Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deepdyve: Like iTunes for Science Papers

DeepDyve was started by two scientists who had previously worked on the Human Genome Project and in a variety of biotech companies. Their work required extensive research and access to countless data sources, yet the tools available for finding Web-based information were frustratingly limited and time-consuming. Furthermore, much of the research materials they sought were extremely expensive and beyond their companies’ budgets.

In 2005, DeepDyve was founded to make scientific, technical and medical research more easily discoverable and accessible. DeepDyve’s online research rental service delivers on this mission. Anyone interested in published research can now gain access to over 30 million articles from thousands of authoritative journals. The site, launched today, offers full-text search of scientific articles along with 99 cent downloads and a subscription service that allows fans of Clinical Chemistry to read as many stories as they’d like.

Found at TechCrunch

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Does the brain like eBooks?

The New York Times has a very interesting collection of opinion pieces on the subject from a wide array of professional "readers".

From the skeptic:
"Right now, networked digital media do a poor job of balancing focal and peripheral attention. We swing between two kinds of bad reading. We suffer tunnel vision, as when reading a single page, paragraph, or even “keyword in context” without an organized sense of the whole. Or we suffer marginal distraction, as when feeds or blogrolls in the margin of a blog let the whole blogosphere in." - Alan Liu chairman and professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara

To the advocate:
"The tools (as usual) are neutral. It’s up to us to insist that onscreen reading enhance, not replace, traditional book reading. It’s up to us to remember that the medium is not the message; that the meaning and music of the words is what matters, not the glitzy vehicle they arrive in." - David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale University

It is an excellent read and offers 5 different points of view, each eloquently presented. Worth a read.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

United States Gross National Happiness - Facebook App

Facebook has developed a new app aimed at determining "gross national happiness"--the moment-by-moment measure of glee, misery, and indifference for its 300 million daily users.
Data is collected from "public and semi-public forums" on Facebook, which is all anonymized before its analyzed. To determine if a particular status message is happy or sad (or neither), the app searches for popular phrases and words that the engineers have associated with each sentiment.

You can adjust the graph by sliding the bar at the bottom of the screen. You can also adjust the zoom by dragging the handlebars on the slider, and can actually watch happiness jump hour-to-hour, though it's a bit difficult to navigate when you're zoomed in that far. It's fun to play around with, but you aren't going to find many surprises: happiness generally hits a low on Mondays, then gradually grows up through the weekend when it drops again as the work-week begins. Peaks are all found around holidays, with Thanksgiving drawing the most happiness. Also worth nothing: this year there was an abrupt drop in happiness in late June, which is likely associated with the tragic death of Michael Jackson.

Found over at Fast Company

Academic Digital Libraries of the Future: An Environment Scan

Derek Law from the Centre for Digital Library Research at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow Scotland has written Academic Digital Libraries of the Future: An Environment Scan for the New Review of Academic Librarianship. It is available for free download for a limited time.
“Libraries are attempting to face a future in which almost every fixed point has disappeared. Users are changing; content is changing; research is taking new forms. Indeed the very need for libraries is being questioned in some quarters. This paper explores the nature of the changes and challenges facing higher education libraries and suggests key areas of strength and core activities which should be exploited to secure their future.”

Found at The Online Education Database

Monday, October 05, 2009

Gov't Printing Office drops journal prices to free and adds XML to the Federal Register

The Government Printing Office and the Office of the Federal Register just announced they're making all the "Official Journals of Government" available for free in bulk. Previous price was $17,000/year per product.

The White House, National Archives and Government Printing Office have also relaunched the online version of the Federal Register today in XML format at

Friday, October 02, 2009 A list of social sites

The explosion of the number of "social" sites has prompted the creation of, an aggregation of more than a hundred sites sorted by type and alphabetically. Handy.

Thanks Celia's