Monday, December 29, 2008

JSICs TOC service

If you need to follow the academic literature in a particular field, JSIC's TOC service will be useful. Search more than 11,469 scholarly journal Tables of Content (TOCs) by Title, Publisher, or Subject. Select the journals you wish to follow, then export the TOC feeds as an opml file. Using a reader such as Google or Netvibes,  you can  create a convenient overview of the fresh TOCs from the journals of your choice. Naturally, the service is even more attractive for those who actually have full-text access to the cited articles, but if you don't this at least gives you an idea of what is on offer. Unfortunately, the subject search is primitive..a title search on "diplomacy" brings up two titles, but a subject search on the same yields nothing - an authority list of subjects would be a great improvement. A little rummaging around in the FAQs reveals that the subject categories are in fact those used by Ulrichs, but rather than provide a list of  those categories, JSICs merely provides an unhelpful link to Ulrichs.


Search for rare books from over 20,000 booksellers worldwide


In this particular instance Google books deserves some extra points for scanning everything from an 1845 edition of a Christmas Carol,  including a contemporary newspaper clipping that was pasted on the inside of the back cover. But I'm reminded once again of Baker's article "Discards," and that digital replication is not preservation.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Tech-help is bountiful on the net; I usually begin by copy-pasting an error message into Google, and many times the solution to my problem is high on the results list. For people whose Christmas cheer has been transformed into fury over a shiny new gadget that won't work, this article from the NYT about where to find help will be useful.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New blog compendium doesn't blow our cover

There's a new compendium of library blogs called "Libworld -library blogging worldwide" You can download it as a pdf, or buy the paperback at Its authors, Germans Christian Hauschke, Nadine Ullmann, Sarah Lohre describe it thus:

On April, 23rd 2007 a series of postings started on, where guest authors from all over the world introduced the library and library related blogs of their own country. This book is a collection of 30 revised LibWorld articles, accompanied by a foreword by Walt Crawford. Included are articles about the blogosphere of: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malawi, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, USA.

The book is more a description of the library blogosphere in these various countries than a comprehensive list. Nonetheless, I would like to thank the authors for taking into consideration the bandwidth concerns voiced by Google (who own and manage the servers),  and for honoring our request that Knowbodies not be mentioned in the book. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Word frequency in the Congressional Record

Capitol Words visualizes word frequency in the Congressional Record. You can generate word usage frequency maps for particular words, lawmakers,  time spans or states. You can also compare the usage frequency of two words, e.g. "Iraq" and "Afghanistan"

Unfortunately, you cannot search for phrases like "information technology" (instead of telling you that up front,  the system simply joins your terms by deleting whatever spaces you type in the submission form - I hope this is not a new form of user friendliness). A search for the word "islam" shows the 10 most avid users of the word to be Republicans, with Peter Hoekstra topping the list. To see what else he's talking about, you can create a tagcloud like the one on the right. You can monitor word usage by current Congress, year, or interesting way to see which way the winds are blowing. The tag cloud below shows Hillary Clinton's most frequently used words.