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November 23, 2004 New tool for creating RSS Feeds

From will take virtually any web site and convert it into a RSS feed, suitable for use in web pages or RSS news readers. FeedFire is a sophisticated solution that is simple to use, yet powerful, completely automated and customisable. No feed available from the page you would like to syndicate? Easily turn that page into a RSS feed, with no programming knowledge or experience needed.

Posted by Sherri at 7:11 AM

The Distant Librarian: How to make Google Scholar work for the distance students

A very interesting posting by Paul Pival (The Distant Librarian) about introducing Google Scholar to their EZProxy server at the University of Calgary. And even more enticing are his ideas about working with Google to create a more streamlined GS/EZProxy interface for remote and distance users.

How to make Google Scholar work for the distance students

Posted by Sherri at 6:46 AM

November 19, 2004

Google Scholar . . . Yahoo/OCLC Toolbar . . . widgets and gadgets - OH MY!

There certainly has been a flurry of activity on the library listervs and blogs these past fews days concerning the launch of Google Scholar and the Yahoo/OCLC Toolbar. Much of the discussion has focussed on whether new cool tools like this will put libraries and librarians 'out of business.' I'll skirt that debate and instead pass on links of interest so that you can test these things out for yourself.

Google Scholar Firefox search plugin (from BioMed Central)

BioMed has posted a Firefox extension for Google scholar. This will be added to the serch box options in the top right hand corner of the browser window.

Google Scholar Bookmarklet
Paul Pival at the University of Calgary has done some tweaking and made a Google Scholar Bookmarklet that you can use to search GS directly from your browser toolbar. There are two flavours:

Mozilla / Firefox: Google Scholar

IE: Google Scholar

Just drag them to your toolbar and start searching!

Yahoo Toolbar
OCLC and Yahoo! have offered up a free joint toolbar that provides one-click access to Open WorldCat as well as Yahoo! Search's Web search engine. At this point, the toolbar only works with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. A whirligig
OCLC logo to the extreme left on the toolbar clicks to a subset of Open WorldCat (currently 2 million of the 57 million records available in the full WorldCat, reflecting the holdings of some 9,000 libraries).

Download the Toolbar

Posted by Sherri at 3:27 PM

November 18, 2004

Google Scholar Launched Today

The new Google Scholar search service aimed at the academic crowd was launched today. The free beta service allows users to search for scholarly literature like peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports. Google Scholar will NOT be linked from the main Google page (I'm not quite sure why that is).

Some question the value of Google Scholar vs. Real Scholarship. Gary Price has posted a review of what you can see/do/find with Google Scholar. Here are a few highlights:

+ Material accessible via Google Scholar can also be in the main Google index.

+ Google Scholar results pages *will not contain advertising* -- at least for now.

+ Some examples of material from major publishers whose material you'll find (we know Google has been working with many)? Google will not provide us with a complete list, but look for content from ACM, IEEE, and yes, Open Worldcat material from OCLC. We also don't know precisely what is and is not available, date ranges, etc. *In some cases Google will be crawling and searching the full text of an article but users will either have to have a subscription to the content or pay for access to an individual articles.

+ VERY COOL! For many citations, you'll find a direct link to other articles in the Google Scholar database that cite the article you've selected. Yes, Google Scholar is a citation database too! This reminds me of two specialized databases that focus on specific types of scholarly content accessible on the open web that have been online for many years and remain EXCELLENT tools.

Posted by Sherri at 9:59 AM

November 17, 2004

BioMed Central creates search plugin for Firefox

BioMed Central has created a search plugin for the Mozilla Firefox browser.

"The BioMed Central search plugin for Firefox adds BioMed Central to the list of search engines that are available in the quick search box at the top right of every Firefox browser window. Installing the plugin takes only seconds."

Posted by Sherri at 3:58 PM

November 11, 2004

Article: What is RSS and how can it serve libraries?

An interesting article on how rss can be used in libraries by Zeki Celikbas. It begins by providing a concise introduction to the history of rss and what exactly it is. It then goes on to explain how to find rss feeds, how to market rss in libraries, and some possible applications for rss in the library (such as current awareness TOC services, rss to improve reference service, and so on).

What is RSS and how can it serve libraries? (PDF)

Posted by Sherri at 9:48 AM

November 10, 2004

RSS Feeds from

The U.S. Department of State currently has 4 RSS feeds available:

State Department homepage highlights
Press briefings
Press releases
Remarks by the Secretary of State

There is also a blog out there called RSS in Government which offers frequent updates on the use of RSS within various (United States) government sites.

And for government resources outside of the United States, the Government of Canada also has a list of numerous feeds available at the Choose Your News page. The newest addition is a Hurricane RSS Feed.

Posted by Sherri at 4:16 PM

November 8, 2004

Electronic Journal Titles with RSS Feeds

The University of Saskatchewan Library has published a comprehensive list of journal titles with RSS feeds. You can browse the A-Z list and locate journals by title in various subject areas.

As I had suspected, many if not most of these titles are scienctific in nature. The humanities and social sciences are, for the most part, not adopting RSS nearly as readily as their colleagues in the sciences. This is a great project, however, and I'm sure that the list will grow as more and more publishers realize the value of RSS.

Posted by Sherri at 11:08 AM

November 2, 2004

The buzzz . . . (or new stuff you need to know about!)

Here is a list of the stuff that people were 'buzzing' about at the Access 2004 conference.

Posted by Sherri at 4:58 PM

Access 2004 Conference: a brief report

I had the opportunity to Attend the Access 2004: Beyond Buzzwords conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia from October 13-16. If you haven't heard of the Access Conference before, it's probably because it's relatively new (I believe this was the 10th), and it's a Canadian conference for library geeks techies. This year, however, there was a huge contingent of folks from the US and even some from the UK and Brussels.

Access is unlike many library conferences in that it is highly technical, and probably about half of the attendees are not 'librarians,' per se, but people working in technical services within libraries (programmers, etc). One of the big draws at Access is Hackfest, which is a kind of preconference that has gained somewhat of a cult following. The idea is to design, program, and even deploy a concept or prototype that is submitted to the Hackfest organizers in advance. I attended and worked with the team that developed a script to scrape TOCs from electronic journals.

The presentations were exceptional, but unfortunately, Clifford Lynch, the keynote speaker scheduled on the last day of the conference, was unable to make it in to Halifax from Boston because of fog (in both places!) All of the presentations are available on the speakers page. Some of the notable presentations were:

Posted by Sherri at 3:38 PM