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iSchoolResearch

News and tips from the Drexel University Libraries relating to the iSchool.

Professsional Associations - Personal Background

When faculty member Linda Marion invited me to speak to her introductory class of new library students about my professional affiliations I had to ponder what angle to take. I say that only because, aside from being a consistent Special Libraries Assn (SLA) member, my other affiliations have been all over the map. Is that the kind of example you want to pose to new students? Does it reflect poorly on me - all that jumping around? Does it reflect poorly on the associations - that they didn't work out for me? It was hard to say where the conversation would go. But in the end, a half hour seemed to pass quickly without anyone looking too offended, myself included. ... continue

It helped that my colleague Alison Lewis, Humanities and Social Science Librarian, was there to offer a contrasting experience and comment on some of my own overly broad generalizations.

What follows is more or less what I can recall of my remarks. Feel free to respond if anything inspires you to comment or ask a question.

Favorite grad student research project ...

When this story first appeared in the NY Times I had yet another opportunity to marvel at all the energy expended by graduate students doing their term projects. God bless them! Just think if we could harness that energy somehow so that the byproduct would benefit charitable organizations. I guess that's more or less what happens with the legal clinics, ER room interns and small business development centers (SBDC's) that various universities operate.

But when it's a lone researcher digging up these sorts of stories on their own, I have special affection for their stories.

Below is the introductory snippet from the NY Times and the last few paragraphs that tell more about the student. For the full-text Drexel users who have signed into our "Times Select" subscription in the past can follow this link. (For info on our NYTimes Select sub see: LINK

September 1, 2006
Education Dept. Shared Student Data With F.B.I.

By JONATHAN D. GLATER

The Federal Education Department shared personal information on hundreds of student loan applicants with the Federal Bureau of Investigation across a five-year period that began after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the agencies said yesterday.

Under the program, called Project Strikeback, the Education Department received names from the F.B.I. and checked them against its student aid database, forwarding information. Each year, the Education Department collects information from 14 million applications for federal student aid.

Neither agency would say whether any investigations resulted. The agencies said the program had been closed. The effort was reported yesterday by a graduate student, Laura McGann, at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, as part of a reporting project that focused on national security and civil liberties.

Mapping world statistics ... proportionally

This might be cool for those hard-to-impress high school students who always do better with pictures than lists of numbers (as is true for most everyone else as well.)

"What if there were maps that showed information about countries in terms other than land mass? Worldmapper (http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/worldmapper/) does just that. It has cartograms, or specialized maps, that re-size countries according to variables like population, GDP, number of passenger cars, etc.

TRAILS—Tool for Real-Time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills

TRAILS is a federally funded project to create a tool for library media specialists and teachers to assess the information literacy skills of their high school students. TRAILS first went live in spring 2006 and was refined this summer. It is now available in its expanded form.

The Juvenile Collection @ Drexel

Some of you who know me from around campus may be aware of the early reader in my life. Without going into too many personal details, suffice it to say that a healthy reading culture is evolving at our house over the past few years. We have advanced through picture-only books, lots of counting and alphabet books, through opposites, colors and that sort of basic concept work, and now enjoy anything that has between a sentence to a paragraph on each page.

Safari: new code search + custom textbooks

Okay - *now* I see the folks at Safari doing something creative with all that electronic content they have. I like the way the O'Reilly Labs guys described it:

"Code Search, lets you search through the more than 2.6 million lines of example code from almost 700 O'Reilly books. You can limit your search to a particular book, a particular category (e.g. Perl, or Java), or a particular author."

Web of Science saved searches

Okay, time to put on my book-geek hat! I just recieved my first alert after setting up a "saved search" on the newly upgraded Thomson Web of Science platform. If you are among those who make a hobby of watching this platform closely, especially during the past year, you will have noticed upgrades arriving with suprprising regularity -every 4 to 6 months it seems. Which is all good news for users...

Safari Tech Books - new interface

From the good people at Proquest comes this news about their long overdue upgrades to the Safari e-book platform interface and feature set. Aside from faster loading and more attractive screens, I find most features to be the same aside from incorporating Amazon reviews and links to other popular books in a selected category, as determined by Amazon selling position. Anyway - let me know what you think!

=====begin proquest email =====

ProQuest is pleased to announce the release of Safari 5.0. The new interface will be available on August 19, 2006.

This release brings a new look and feel to the interface along with improved search capabilities. Search functionality will remain the same so users will still have the ability to keyword and code fragment search. The interface includes the following enhancements:

"Trekkie" HCI video + new HCI encyclopedias

Hi -

It's not everyday I pick up work-related ideas from science fiction. But HCI in particular has received lots of inspiration over the years from the Star Trek series with concepts such as the "tri-quarter" the "holodeck" and the sleek navigation consoles on their bridge. ...more...

Impressions of SLA Baltimore Conference 2006

As an afterthought it seems to make sense to cross-post my entry on the DU SLA Student Chapter blog over to this one - just to keep everything in one place. I will preface my remarks by saying that while I've attended several SLA conferences as a day-tripper, this was the first time I stayed for the duration. The glamor of three days marching around the Baltimore Convention Center with so many other librarians, all wearing sensible shoes! ; ) Seriously - I enjoyed myself like a kid in a candy shop.

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