[RRE]NeatNew and ExLibris

From: Phil Agre (pagreat_private)
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 09:14:06 PDT

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    Date: Fri, Apr 13, 2001, 1:23 AM
    From: Marylaine Block <mblockat_private>
    To: mblockat_private
    Subject: NeatNew and ExLibris
    NEAT NEW STUFF, APRIL 13, 2001
    Business Information Directory  
    Lists thousands of firms, associations, and articles, browsable by
    category and keyword searchable, e.g., where can you find somebody
    that writes "advertising jingles"?
    Columbia Journalism Review  
    One of the consciences of journalism has added some useful features
    like the Language Corner, the Inflation Calculator, the Media Finder,
    and  "Who Owns What" (useful in the fast-changing world of media
    Court Challenge to Digital Millennium Copyright Act  
    And about time, too. 
    Ethics in Computing  
    Entirely aside from a nice set of well-organized links, this site
    is notable for an attractive, instantly intelligible  interface that
    organizes its information as a map, where Privacy, Speech issues,
    Basics, Computer Abuse, Intellectual Property, etc. are separate
    Foot and Mouth Disease  
    Latest news on the outbreak in the UK, along with background info.
    Hints from Heloise  
    Includes Heloise's Top Ten Hints, her stain-removal calendar, tips on
    clutter control, monthly best buys, and lots more.
    Marine Corps.com  
    For and about Marines.  Includes an image gallery, an encyclopedia,
    news, videos, chat, cadences, etc.
    New on the Net  
    These are the sites I check routinely when looking for nifty sites
    for Neat New Stuff, though I should point out that I also find them
    in weblogs like Library Stuff, Library Juice, and Librarian.net.  
    Project for Public Spaces  
    A rich source for ideas on building livable communities around vibrant
    public spaces.  Examines great public buildings and why they work,
    great parks and why we need them, transit-friendly communities and how
    to build them, etc.
    the REAL Computer Virus: Misinformation  
    This article from American Journalism Review points out how, once
    a piece of misinformation is published and makes its way into Lexis-
    Nexis, it lives forever, repeated endlessly by lazy reporters and
    Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion  
    A new journal on an always hot topic.  In addition to full text of
    articles, it includes current developments and useful links.
    Scholars Urge a Boycott of Journals that Won't Release Articles to Free
    Archive  http://chronicle.com/free/2001/03/2001032601t.htm
    If this movement catches on it would do much to make research done
    with public funds available to the public for free.
    Strategies for Addressing and Preventing Plagiarism in the Digital Age  
    A brief but excellent guide for teachers, courtesy of librarian Karen
    You are welcome  to copy and distribute this listing for non-commercial
    purposes as long as you retain this copyright statement:
    Neat New Stuff I Found This Week
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000. 
    Publishers may license the content at reasonable rates.
    When I first began writing ExLibris, I set forth my cardinal rules of
    information.  The first one was, GO WHERE IT IS
    (http://marylaine.com/exlibris/xlib4.html).  It still is.  You see,
    knowing how to play nifty tricks with search engines is one reason
    librarians are good at finding answers on the net.  But I think the
    real reason we succeed  so often is because we know where to go in the
    first place; we understand how information works, who produces it, and
    where is the most likely place to search for anything.
    When people ask us a question, we automatically start by figuring out
    who would produce that piece of information.  If somebody wants to
    know what cities have the biggest roach problem, I head immediately
    to a full-text database of business magazines, figuring that the
    people who might have an answer are the people who will make money by
    knowing it: the pesticide manufacturers and their advertisers.  They
    lay out lots of money for market surveys, and the results of these are
    often reported on in business and marketing magazines like American
    I just did a couple of workshops for the Delaware Instructional
    Technology Conference, and one of the questions that came up was a
    standard research project their students are asked to do on Delaware
    watersheds.  I immediately began itemizing the agencies that logically
    might collect information about those watersheds: the U.S. Geological
    Survey.  The Army Corps of Engineers.  The Delaware Department
    of the Environment.  The U.S. Environmentmental Protection Agency.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Sensing a theme emerging here, I immediately went to Searchgov
    (http://searchgov.com/), an engine which searches sites from federal,
    state and local governments, fed in the term "Delaware watershed," and
    got an immense collection of documents from all levels of government.
    But I also figured this was a general science question as well, so I
    also went to SciSeek (http://sciseek.com/), which looks only through
    high quality science sites, and asked the question there.  There was
    overlap with the SearchGov results, but there were also a lot of
    unique results from scientific and engineering sites here.
    Since this topic would be written about by researchers in science
    journals, the next step was going to full-text article databases.
    In EbscoHost, I searched simultaneously through MasterFile Premier,
    Newspaper Source, and Academic Search Elite, and found hundreds of
    articles, not only from science journals, but from regional newspapers
    and magazines like Fly Fisherman.
    I repeat: librarians are not just good at internet searching because
    we understand how to play word games.  We're good because we know
    where we need to go and the quickest routes for getting there; we
    are equipped not just with compasses but with mental maps of the
    information landscape.
    * * * * *  
    I have identified one of the lacunae on the Internet, a hole that
    needs to be filled.  As best I can tell there is no clearinghouse
    that links in libraries' online recommended reading lists.  There
    is a clearinghouse for library instruction information, at LOEX
    (http://www.emich.edu/~lshirato/loex.html), and there are several
    clearinghouses for Internet tutorials and for acceptable use policies,
    but there seems to be no central place where we can share our "If you
    liked Robert Ludlum, you'll like . . ." lists.
    This would be an immensely valuable service, first because other
    librarians will have thought of topics or books that never would have
    occurred to us, like golf novels, or war novels, or academic murder
    mysteries.  Secondly, many of us who are working in very small
    libraries, where we have very little time to generate such lists,
    would nevertheless love to point our users to them.
    I have long thought that one of the useful things library school
    students could be assigned to do as projects would be to identify
    an unmet need on the net and build a web page that answers that need.
    I hereby offer this clearinghouse idea to some enterprising student.
    If any of you take me up on the offer, let me know, and I'll publicize
    your work on Neat New Stuff.
    * * * * *  
    It appears that, quite often, our users don't actually know what their
    question is. Librarians are good at solving this problem. Through a
    series of negotiations back and forth, using problem-solving skills,
    librarians help users learn what it is they really want. A note from
    our CEO said he had seen a number of our testimonials and commented,
    "What is striking is the common thread through the testimonials.
    People wonder how you know what they wanted when they didn't even know
     Eugenie Prime.  "The Spider, the Fly and the Internet."  E-Content,
    June, 2000
    * * * * * 
    You are welcome  to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own
    articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest
    writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:
    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000.  
    Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.
    Marylaine Block
    Writer, Internet Trainer, Librarian without Walls
    Rock Music Quote of the Week:
    Always doubt the cynical
    They want to ruin the world
     the Bogmen

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