Monthly Archives: June 2012

Evernote and blended notetaking

Over the last few months, mobile computing via iPad and now iPhone has become a more frequent occurrence in my day-to-day work between the variety of meetings and the plethora of possible locations for those meetings.  While the app Pages worked well for some basic word processing, the clunky extra steps to transfer the document either via iTunes or via iWork.com quickly led me to use Evernote.  The seamless syncing of notes across platforms makes it way easier to utilize both in and out of the office.  Here are a few resources I’ve learned along the way to make this a wickedly robust notetaking resource.

Advertisements

Microsoft Academic Search

With scholarly communications on the brain, I was thrilled to learn about Microsoft Academic Search (MAS).  Building on the work of resources like Google Scholar that gathers and indexes journal articles and Scopus and Web of Science that gathers information about how and where articles are cited by other researchers, Microsoft Academic Search brings these two items together in a *free* search. MAS also enhances the information with direct organization and department scholarly output comparisons.  Some features, like the Call for Papers (CFP) Calendar, are very much in beta but would be an overwhelmingly useful tool for academics to help manage the many, many CFPs and conference submission deadlines.

To better understand my resource comparisons, I took a sample author and compared the citation results in MAS and Scopus; images of my search results appear in the slideshow below.  The author information in MAS and Scopus both listed 4 articles publications, indicating that perhaps this information was correct.  Yet, when I looked at the 4 articles listed in each, I found that MAS had a duplicate entry for one article and, therefore, completely missed a publication.  Using the Help on MAS, I could get a look at all of the publishers they are working with and could identify that the missing article was from Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Witkins.  For the health sciences, nursing, and medicine, they are a pretty major publisher so the absence of their information in MAS would be a significant hindrance.  At the same time, the openness with which Microsoft lists their sources made this tracking down easy.

At the article level, in Scopus, the article “Breast cancer disparities and decision-making among U.S. women” was cited 24 times since its publication in 2007 (although Scopus lists the default “Cited by since 1996”) and has 84 references within the paper.  In MAS, only 60 references are listed and 15 cited papers are listed.  What happened to the rest?  This may be one of the drawbacks to the *free* service.  Looking a little closer at the details, it appears that Scopus is more complete while MAS currently stops at about 2010 for its citations.  I’m guessing a similar limitation may be the issue with the references.  While the resource appears to be in a very early beta phase, may need some data corrections, and, currently, it still doesn’t seem to account for other measures of impact such as social media sharing, it looks like I have another new toy to share with faculty in the Fall….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For updates on MAS, you can stalk, er, follow them more directly @MSFTAcademic

How to Measure the Impact of Scholarship

Stemming from a conversation with one of my faculty members, I began trying to define, explain, and provide support to the concepts of impact factors or other journal/article evaluation tools.  Being a smaller, more instruction-focused campus, we don’t currently use impact factor ratings as part of the scholarship evaluation of our faculty.  However, more and more my faculty are collaborating with researchers at other institutions, so they (and I) need to know how to speak the language of modern scholarly communication.  To help expedite your questions in the area, here are a few key terms to be familiar with and tools you can use to support your curious faculty.

Impact factor

  • measures the number of citations from the average article in a journal over a span of about 2 years
  • started in the 1960s by Thompson Reuters
  • originally used as a collection development tool to help identify most popular journals for library purchasing
  • impact factor for a journal is now incorporated as a way to evaluate individual article impact, influencing where authors try to publish
  • Problem: peaked around the 1990s, as the advent and increased utilization of the internet has moved people away from using print resources and only having scholarly communication in journals
Further Readings

The Thomson Reuters Impact Factor

The Demise of the Impact Factor

The Weakening Relationship between the Impact Factor and Papers’ Citations in the Digital Age

Other Factors

Eigenfactor – “measure of the journal’s total importance to the scientific community” – aka big journals=big scores

Altmetrics – tracking system that attempts to note not just the electronic article usage in digital forms like Twitter or CiteULike, but also other information resources like datasets or blogs.  This is tough to tackle but the various tools below are starting to develop some interesting methodologies

So, like many things, the digital age, the increased retrieve-and-shareability of research is changing how we consider the value of research.  In the full circle of things, I wonder how these other metrics, particularly Altmetrics, can impact our collection development, too.  I look forward to discussing these concepts and more at the ACRL Scholarly Communications Roadshow at JMU.