio podcasts can provide in-depth interviews with politicians, medical researchers, legal scholars, and much more. Here’s an NPR podcast in Spanish on youth culture:

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Have a look at our podcasts page to see links to sources for academic and primary source content via podcast.

Got another favorite podcast? Leave us a link in comments!

By Phoebe Acheson

Subscribe to the Census by RSS

The United States Census Bureau now allows you to receive updates via RSS, with subscriptions available for web site changes, tip sheets, population estimates (PopClocks!) and even daily podcasts, among others.

Most useful for researchers may be the set of RSS feeds for news releases on a wide variety of topics, including Aging Population, Housing, and Retail Industries. Sign up and whenever the Census has news on your topic, you’ll know.

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More ideas about using RSS feed subscriptions in your research are here.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Web Browser Search Plug-Ins

One of the comments on the LibX toolbar post asked about ways we could customize that toolbar to allow searches of specific databases, like JStor.

There is a way to search a database right from your web browser toolbar, using a customized search plugin. Most browsers come with options for searching Google, Yahoo or Amazon, but you can add options like WorldCat, the Oxford English Dictionary, and ProQuest.

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We’ve set up a page collecting the plug-ins we’ve found or created here. If you don’t see a search plug-in for the database you want, contact Phoebe Acheson and ask for it. Not every database works with the plug-in generator we’re using, but many do.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Lost files? Don’t lose hope!

We’ve all been there. After working for hours, we hit the wrong key or forget to save a file opened from email, and before we know it, lose it all.

To save yourself the headache of these maddening situations, consider ways that you can prevent them from happening in the first place…

Before you make edits to a doc that you email to yourself to work on from another machine, click Save As, and Save it to the desktop or a flash drive (remember, though, that the desktop gets cleared as soon as you log off).

Better yet, bypass emailing yourself altogether by using Duke’s WebFiles, which provide all Duke students, faculty and staff with 5GB of personal file space and web space. Questions? See How to Use WebFiles.

And, believe it or not, there are ways to retrieve those files that appear to be lost in the Ether:

Strategy One: Check the Recycle Bin on your computer.

Strategy Two: Click Start, Search, and use Windows’ “When was it modified?” option under All Files and Folders (in Vista, click Start, Search and then click the down arrow to the right of Advanced Search, and select Date Modified in the Date dropdown menu at left). See your file? Be sure to save it in another location before continuing to work!

Strategy Three: Try a free undelete utility.

Strategy Four: Buy a file-recovery program (File Scavenger goes for $49, while Easy Recovery Professional will cost you $500).

Still no luck? For tips on how to recover anything from Excel files to a lost password, check out PC World’s How to Recover (Almost) Anything.

Have horror stories to tell about work you’ve lost? Have brilliant tips for recovering precious files? Do share!

Introducing Zotero (part one)

zotero logo smallZotero describes itself as a Firefox extension that helps you “collect, manage, and cite your research sources.” Since I’m as technologically trail-weary as the next person, I’ll try to make clear what it is about Zotero that should rouse you out of bed and why I’ve been an enthusiastic user for the last six months.

At its most basic, Zotero streamlines the process of creating citations. Instead of making an extra trip back to the library catalog or a book’s front matter when you need to fill in the required fields (publication year, editor, etc.) in your bibliographic software (EndNote, BibTex), you let Zotero do it for you the first time, when you’re looking at the book’s record in your browser (in Duke’s catalog, Worldcat, Amazon, Google Books, etc.). It’ll grab the relevant details and more from the catalog record at the click of an icon (see image below). Zotero gets much sweeter if you’re viewing the item-to-be-cited itself in your browser, rather than its catalog entry–for example, an article on Le Monde or the New York Times. Not only will Zotero pull out all the information you’ll need to cite the article later, it will make a local copy of the page you’re looking at, so if you or the article is ever off-line, you’ll still have a copy. Once the item is saved, creating a citation or a bibliography in whatever style you’d like (MLA, APA, Chicago) is easy.

using zotero with nytimes

If you’re already using Firefox, treat yourself to Zotero. It’ll save you typing and time. The extension is open-source as well, over a year in development by a crack team at George Mason University. Still have doubts? Zotero recently won an award for best instructional technology software from the American Political Science Association.

All this said, I’ve hardly touched on the features of Zotero that make it well-nigh revolutionary as a piece of software. I’ll save that for part two.

[update 2007-10-12: If you’re eager to read more about Zotero, I recommend Scott Mclemee’s review from a few weeks ago on Inside Higher Ed.]

Free Streaming Music!

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is a large collection of international music with full-length audio streams. This database is brand new and was recently acquired by Duke Libraries. It covers voices from people all around the world. Listen to old time country music, blues, recordings from African tribes, Broadway hits and much more!

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

Reasons to check it out, besides that it is now free to Duke students and staff:

  • includes complete audio and video selections, media, educational resources and detailed liner notes.
  • Search by country, culture group, genre, language or even instrument.
  • Develop your own playlists.
  • Create a user name and log-in to store favorites in a “My Playlists” folder.
  • One stop shopping! You can buy albums you like directly from this site.

Enjoy! Browse all different types of music and put off writing that paper for a little while…

Click here for a sample track! Duke Only

Can’t find exactly what you want? Save time, Ask A Librarian!

Written by Jennifer Castaldo

Browser toolbar for medical library resources

If you use the Medical Center Library a lot, you’ll like this. The library has recently released a browser toolbar that lets you search the library catalog, PubMed, the Medical Center Library website and more right from your browser. It also includes links to frequently used resources and a quick way to get help with your research. Read more and download the toolbar (for both Firefox and Internet Explorer) on the Medical Center Library’s web site.

If medical research is not your thing, check out the Duke LibX add-on for Firefox (announced in LibraryHacks over the summer) that provides quick access to Duke University Libraries resources and services wherever you are on the web, through a browser toolbar and embedded “cues” on sites like Amazon. It’s currently only available for Firefox, but a version for Internet Explorer will be available soon (we’ll announce it on LibraryHacks when it’s ready).

The Sober Librarian: Google Book Search

Google Book Search – a project that has Google working with major US and international libraries to digitize out-of-copyright (and many still-under-copyright) books and make them freely accessible on the internet (and keyword-searchable!) has been an exciting, and controversial, development for libraries. (More about Google Book Search).

One the one hand, if you believe the hype it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Here’s a promotional video from Google (full disclosure: Erin McKean, the dress blogger/lexicographer, is a friend of mine).

On the other hand, there are basic concerns about the quality of Google Books’ scans, a topic addressed recently by Duke’s own Scholarly Communications Officer, as well as ongoing debates about corporate vs. academic control of content and access to it, and all sorts of other library & scholarship philosophy issues (a starting place, if you’re interested in reading about these issues, is the Wikipedia article on Google Book Search.)

Where do I come down? Let me leave the philosophical discussions aside for the moment, since this is a blog about library tools and tips. Google Book Search is a currently available tool that scholars and readers should be aware of. Like any other tool, it works well for some things and not for others. It can be very valuable if you are an archaeologist in Crete and want to check a description or illustration of some pottery in the 1912 volume “Explorations in the Island of Mochlos,” which no self-respecting library would allow you to check out and stow in your luggage for a transatlantic flight (it’s out of print, and a reprint edition is selling, used, for $295!). It’s not useful if you want to read a novel – it’s much easier to purchase a five-dollar copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion to read on the plane. Give it a try and see if it works for your needs. I wish you happy serendipitous discoveries!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

The Sober Librarian: What’s in a DOI?

Library staff often learn as much from our patrons – i.e. you – as they teach. My husband, who is a PhD student in engineering at another local institution of higher learning, said to me, “Why don’t you do a post on your blog about DOIs?” I had never heard of a DOI. So I had to look it up, of course.

What? A DOI – Digital Object Identifier – is a number attached to a piece of online content (Wikipedia has a much more technical definition). In practical terms, it is a unique number attached to a full-text online article, much in the same way every book has a unique ISBN.

krill

Why? Well, suppose your article was published in the journal ‘Nitpicky Things About Oceanography’ by Small Academic Press and appeared on their web site. Six years later, Small Academic Press was purchased by Big International Conglomerate. Obviously they are going to change the (previously stable) url of your journal article. But you can find the new online location of the article easily by putting the DOI into a DOI resolver or the global handle resolver. DOIs can also be easily hotlinked, and some article databases are starting to do this. DOIs are starting to be included as an integral part of bibliographic citations in some fields – instead of searching for the journal title to find an article, just enter the DOI into a resolver and there you are.

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Who? DOIs are the result of cooperation between commercial publishers and non-commercial organizations (like libraries, universities, and academic presses). The main site explaining all this is at doi.org, but you may find the information available at CrossRef.org, which is focused on scholarly research applications of DOIs, to be more useful.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Duke LibX: Add Duke Libraries to your web browser

We are happy to announce the publication of the Duke version of the LibX plug-in for Firefox web browsers. Duke LibX allows you to install a toolbar in your browser with a search box that connects directly to Duke’s library catalog, e-journals, databases, or library web pages, as well as Google Scholar. You can highlight citations and drag-and-drop them to the toolbar, or right-click to have the same search options. LibX also puts a Duke Gothic window (called a ‘cue’) in web sites like Amazon – click it and automatically search the catalog to see if we own the book.

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Find out more and get the install link at our LibX page (http://library.duke.edu/research/tools/libx.html) If there is one hack you take from this blog, this should be the one. (And if you’re not using Firefox yet, this is your reason to switch.)

The Duke LibX tool was originally developed by Sean Chen (Law Library) and recently updated by Paolo Mangiafico (Perkins Digital Projects). Thanks, guys!

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Web apps for students, researchers, and any library user

If you live your life on the net and in the library, check out these two blog posts, with descriptions and links of lots of tools that might make your life easier:

They cover note-taking tools, “mind-mappers,” collaboration tools, bibliographic software, bookmarking tools, online office software, online calendars, and more. Check them out, and let us know what you think. We’ll write up more details on your and our favorites here in the future.

Staying Alert in Ukraine

 From our Duke researcher in Ukraine, Sarah Wallace: Sarah Wallace

 

“I recently discovered a great feature of Google called Google Alerts. The program allows you to closely monitor specific topics in the news without having to do a manual search. I have it set up so that any news or blog posts containing the words Ukraine, Chernobyl, or Duke will be consolidated and sent to my email account at the end of the day, every day.”

“Although I’ve only been receiving alerts for a few days, I’ve already learned so much about Ukrainian politics, economics, and culture. For example, …my favorite news alert of the week:

‘PepsiAmericas, Inc., the world’s second largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of PepsiCo beverages, and PepsiCo itself, announced a landmark agreement on June 7 to jointly acquire 80 percent of Sandora LLC, Ukraine’s number one juice maker… Home to some 46 million consumers, Ukraine is considered to be one of the fastest growing beverage markets in Europe.’

“I definitely recommend Google’s alert system to anyone who wants to track a topic in the news. But be warned – Google alerts are a big distraction. I really should be studying Ukrainian at the moment, but my mind can only handle so much in one day.”

How about you? Do you have any cool tools to share?

Gather, collect, share, and network

A few weeks ago we wrote about Connotea, a “social bookmarking” tool for academics, and in the comments Duke Professor Gary Feng reminded us of CiteULike, a similar tool that is currently more widely used in the sciences. Around the same time, the spring issue of the UK journal Ariadne came out with an article on CiteULike, titled “Citeulike: A Researcher’s Social Bookmarking Service“. The introduction reads

This article describes Citeulike, a fusion of Web-based social bookmarking services and traditional bibliographic management tools. It discusses how Citeulike turns the linear ‘gather, collect, share’ process inherent in academic research into a circular ‘gather, collect, share and network’ process, enabling the sharing and discovery of academic literature and research papers.

The article provides a brief overview of the principles behind tools like CiteULike and Connotea, and gives examples of how these tools can be useful for academics. It explains how to use CiteULike to build networks of citations shared among colleagues, in addition to using it for managing one’s own citations. As the authors write,

The fact that two users read similar literature probably indicates that they will potentially have a professional interest in each other. The bibliographic data forms a fabric binding people together.

This fabric is a major reason why we come together in universities, so it makes sense that the digital tools we use should help to strengthen these ties, and do so even across institutions and geographical boundaries. Might tools like this eventually become the platform for a different kind of peer review? Dario Taraborelli muses on this in his blog posting “Soft peer review? Social software and distributed scientific evaluation” in the Academic Productivity blog.

Connotea, an Online Research Tool

Connotea logoWe’re currently encouraging faculty and students to test Connotea (www.connotea.org, pronounced con-no-TAY-uh), an online tool that combines the ‘tagging’ features of services such as del.icio.us with an academic research focus.

Anyone can register at the site, create a username, and then begin building a library of resources—online articles, book reviews, web pages, anything with a URL—simply by clicking the “Add to Connotea” button that you add to your Internet browser. Connotea allows you to export your library of resources into other programs (like EndNote, the bibliographic software Duke currently supports) or subscribe to an RSS feed of your own or another user’s library. You can also configure your account so that the Get It @ Duke button will appear next to many Connotea citations, linking you to online full-text resources available through Duke.

Since most users’ libraries of resources are public (though you can choose to make a private library), you can search for tags of interest to you among resources found by other users—fellow Duke students, Duke librarians who are putting useful resources into Connotea, as well as researchers and scholars around the world who are using the site for their own work. Look for the DukeUniversityLibraries group to find resources in Connotea that have been tagged by Duke Librarians.

For directions on getting started and more tips, see the library’s Connotea web page at: http://library.duke.edu/services/instruction/connotea.html.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Give RefWorks a try

RefWorks is web-based bibliographic management software. Does that make sense? I didn’t think so. So here’s what it really is: an online program that allows you to upload, save, and format article and book citations. Like EndNote (which you can get for free through Duke), RefWorks also formats your bibliography for you.

Right now, Duke has a trial subscription to RefWorks. Through June 30, 2007, any Duke user can use RefWorks for free.

To create an account, follow these steps:

  1. Go to www.refworks.com/refworks from any computer at Duke.
  2. Click on Sign Up for an Individual Account.
  3. Enter the appropriate information and click on Register.

Like instructions? Check out the RefWorks Quick Start Guide or the RefWorks tutorials.

You can use RefWorks off-campus: just enter Duke’s group code RWDukeUniv.

If you have any questions regarding the trial, or feedback on RefWorks, please contact me, Joan Petit.

Written by Joan Petit

Thing I like (warning: addictive)

Well, I fell this morning. People at work have been succumbing piecemeal for some time, and then my online community discovered it, and I was finally a goner.

What the heck am I talking about? Librarything (librarything.com). It’s sort of like Facebook, for your books. Basically, you create an online library catalog of your own books, and you tag them, and yes, it sounds really boring and like something only a librarian could love, but honestly, it’s crazy addictive. It’s also super-easy to set up.

Once you’re in, you can see exactly how many books of Doonesbury cartoons or by Maurice Sendak or about archaeological field methods you own (me: many many many of each, tag clouds are frighteningly revealing). Then you can see who else owns them, and what books they own that you don’t (but might like to), and it is sounding boring again, I know.

Just try it; you’ll know right away if it’s for you. But make sure to try when you have some free time (Spring break is a great time). I have at least one friend who was up all night the first time she logged in.

Written by Phoebe Acheson

Book Burro brings your local library into Amazon

Wouldn’t it be cool if while you were looking at books in Amazon’s online store you could see whether Duke Libraries have the book? Well, you can. A tool called Book Burro (bookburro.org) does just this.

It only works with the Firefox browser, so if you’re using Internet Explorer or other browsers you’re out of luck (there are many reasons why you should try out Firefox, but that’s another blog post). You install the browser plugin (or “add-on”, as they’re now called in Firefox 2) and configure it with your zip code and online book stores you like to use.

Then, whenever you’re looking at a book record in Amazon, you’ll see an overlay in the top left corner of your browser that looks like this:

Book Burro in Amazon

When you click on the little triangle on the left, the overlay will expand and look something like this:

Screen capture of Book Burro with Durham localization

What displays here depends on how you’ve configured BookBurro (using the tools icon near the right side of the BookBurro overlay). If you’ve put in your zip code, it will show you which libraries in the vicinity have the book – the search includes all libraries at Duke, UNC, NCCU, and many other universities in the region, as well as local public libraries.

Depending on how you’ve configured it, BookBurro will even show you how much the same item costs at other online stores. So you can quickly decide whether to head to your local library, make a request via Inter Library Loan, or order the book from an online vendor and have the book delivered directly to you.

Duke Libraries does not produce or support BookBurro, so we can’t vouch for how well it will work all the time, but so far it’s been pretty handy for me. Try it out – if you don’t like it, it’s easy to uninstall.