Tales from the Terminal Room

February 2013, Issue No. 108

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Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
February 2013, Issue No. 108
Editor: Karen Blakeman
Published by: RBA Information Services


Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is an electronic newsletter that includes reviews and comparisons of information sources; useful tools for managing information; technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications. Many of the articles will have already appeared on Karen Blakeman's Blog at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/

Tales from the Terminal Room can be delivered via email as plain text or as a PDF with active links. You can join the distribution list by going to http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml and filling in the form. You will be sent an email asking you to confirm that you want to be added to the list. TFTTR is also available as an RSS feed. The URL for the feed is http://www.rba.co.uk/rss/tfttr.xml


In this issue:

  • Search tools
    • Tweets from the past
  • Search Strategies new and updated articles
  • Top Tips for finding research information
  • Twitter notes
  • Forthcoming workshops and meetings


Search tools

Tweets from the past

Embarrassed by some of your first tweets from 2007? Wish you hadn't got involved in that drunken virtual brawl on Twitter last Christmas? There was a time when you could safely assume that those ramblings would be lost in the mists of Twitter's archive never to be seen again. A search on Twitter would only give the last few days worth of postings and Google no longer archives the whole of Twitter. True, the Library of Congress does keep copies of every single tweet for posterity but access is only allowed for serious research purposes. So far, the Library has received about 400 inquiries but has not yet been able to provide access (http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2013/01/update-on-the-twitter-archive-at-the-library-of-congress/). So you can breathe easily again? Unfortunately not.

There are commercial organisations such as Datasift (http://datasift.com/) and Gnip (http://gnip.com/) that charge an arm and a leg for analysing tweets and other social media comments, but the cost puts their services out of the reach of the casual searcher. You may find, though, that your forthright hashtagged tweets at a conference have been recorded for all to see free of charge (Sharing (or Over-Sharing?) at #ILI2012, http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/sharing-or-over-sharing-at-ili2012/). And Twitter, itself, is finally providing access to historical tweets.

You can now download your entire collection. Go to your Twitter home page, click on the cog wheel in the upper right hand corner and select settings.

At the bottom of the Settings page is a link to request your archive.

You should receive an email a few minutes later with a download link. The file is zipped and once you have unpacked it you can browse your tweets by year and month or search the archive using keywords or hashtags.

I have not been able to work out how often you are allowed to download your archive and, rather annoyingly, there is no top-up option.

Twitter also runs searches on its entire archive – sort of. There is no obvious date option at the moment, not even under advanced search, so it is appears to be all or nothing, and it does not give you everything straightaway. I thought I would have a look at the tweets on Internet Librarian International 2009, hashtag #ili2009, and was surprised that there seemed to be so few. I scrolled down to the bottom of the results and saw “You've reached the end of the Top Tweets for #ili2009? with a link to “View all tweets”. Twitter then loaded the remaining tweets as I continued to scroll down the page. About Top Tweets Twitter says:

“We've built an algorithm that finds the Tweets that have caught the attention of other users. Top Tweets will refresh automatically and are surfaced for popularly-retweeted subjects based on this algorithm. We do not hand-select Top Tweets.”

There are also links at the top of the results page that enable you to view Top, All, and tweets from just ‘People you follow'.

There are in fact advanced search commands that can be used to include a date range in your search (see https://support.twitter.com/articles/71577 for details). Changing my search to #ili2009 since:2009-10-01 until:2009-10-31 did seem to work. I am not convinced, though, that Twitter is giving me everything, even when I choose ‘All'. It's a start and long overdue, but I'm not going to abandon my own archiving strategies just yet.

Search Strategies: new and updated articles

Two free fact sheets, Google Search Tips (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/GoogleSearchTips.shtml) and Top Search Tips (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/TopSearchTips.shtml) have been updated. They are both available as HTML and PDFs.

A new article is available in the subscribers' area of Search Strategies . “Free Search Tools for Finding Research Information” is a 42 page PDF covering five things you need to know about Google, advanced searching in Google, alternative web search tools, institutional repositories and specialist tools. If you do not wish to purchase an annual subscription for the whole of Search Strategies this article is available for £5.99. See http://www.rba.co.uk/search/ResearchInformationTools.shtml for further details.

Sections of the article are also available separately to subscribers in HTML and PDF format:

Advanced search commands for finding research information (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/AdvancedSearchResearchInfo.shtml) (Created 17th February 2013)

Google Scholar (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/GoogleScholar.shtml) (Created 11th February 2013)

Institutional repositories (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/ir.shtml) (Created 23rd January 2013)

Mendeley as a search tool for research papers (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/mendeley.shtml) (Created January 9th, 2013)

Microsoft Academic Search (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/MicrosoftAcademicSearch.shtml) (Created February 12th, 2013)

Science Search Tools (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/ScienceSearchTools.shtml) (Created February 13th 2013)

Scirus (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/subscribers/scirus.shtml) (Created January 10th, 2013)

Details on how to purchase and order a subscription are available on the Search Strategies purchase page (http://www.rba.co.uk/search/purchase.shtml)

Top Tips for Finding Research Information

This week I was in Canterbury leading a workshop and discussion on Google and Google Scholar for finding research information. Although the emphasis was on Google we also covered other specialist tools designed to search for scientific and research information. We also had an interesting discussion on h-index, other citation indices and services such as ORCID and ResearchGate. The slides for the session are available on authorSTREAM (http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1706478-google-scholar-research-information/), Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/KarenBlakeman/scholar-research-information) and temporarily at http://www.rba.co.uk/as/.

Anyone who has attended one of my workshops knows that I ask the group to propose at the end of the session their top tips. These are the Canterbury group's top 10 tips.

1. What's going on?
Try and find out what's going on behind the scenes and how the different search tools work. For example, Google and Google Scholar are quite different in the way they manage your search. Understanding how they operate means that you can adapt your search strategy accordingly and also manage your expectations; for example Google Scholar does not use the publishers' meta data so author and date search are unreliable.

2. Personalisation and ‘unpersonalisation'
Google personalises your search based on past activity, who is in your social networks,and a whole host of other ‘stuff'. You can quickly ‘unpersonalise' your results by using a separate browser window that does not use cookies or your web history as part of the search algorithm.

If you use Chrome as your browser, open what is called an incognito window. In the top right hand corner of your screen there is an icon with three lines. Click on it and from the drop down menu select New incognito window. Alternatively press the Ctrl Shift N keys on your keyboard

If you use Firefox, from the menu at the top of the screen select Tools followed by Start Private Browsing.

In Internet Explorer select Tools followed by InPrivate Browsing. If you cannot see InPrivate under Tools try looking under the Safety option.

3. Advanced search commands
Use Google advanced commands such as filetype: to focus on PDFs, presentations, spreadsheets containing data and site: to look for information on just one site or a range of sites such as UK government. Although the advanced search screen has boxes for you to fill in for the commands the file format or filetype option is limited. It does not include options for the newer Microsoft Office formats such as .pptx and xlsx. Use filetype: as part of your search strategy, for example:

nasa dark energy dark matter filetype:pptx

Google Scholar commands are more limited – see slide 28 of the presentation.

4. intext:
Google automatically looks for variations on your terms and sometimes omits words from your search if it thinks the number of results is too low. Prefixing a term with intext: tells Google that it must be included in your search and exactly as you have typed it in. For example:

UK public transport intext:biodiesel statistics

tells Google that biodiesel must be included in the search and exactly as typed in.

5. Reading Level
Use Reading level if Google is failing to return any research oriented documents for a query. Run the search and from the menu above the results select Search tools , All results and then from the drop menu Reading level . Options for switching between basic, intermediate and advanced reading levels should then appear just above the results. Google does not give much away as to how it calculates the reading level and it has nothing to do with the reading age that publishers assign to publications. It seems to involve an analysis of sentence structure, the length of sentences, the length of the document and whether scientific or industry specific terminology appears in the page.

6. Date options
In Google web search, use the date options in the menus at the top of the results page to restrict your results to information that has been published within the last hour, day, week, month, year or your own date range. Click on Search tools , then Any time and select an option. This works best with news, discussion boards, and blogs and web sites that use blogging software to generate pages but Google is getting better at identifying the correct date of a web page.

Google Scholar handles publication dates differently. On the results page you can select a date range from the menu on the left hand of the page. Alternatively, you can run a Google advanced search and enter your publication years. However, Google Scholar looks for publication years in the area of the document where the date is most likely to be. As a result it may identify a page number or part of an author's address as a year!

7. Google Scholar alerts
Use with caution as the searches periodically stop without warning, and so have to be set up again, and they sometimes include documents that are several years old. Whatever your search you can set up an alert by selecting Create alert from the menu on the left hand side of the results page.

If the author has created a profile on Google Scholar, from their profile page you can follow new articles and/or new citations for that author. From past experience I warn you that this is not entirely reliable.

8. Metrics – top publications
Although it claims to search all scholarly literature, Google Scholar does not always cover all of the key journals in a subject area. There is no complete source list but there is a top publications for subjects and languages under the ‘Metrics' link in the upper right hand corner of the Scholar home page.

9. Microsoft Academic Search – visualisations
Microsoft Academic Search (http://academic.research.microsoft.com/) is a direct competitor to Google Scholar. The site is sometimes slow to load and it often assigns authors to the wrong institution. Nevertheless, the visualisations such as the co-author and citation maps can be useful in identifying who else is working in a particular area of research. The visualisations can be accessed by clicking on the Citation Graph image to the left of the search results or author profile.

 

10. Mednar visual
Deep Web Technologies has developed in conjunction with various institutions a number of science and research specific portals, some of which are publicly available. The sources that they cover are different but they all have similar search and display options. Results are automatically ranked by relevance but this can be changed to date, title or author. In addition to the standard relevance ranked list of results the portals create clusters of topics on the left hand side of the screen. The topics include broad subject headings, authors, publications, publishers, and year of publication and are a useful tool for narrowing down a search. Some of the portals, such as Mednar (http://mednar.com/), offer a clickable ‘visual' of topics and sub-topics.

Twitter Notes

The following are some of my recent tweets and retweets. They are selected because they contain links to resources or announcements that may be of general interest. I have unshortened the shortened URLs.

2nd February

RT @ CharlesOppenh Interesting outcome to Google's legal dispute with French newspaper groups. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21302168

4th February

Use Google Image Search to look for the pic you tweeted of a breaking news, if it shows up on a news website, get paid! http://www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide/index.php?language=en&country=UK&section=Photography

6th February

Eric Schmidt: Google Will Give Higher Rankings to Content Tied to Verified Profiles - Search Engine Watch http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2241704/Eric-Schmidt-Google-Will-Give-Higher-Rankings-to-Content-Tied-to-Verified-Profiles

RT @ninfield: RIP..The cookie law is ‘dead' | News | .net magazine http://www.netmagazine.com/news/cookie-law-dead-132540

RT @zillman More People Taking Breaks From Facebook. Time To Worry? http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2013/02/05/more-people-taking-breaks-from-facebook-time-to-worry/ << same rate of failure as giving up smoking?

7th February

MT @damyantipatel 'Early career researchers may be disadvantaged under the gold model of open access' (via THE) http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=422610&c=1

Times Higher Education - RCUK takes open-access green targets off fast track http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=422609&c=1

RT @LibraryCamp http://docutu.be/ A blog dedicated to documentaries available on YouTube. Bookmark it for a rainy day

MT @theREALwikiman: Guide to using Twitter for academic research. It's embedded here: http://subjectguides.york.ac.uk/content.php?pid=355240&sid=2905371 (bottom left)

12th February

MT @briankelly Use of 3rd-Party Research Repository Services (ResearchGate seems v. popular across Russell Group http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/profiling-use-of-third-party-research-repository-services/

14th February

RT @ Marketingland : Microsoft's “Scroogled” Campaign Against Gmail Wins 0.002% Of Users by @ dannysullivan http://marketingland.com/microsoft-scroogled-campaign-against-gmail-33471

15th February

Analysis of last nights twitter reaction to #bbcqt with @georgegalloway @marycreagh_mp @susankramer & @frasernelson http://jimanning.com/bbcqt14feb/

19th Feburary

Oh - dear, no more work today! MT @Philbradley: Opening themes: for TV shows! This does exactly what it says on the tin http://www.openingthemes.tv/

20th February

"Weapons of math destruction" Teacher Arrested at JFK http://johnjudyc.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/teacher-arrested-at-jfk.html This has been doing the rounds for years but I still love it especially the last sentence

RT @ijclark: My article on the digital divide across Europe for @InfoTodayEU http://www.infotoday.eu/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=87822&PageNum=1

21st February

RT @InfoTodayEu Thomson Reuters revises methodology for identifying highly-cited researchers - Research Information http://www.researchinformation.info/news/news_story.php?news_id=1128

RT @briankelly Naming Conventions for Institutional Repositories: Lessons from CORE (is your institution's name hidden http://ukwebfocus.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/naming-conventions-for-institutional-repositories-lessons-from-core/

MT @libram iScienceSearch is a search tool for scientists that want to search for chemical data on the Internet http://www.isciencesearch.com/

22nd February

Times Higher Education - Peers lament open access 'confusion' http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=422775&c=1

25th February

"We're so well educated – but we're useless" guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/mortarboard/2013/feb/25/well-educated-but-useless

27th February

RT @dannysullivan: Is The Google+ “Spam-Free” Sign-In Really That Different From Facebook? http://marketingland.com/google-sign-in-facebook-34698

MT @stephendale A guide to the law. A must-read for Tweeps who think injunctions don't apply to social media! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20782257

Forthcoming workshops and meetings

Workshop: Introduction to Business Research
Date: Thursday 18th April, 2013
Venue: London
Organiser: TFPL
Presenter: Karen Blakeman
Outline : This course provides an introduction to many areas of business research including statistics, official company information, market information, biographical information and news sources. It will cover explanations of the jargon and terminology, regulatory issues, assessing the quality of information, primary and secondary sources.
URL: http://www.tfpl.com/services/coursedesc.cfm?id=TR1116&pageid=-9&cs1=&cs2=f

Workshop: Business Information: Key Web Resources
Date: Friday 19th April, 2013
Venue: London
Organiser: TFPL
Presenter: Karen Blakeman
Outline: This workshop looks in more detail at the resources that are available for different types of information, alerting services and free vs. fee. It also covers search strategies for tracking down industry, market and corporate reports.
URL: http://www.tfpl.com/services/coursedesc.cfm?id=TR945&pageid=-9&cs1=&cs2=f

Workshop: How to Make Google behave: techniques for better results
Date: Tuesday, 30th April 2013
Venue: Manchester
Organiser: UKeiG
Presenter: Karen Blakeman
Outline: Having problems with Google? Fed up with it ignoring your search terms and giving you something completely different? Personalisation, localisation, social networks and semantic search are all being used by Google in an attempt to improve relevance but it can all go horribly wrong. Austria suddenly becomes Australia and your search for goat's cheese turns into identifying different species of buttercups! Nevertheless, just one really good result in the top five is often enough to persuade us to return to Google again and again. There are many tricks we can use to make Google return better results and this workshop will look in detail at the options that are currently available to us.
URL: http://www.ukeig.org.uk/trainingevent/make-google-behave-techniques-better-results-karen-blakeman

TFTTR Contact Information

Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
Twittername: @karenblakeman (http://twitter.com/karenblakeman)
UK Tel: 0118 947 2256, Int. Tel: +44 118 947 2256
Address: 88 Star Road, Caversham, Berks RG4 5BE, UK

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Tales from the Terminal Room by Karen Blakeman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported License.
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This page was last updated on February 28th, 2013 Copyright © 2013 Karen Blakeman.