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Get better search results

Tara-LeePlatt4 December 2014

Image modified under Creative Commons Licence. Indexing and abstracting databases are key to producing good, robust research but they can be daunting and  confusing and it is tempting to stick with the familiarity of Google and Google Scholar.  To get some advice on  searches for your assignments, come along to a search skills surgery, where you can pick up some tips and develop your confidence in using A&I databases.

The surgery, run by Tara your subject librarian, will take place on:

Tuesday 9th December 11:00-12:00 Room G31

This is a drop in session so come along at any time within the hour, armed with any troublesome searches and questions you have.

We’ll primarily be looking at the following databases as they’re key to DIS:

  • LISA  – Index of journal articles in librarianship and information science, including archives and records management, publishing and some material relating to Digital Humanities. Includes abstracts from over 440 periodicals from more than 68 countries and in more than 20 different languages.
  • Library and Information Science Source – Content includes full text for more than 460 publications and indexing for hundreds of high-quality journals, as well as books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage encompasses librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.
  • INSPEC – a bibliographic information database covering the fields of physics, electronics, computing, control engineering and information technology with more than 7.7 million records taken from 3,500 technical and scientific journals and 1,500 conference proceedings.
  • SCOPUS – multi-disciplinary database containing references to journal articles, conference proceedings, trade publications, book series and web resources.

If you can’t make this session please feel free to drop me an email with your queries.

Please note these sessions are only open to students in the UCL Department of Information Studies

Search skills drop in surgery

Tara-LeePlatt27 November 2014

Image modified under Creative Commons Licence. Indexing and abstracting databases are key to producing good, robust research but they can be daunting and  confusing and it is tempting to stick with the familiarity of Google and Google Scholar.  To get some advice on  searches for your assignments, come along to a search skills surgery, where you can pick up some tips and develop your confidence in using A&I databases.

The surgeries will be run by Tara, your subject librarian and will take place on:

Tuesday 2nd December 14:00-15:00 Room G31

Tuesday 9th December 14:00-15:00 Room G31

The surgery will run as a drop in session so come along at any time within the hour, armed with any troublesome searches and questions you have.

We’ll primarily be looking at the following databases as they’re key to DIS:

  • LISA  – Index of journal articles in librarianship and information science, including archives and records management, publishing and some material relating to Digital Humanities. Includes abstracts from over 440 periodicals from more than 68 countries and in more than 20 different languages.
  • Library and Information Science Source – Content includes full text for more than 460 publications and indexing for hundreds of high-quality journals, as well as books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage encompasses librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.
  • INSPEC – a bibliographic information database covering the fields of physics, electronics, computing, control engineering and information technology with more than 7.7 million records taken from 3,500 technical and scientific journals and 1,500 conference proceedings.
  • SCOPUS – multi-disciplinary database containing references to journal articles, conference proceedings, trade publications, book series and web resources.

Looking forward to seeing you there!   If you can’t make either of these surgeries, please feel free to drop me an email with your queries.

Please note these sessions are only open to students in the UCL Department of Information Studies

Some Things I Have Learned as the Student Systems Developer of the Linked Open Bibliographic Data Project by Natalia Garea Garcia

AnneWelsh17 November 2014

bibframe

As a MSc in Information Science student at the department I applied for the student systems developer position to help create an Open, Linked and Interactive Educational Resource for Bibliographic Data and was appointed in late September.

I could not summarize in a blog post everything I have learned so far but here are some highlights.

Semantic Web, Linked Data and RDF

Search engines have made the job of finding our way around the Web much easier. But we still have to go through the results of a search and take a few more steps until we get exactly what we want. That is because Web content is in a ‘human readable’ format and computers have a limited understanding of it. This understanding can be improved and there are several approaches to do so. One of them is the Semantic Web.

Honestly, I could not possibly explain better than the people from How Stuff Works what the Semantic Web is. Have a look, their Star Wars examples are insuperable.

Similarly, who could explain better Linked Data than Sir Tim Berners-Lee on his TED talk? He says Linked Data is about using identifiers for resources, those identifiers contain data in a standard format and, this is very important, relationships.

The standard format Berners-Lee talks about is Resource Description Framework (RDF). If you are interested in it, read the RDF primer or chapter 3 of Semantic Web Primer. Copies are available at UCL’s Science Library.

RDF allows to make statements, also called triples, composed of a subject (a resource), a predicate (a relationship) and an object (a value or another resource). Using the How Stuff Works example:

<AnakinSkywalker><isFatherOf><LukeSkywalker>

We are telling the computer that Anakin has a relationship ‘isFatherOf’ with Luke but we need to give the computer a bit more information. We know things that the computer does not know about this statement like:

  • Anakin and Luke are both people and they are both male.
  • Only males are called ‘father’ and in this context it describes the relationship with another person.
  • Anakin is Luke’s father which means that Luke is Anakin’s son.

In RDF terms:

  • Anakin and Luke belong to the subclass ‘Male’ of the class ‘Person’.
  • Only resources belonging to the class ‘Male’ can have the property ‘isFatherOf’ (domain restriction) and only other resources that belong to the class ‘Person’ can be the objects of this property (range restriction).
  • There should be another property named ‘isSonOf’ to explain the second relationship. Again it will have the domain ‘Male’ (a son can only be a male) and the range ‘Person’ (either a female or a male).

Classes, properties, domain restrictions and ranges can be defined in a RDF Schema (RDFS). RDF does not make any assumptions so the user can create any classes or properties.

SPARQL, which is the query language for RDF, is something else I have briefly had a look at. I will soon be learning about the practical side of publishing Linked Data as well.

BIBFRAME

The Bibliographic Framework (BIBFRAME or BF) is the standard replacing Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC). Since the late 1960s, MARC provided bibliographic records with a structure that allowed computers to interpret and exchange the data they contained.

The new standard is now focusing on the Web environment and its objectives, as pointed out on the primer document, are “to differentiate clearly between conceptual content and its physical manifestation, focus on unambiguously identifying information entities and leverage and expose relationships between and among entities”.

With BIBFRAME we will be representing the valuable metadata libraries held until now in databases as Linked Open Data. Hopefully, this will lead to users being able to find information easily, search engines to direct people to library resources and to allow innovative uses of the metadata sets, increasing their value.

BIBFRAME is what the project I am helping with focuses on. I have read much of the content available on the official site, tried the editor, the comparison service and the transformation service. I have gone through examples and tried to create my own BF records which has helped me to learn about the use of the vocabulary elements. I have also joined the BIBFRAME list serv and keep an eye on what people are saying about it on social media.

If you are interested in learning more about BIBFRAME I would strongly recommend to start by reading the primer document as well as the FAQ section, then check out the vocabulary description and have a look at the vocabulary category view. This video of Eric Miller’s keynote at the DCMI 2014 sums up quite nicely what BIBFRAME may mean for the library community in the future. It lasts 80 minutes but it is worth it.

—–

Natalia Garea Garcia (@ngarea) is studying for her MSc IS and is the Student Systems Developer for the Linked Open Bibliographic Data project, for which staff in the Department of Information Studies (Antonis Bikakis (Project Lead), Anne Welsh (Project Coordinator), Simon Mahony and Charlie Inskip) hold an E-Learning Development Grant. Further blog posts and reports will be published periodically. A key output of the project is collaborative co-learning between staff and students, and this blog post supports teaching today in INSTG004 Cataloguing in which Natalia, Antonis and Anne are sharing knowledge and practical experience with students on the MA LIS.

Image: Overview of the BIBFRAME Model, Library of Congress

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Natalia Garea Garcia is the sole author of this piece.

Learning from Afar: Commuting to Study at UCL by Kat Steiner

AnneWelsh9 October 2014

Oxford_railway_station_MMB_06_166220

I’ve just started my second year as a part-time Information Science student, and after seeing all the eager new faces in my first lecture, I feel like an old hand. I live in Oxford, working for the Bodleian Libraries, and travel one day a week to UCL for my classes. Although I’m a minority in the IS cohort, travelling from outside London, there are plenty of part-timers in the department, as the Library and Information Studies course offers a part-time option specifically allowing students to come one day a week. So I thought I’d write a few words about how commuting has worked for me.

When I started at UCL, I’d just finished a year’s traineeship with the Bodleian Law Library, but didn’t have any more work lined up. It was nice to have that flexibility in choosing my first year of modules (you sign up for the whole year in October, so some forward thinking is necessary). I chose the train over the Oxford Tube coach, for convenience and faster travel times. The trains have always been pretty reliable and it was nice to have an hour or so to work before and afterwards. The only real issue was the tube strikes in February.

I had a few different part-time jobs within the Bodleian, juggling them around my UCL days. It worked really well; I got some great experience in several different libraries and enough time to study. My managers have always been really supportive and interested in what I’m doing: Information Science is an unusual degree in Oxford, with most people doing the MA LIS. The travelling didn’t bother me unduly, although it was tiring, and I really liked the routine of knowing that my ‘UCL days’ were for studying. I actually found it harder working in the holidays on coursework, without the mental push of going to London.

This year, it’s a bit different, as I’ve got my first permanent, full-time job, which I’ve been in almost a month. I love the team, the library, the regular pay-check…but it does mean working Saturdays in term-time in lieu of one day a week at UCL. So far I really like the routine, and luckily my modules worked out nicely to fit on one day each term, although it did make choosing them a bit harder. After Easter I’m still going to have one weekday blocked out to work solidly on my dissertation, which I’m hoping will give me the kick I need to get it done! It’s quite common in Oxford for people to work full-time and study for their LIS masters at the same time, so I’m not too scared. But ask me again at the end of term, maybe!

Kat Steiner (@kastrel) is working as a Library Assistant at the Bodleian Libraries while studying for her MSc IS.

Image: Mattbuck, Copyright Commons Share Alike.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Kat Steiner is the sole author of this piece.