Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The end of Fall quarter 2005

Fall always starts out with such a loud roar and then becomes this pitiful mewling by this time of year.

The last question I got was fetching a journal article from the (locked) Math library. Before that I was looking for moons of Saturn.

I'm going to get to use my blogs (and the kitchen sink) presentation with an English class next quarter. That should be loads of fun.

Looks like I'm going to start developing a discussion section to accompany Chemistry 111 next year! I'm so thrilled.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Science desk and L-net

I got the wackiest questions online last night

- "i need some info. about the gods and what would happen if they were pleased and what would happen if they were displeased with the city-state"

- Phillipino christmas decorations and recipes for traditional foods that weren't too "fancy"

- High and low temperatures recorded on Earth

- Biographical information on Jean-Paul Marat. [My mother would be so pleased!]

And then in person we had a book that was supposed to be here, but wasn't on the shelf (we found it!), a patron apologizing for referring to me as intelligent, carpet being installed and no public computers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Standing in front of CIS 110

It makes me nervous to stand in front of a class and blog.
Folks seem pretty bored already.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A surprisingly busy Wednesday

*More printer questions
*Anatomy of pregnant women or questions about midwifery.
*A misplaced Atlas
*Real email reference questions. Found the article under "Mise en evidence d'une tectonique majeure du Jurassique superieur (phase nevadienne) dans le Nord-Est de l'Oregon (secteur d'Huntington)" but not under its translated title, "Evidence for a major tectonic episode in the Upper Jurassic (Nevadan Phase) of the Huntington area."
*Supralaryngal vocal sounds that birds make.
*A misplaced, misfilled ILL.
and then a whole bunch of nothing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday at the desk

Pretty slow today
*Printer issues abound. Do we have a color printer? Do we have more paper for the printer?
ho. hum.
*Found our limited run of a journal that is now mostly at OIMB. Have to remember that Sci Desk can also mean that back room.

We have more and more new furniture. It looks pretty nice. We have a very cool table in that back room. Looks like a benzene ring. How fitting.

Oh. And, I wrote down the time for the class that I've been preparing for incorrectly. I'm all dressed up and no place to go. Next week, I get to try again. Thank goodness for 2nd chances.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday November 21, 2005

*Someone looking for a Geological Society of America. Bulletin from the 1930s.
*A person trying to get into SciFinder Scholar. Showed them Inspec, as a start.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

* Several more iron oxalate questions, must be due soon.
* Recently folks have been interested in birds of all kinds, like ducks and crows
* Then there was the behavior of squirrels and humans. Turns out searching for squirrel under their latin names was the key to getting decent results.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

chemistry, et al.

*when using APA for citations, please note that et al. is used after the 6th author.
*What is the viscosity of sorbitol at room temperature? [Couldn't find this, but did know where to look for organic compounds and what one was!]
*In excel, do I get the words to not spill out of the cell and then get cut off? [Years of excel contortions helped answer that one easily!]

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

I was staffing both L-net, the statewide virtual reference desk and the real one here in Science. Questions have been intermixed to protect the innocent.

Looking into getting a concealed weapon permit. Please send form or other address to find out more.

An article on carpal tunnel syndrome from 2003.

Lots of annoying questions about the revolutionary war.

What kinds of plants are in the ocean?

Lost cards, books from other libraries, geneaology. It was pretty busy....

Friday, November 11, 2005

iron oxalate

The question about iron oxalate has come up for Victoria and Dean.

I found the following article for several patrons:
"Doping of emeraldine base with the monovalent bridging iron oxalate ions and their transformation into nanostructured conducting polymer composites" in Acta Materialia

Victoria, who was able to log onto SciFinder (and knows how to search like no one's business) found something different:
Olmsted, John, III. Preparation and analysis of potassium tris(oxalato)ferrate(III) trihydrate: a general chemistry experiment. Journal of Chemical Education (1984), 61(12), 1098-9. CODEN: JCEDA8 ISSN:0021-9584. CAN 102:45133 AN 1985:45133 CAPLUS

This one too, but it was less helpful
Dallinger, Richard F. Synthesis and characterization of potassium tris(oxalato)ferrate(III) trihydrate: a spectrophotometric method of iron analysis. Journal of Chemical Education (1995), 72(10), 936. CODEN: JCEDA8 ISSN:0021-9584. CAN 123:313034 AN 1995:881184 CAPLUS

Other questions today have included
*Why is the photocopying machine only getting half a page?
*How do I search inside these journals?
*What does shelved by title mean?
*Do we have journal X (we share it now with OSU, but older copies are in Knight)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Questions from the desk

Karen Munro points out the following in her Nov 7, 05 posting:
"Interestingly, our library just issued an annual report profiling the reference services here in Knight Library. They used real, live reference questions submitted by us (the librarians) as examples of the kind of work we do here. Some of those questions were taken from this very blog! I guess that more or less settles the issue of how we feel about making patrons' requests public."

So, here are some questions from the past few days:
*How do I find this journal? Asked in a variety of ways, shapes and forms.
*Science Direct doesn't let me register. What should I do? [GRRRR. Isn't there some way to let patrons know that they have to sign in from]
*In our chemistry lab on the use and preparation of iron oxalate we have an equation that we have to balance. Our lab TA said that the correct answer was in an article in the Science Library. We've tried Google Scholar and some of the NLM sites and we can't find it. [I tried Sci Finder Scholar, and couldn't get on, of course. But, INSPEC worked. Go figure. Those wacky physicists.]
*How do I print? Can I print later?
*Where is the photocopy machine? Where are the other photocopy machines, as there is a line for the single working one.
*I'm an artist and I want to understand the science of light (and color, too). [The call number range starts QC355....]

Friday, September 16, 2005

More tricks with EndNote

JSTOR makes exporting/importing into EN easy.

Procite (I'm using Ethnic newswatch) is proving tricky. Ok. Well, look at this cool trick from NYU.

It doesn't actually prompt you to find the library, you have to know that's why it's giving you a finder screen.

yee haw!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

EndNote for OS 10.4

I'm trying to import some records from our catalog into EndNote 8, on my new Mac running OS 10.4. And, it's not working.

I've tried following the directions on Katy's page:


I've tried this on Safari, Mozilla and Firefox.

Do I need to download the EN 8 filter? There isn't one needed for the Mac version.

Ok. I tried downloading a new Innopac filter and I tried each of the library catalog filters that I could find in the filter menu. None of them worked. In desperation, I tried other filter choices and TA-DA!
All of the browsers seem to work when the filter is EndNote Import.
Although it puts the notes information in the keyword field.
That the new Innopac filter was updated 8/15/05 makes me wonder if v9 for Mac will work differently.

GO ROBERT - or what you get when you tick off a librarian

I just love an eloquent letter. This one was inspired by yet another bit of corporate greed and deserves to be published far and wide. (The full text of the letter that responds to is below):

Subject: Re: [STS-L] Nature Publishing Group Open Letter to Customers, 2005
Date: September 15, 2005 9:05:53 AM PDT

Dear Annette Thomas:

Nature Publishing Group has, for the past several years, shown a disturbing
indifference to the inability of libraries to pay for its newly launched
commercial (and very high priced) products. Nature Publishing Group has
shown a similar indifference to its customers difficulties in paying for
site-wide online access to its many products, and in paying for its online

At some point we, your customers, must simply say "enough", and I believe
that that point has been reached with your ludicrous, disdainful decision
to launch Nature Physics in October. Surely you know that there are plenty
of well established journals in physics. Surely you know that physicists
use the free depository arXiv as their primary source for physics
information -- to such an extent that some long-established physics
journals such as Nuclear Physics now have scarcely any readers (we know
this because we have the online statistics), and many physicists say that
"nobody reads the journals any longer". Clearly there is no need for a new
commercially published physics journal -- and perhaps there will soon no
longer be a need for many existing commercially-published physics journals
-- but you insist on launching this title, at the "introductory" pricing
(which will increase) of $1,500 in print, and an online site license at a
price that you aren't even willing to list on your web site! (Your web
site says that academic pricing is in "bands based on FTE figures" -- but
in your patronizing way you don't allow us full information.)

I fondly hope that Nature Physics is a spectacular failure, as it well
deserves to be.


Robert Michaelson
Seeley G. Mudd Library for Science and Engineering
Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois 60208

At 09:26 AM 9/15/2005, wrote:
*Apologies for any cross-posting*

Nature Publishing Group
15 September 2005

Dear customers,

I am pleased to be able to write once again with news of launches,
acquisitions, and important technical and policy developments at Nature
Publishing Group (NPG), reflecting the evolving needs of our customers.

With the launch of the Nature Clinical Practice (NCP) series in late 2004,
NPG confirmed its position as a dynamic clinical publisher. The first four
NCP titles, Cardiovascular Medicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology,
Oncology and Urology, provide time-short physicians with authoritative,
timely overviews of how key developments can be applied in the clinical
setting. The journals have already been indexed in PubMed. The next four
titles in the series, launching November 2005, will be Endocrinology &
Metabolism, Nephrology, Neurology, and Rheumatology. From January 2006,
NPG will also publish the society-owned titles Kidney International and
the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, both previously published by
Blackwell Publishing.

The launch of Nature Materials in 2002 marked NPG's commitment to
publishing in the physical sciences. The first issue of Nature Chemical
Biology was published in June, and Nature Physics launches in October of
this year. With these launches, NPG aims to provide high-impact,
high-value publications, in line with the needs of authors and readers,
expanding our long-standing service in the life sciences.

NPG's commitment to new and established journals is clear. Our
publications continue to dominate the rankings in the Thomson ISI Journal
Citation Report 2004. Eleven of the top 25 science and technology journals
are Nature journals, all of which have impact factors over 20. Nature is
again the top Multidisciplinary Sciences, with an impact factor of 32.182.
The Nature Reviews series, launched only five years ago, is still
out-performing any comparable reviews series. Nature Reviews Cancer has an
impact factor of 36.557, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology is 33.170
and Nature Reviews Immunology is 32.695. Impact factors are not the sole
indicator of quality, but these figures reflect relevant, novel content
from the best authors, and high levels of usage by customers. The impact
factor of Nature Materials, only three years old, has jumped to 13.531 and
it is now the number one primary research journal in materials science.

These successes reflect our ongoing investments in our journals and our
service to customers. In May, the print and web editions of Nature were
relaunched, with a cleaner, more readable design and expanded content.
This followed a year-long process of research, consultation, design and
development. The new design and content have been warmly received by
readers. The magazine goes from strength to strength, with exciting papers
this year on the historic mission to Mars, and the inheritance of
extra-genomic information. The web edition is now compliant with important
web accessibility standards, to ensure our content is available to
everyone, regardless of physical ability. Feedback from users deploying
screen reader technology has been positive, but improved accessibility
will benefit all users.

The homepage and subject pages have been redesigned to improve
site navigation, allowing users to find relevant publications easily. In
addition to new designs, NPG has completely rebuilt the
publishing platform, with new hardware and software. Download times have
been significantly reduced, and server downtimes have been eliminated as
far as possible.

NPG has a tradition of innovation, with experimental publishing concepts
such as AfCS-Nature Signaling Gateway, the JISC-funded open-source Urchin,
the early adoption of RSS feeds, and now with the launch of Connotea.
Connotea ( allows users to bookmark, index and share
important scientific papers and web pages. Through shared indexing, users
can discover relevant material they might not have otherwise found.

Information about institutional subscriptions, site licenses and pricing
is published at
NPG's site license policy is established across most of our titles, and
site licenses offer great value, both in terms of access to high impact
research, and low cost per use. Early studies suggest NPG offers better
value, in terms of cost-per-article downloaded than other major STM
publishers (Credit Suisse First Boston Media; Evolving Threats to STM).
Reflecting requests from our customers, the site license policy is being
amended to provide clear post-cancellation rights to site license
customers. All customers with a license start date in 2006 will be granted
post-cancellation rights to the material they can access via their site
license (ie back to 1997 or the subsequent launch issue). From 2007, the
content accessible via a current site license will be redefined, and
libraries will have post-cancellation access rights to content published
during the term of their license, subject to a title-specific access fee.

To conclude, NPG will continue to invest in journals, increasing quality
and impact, while innovating in new and established markets with novel
products and services, inline with the needs of our customers. Publishers
don't determine what will succeed and what will fail. You, as customers,
do that, and we thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely

Annette Thomas
Managing Director
Nature Publishing Group

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

from earlier this week

  • what's the ph of heroin?
  • How do I order these ASTM standards?
  • How do I use the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) portal to get to the ACM digital library?
I have some earlier questions on :

Which is all just a really sincere form of flattery, as Karen Munro is the one who came up with this idea:

And, I guess it is also an attempt to respond to:

Although, I doubt I'll do any better than:
Confessions of a Science librarian