Schwerdtfeger Library News -- September 2004

Schwerdtfeger Library News - December 2004

By Jean Phillips, Librarian

Library to Cancel Nature Magazine

The Schwerdtfeger Library is planning to cancel its print subscription to Nature Magazine for 2005. The cost to subscribe to Nature has escalated over the past few years so that for 2005, it would cost $1526 for the weekly journal, nearly three times that of its counterpart, Science Magazine. Nature is available electronically to the campus and in print at a number of other campus libraries. The contents of Nature are also provided to you via Current Contents every week.

Below is a chart comparing the subscription costs and percent change over the previous year, of Science (published by the society, AAAS), and Nature (published by Nature Publishing, a for-profit organization):

Science Cost
Nature Cost
% Change

If you have any questions, please contact me.

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"Quick Search" or "Words Anywhere" Option in MadCat

The campus libraries are currently testing a "Quick Search" option in MadCat. You'll find it just above the other search options on the MadCat screen. The search is the same as the Guided Keyword "all of these" option where all terms entered are searched in all searchable fields, regardless of order. You can use initial articles -- something you cannot do in the Basic title search and which continues to be a problem for searchers.

A few disadvantages of the Quick Search option:

  • you cannot use the words "and" or "or" in construction of your search phrase
  • since all fields are searched, you could get lots of hits -- all displayed in author order, not in any type of relevance order
  • once you've done a search, a new search will send you to the Guided Search screen because what you've essentially just done is a disguised Guided Search
  • only the last search is kept in Search History.

For more control of search construction and results, go directly to the Guided Search mode or if you know the exact title of the item, go to the Basic Search option.


Did you know...

...that books requested from other libraries on campus can be delivered to the Schwerdtfeger Library? To place a request, you'll need to log on to your MadCat account using your last name and ID number. Follow the directions for recalling an item or retrieving from the shelf. Finally, select the Schwerdtfeger Library as the "pickup location." You'll be notified via e-mail when the book can be picked up.

Please let us know if you need help using this system, requesting items not available on campus or have questions in general about using library-based tools.

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Google Scholar

The last few weeks have been abuzz with news about the release of Google Scholar, Google's search engine that focuses on scholarly materials. It's an interesting development and one to be tested and watched for sure, but here are some of my concerns:

  • Google does not provide a definition of what is considered scholarly so as a searcher we don't know how materials are included or excluded nor is Google willing to list participating publishers/groups.
  • the results of many searches point to articles or texts that can only be seen for a fee, with a subscription or for other reasons, cannot be retrieved. In most cases you can see a free abstract. In these instances you'll be directed to contact your university library to see if they have a license or subscription.
  • it is unclear how Google Scholar tracks citation information. To find out how often your paper has been cited, please continue to use Science Citation Index, the gold standard for this type of information.
  • another issue to watch is the consistency of the database and by that I mean there is variability in coverage so that on one day an article might appear in your search results, and on the next it might not. This is because as links are harvested and added by Google some are dropped. Libraries have reported as much as a 10% variation from one day to the next in the number of pages returned (STS-L, Science and Technology Section, ACRL). This is a concern because scholarly literature is not defined as "scholarly" because of its popularity; it's defined as scholarly because of content, and should, therefore, always be accessible.
  • the bulk of scholarly literature which is indexed in proprietary, discipline or subject specific databases, with very public and rigorous standards, is not included in Google Scholar. A recent article in Online Magazine (November/December 2004, pp30-34) talks about the content of these databases becoming the new "gray literature" as web searchers prefer one-stop searching to searching multiple resources -- at the expense of missing important material.

See also, Péter Jacsó's review of Google Scholar. The development of Google Scholar should be treated as an additional tool (in Beta form) but not one that replaces existing scholarly research tools.

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New E-Books and Reports

Gender Issues: Women's Participation in the Sciences Has Increased, but Agencies Need to Do More to Ensure Compliance with Title IX. GAO-04-639, July 22, 2004.

An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century. Final Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The Commission, 2004 (pre-publication copy).

Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites: Information on Program Cost and Schedule Changes. Government Accounting Office, 2004.

Solar and Space Physics and its Role in Space Exploration. National Academies Press, 2004.