Google Citations and Academia.edu

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In the last couple of weeks I learned about Academia.edu and the new features of Google Scholar – both of which are very very similar.

Let’s start with Google Scholar – most you know about this service already, it’s a great way to find articles and books for your research. I sometimes spend a couple hours just searching for new open source articles to save to my Zotero Library and to read of course! Recently Google Scholar released a new feature (more here) – your personalized Scholar Profile:

We analyze your articles (as identified in your Scholar profile), scan the entire web looking for new articles relevant to your research, and then show you the most relevant articles when you visit Scholar. We determine relevance using a statistical model that incorporates what your work is about, the citation graph between articles, the fact that interests can change over time, and the authors you work with and cite.

So I went through the steps to set up my own profile and basically Scholar searched its database for articles that I had written or been cited in and the final product can be seen here. It’s kind of neat to see the graph at the top and see how many people are citing my various different publications. I would like a way to add more citations (and there might be a way that I’m just missing right now), but I’m sure it will improve as it grows.

Now, Academia.edu – maybe not be quite as well known, but is certainly more thought out in this particular area. Just like Google Scholar’s new profile page, Academia.edu lets you create your own profile where you list all of your publications. Unlike Scholar, Academia.edu is focused solely on listing your resources for others and linking you to other authors with similar research areas. There is no fancy chart or count of who’s citing your articles (like on Scholar) but there are more social functions as well as the ability to add your own citations and upload your own files. From the about page:

Academics use Academia.edu to share their research, monitor deep analytics around the impact of their research, and track the research of academics they follow. 1,772,914 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 1,525,276 papers and 533,440 research interests. Academia.edu attracts over 3.9 million unique visitors a month.

You can see my full profile here.

I think that with the combo of both tools (and of course a Zotero library) an author can keep really good information on their areas of research and who’s citing their publications!

NY Census Data on Ancestry

The Mancuso Women (My great-grandmother, my grandmother and my great aunts)

The Mancuso Women (My great-grandmother, my grandmother and my great aunts)

With the release of the 1940 census (and the completion of my latest book) I have returned to Ancestry to do more family research. In addition to the 1940 census though I have notices a lot of NY data that wasn’t there before and this is great for me and my Italian-American ancestry. Today I was pointed to this article on NYTimes.com that explains where this data came from:

The New York State Archives and Library has collaborated with Ancestry.com to provide searchable versions of the recently released 1940 United States census; New York State censuses from 1892, 1915 and 1925; and marriage, draft and other records dating to the 17th century.

So if you have family that lived in NY in those years, be sure to return to Ancestry and do some searching – there’s some great info in there!

Learn more here.

Book Review: Zotero by Jason Puckett

Ages ago I got a copy of Zotero: a guide for librarians, researchers and educators by Jason Puckett with the intention of reading it and reviewing it. Soon after I was hit with medical problem after medical problem and even though I read it cover to cover in practically no time at all, the book has been left un-reviewed. So here we go!

I am a huge Zotero fan, in fact I learned of Zotero from Jason Puckett’s amazing research guide on the topic. I thought I had learned all there was to know, until I read this book.

I guess I should start (for those of you who don’t know) with an explanation of what Zotero is and why you’d want to use it. The official website defines Zotero as “an easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.” I call Zotero a bibliography tool, but really it’s much more. I use Zotero to save information on articles, news, blog posts and books that I find on a daily basis, I use it to keep the bibliographies for my books and articles so that I can easily access then while I finish writing.

Jason does an awesome job of explaining how to perform both basic and advanced functions using Zotero. His book is geared not only to librarians, but to anyone doing research, to anyone who might benefit from a research assistant in their browser. The book is organized so that How Tos take up the first 5 chapters and then the last two cover how to teach Zotero to your patrons, students, friends, etc and how to support Zotero in your institution.

This handy guide is a must have for anyone who does research or writes for publication. This guide, for that matter, is for anyone who is tired of using proprietary tools to manage their bibliography and would like a bit more control and a lot more friendly functionality.

I’m sorry it took me so long to share this review with you all, but I hope that you’ll still run out and read a copy of Jason’s book because it’s well worth it!

The New Zotero

Today I finished my column for the next issue of the Collaborative Librarianship Journal and in it I talk about collaborative research tools. One of those tools is Zotero and I have plenty more to share about Zotero so I thought I’d share a review of the newest version with you all.

Short version of my review – Zotero Rocks!!

Longer version.

First, if you haven’t heard of or used Zotero, you are missing out on one of the most handy research tools available online today. Zotero installs into your Firefox browser and lets you save both citation and full text information about any resource you can find on the web. Many popular OPACs or research databases actually have support built in for Zotero meaning you simply click a button on your address bar and the citation (and full text if available) is saved right to your library. In the newest version you can even set up your local copy to sync with the Zotero site for safekeeping and sharing. I have set up a public library on Zotero so that everyone can see what resources I’ve been saving and hopefully benefit from the articles/web pages/etc that I’m finding.

The other great thing about the new Zotero are the community functions. There are now group libraries where multiple people can manage bibliographies together. One of these such bibliographies is the Free/Libre and Open Source Software and Libraries Bibliography, a bibliography that was started by Brenda Chawner in 2002 and maintained as a static web page until recently. Brenda was able to import her bibliography into Zotero and because of the collaborative nature of Zotero I am now able to help her update and maintain this amazing resource (a resource that I constantly refer students to when teaching open source).

While I do give Zotero two thumbs up, I have noticed a few glitches with the new version and popular database sites, this means that sometimes I have to enter the citation by hand instead of using the handy button provided in my browser, but this is a small price to pay for the resulting convenience and collaborative power afforded by Zotero.

If you haven’t used Zotero or if you feel like you could probably learn more, you should check out Jason Puckett’s research guide – it’s a wealth of information and well worth reading if you want to get the most out of Zotero.

Patron’s Book Browsing Habits

I got this email from a cousin of mine and I really wanted to share it with you all and see what you’ve experienced.

Just got back from the library choosing a couple of “relaxing” books. As I browsed, I had these thoughts and then decided I’d send them to the family librarian :).

Has anyone ever done a study about how people choose a book to check out? If one goes to the library with no particular book or author in mind, is she influenced by the appearance of the book—pictures on the spine, looks new/old, likes the pictures on the cover? And what about those books that have part of the title or the author’s name covered by the shelving sticker? (Don’t know what you really call that sticker, but you know the one–author, call number where applicable, etc.)

Do people pull the book off the shelf to see the rest of the words on the cover? Then there are the books on the top shelf above your head and on the bottom shelf down by the floor. Are they checked out as much as the ones on the middle shelves that can be viewed easily? Would you rather have a book that has something about the story on the back cover or one that doesn’t give you a hint?

I know I have a tendency to choose newer-looking books with pleasant covers. I’d only pull the book off the shelf if the words I could see on the spine sounded interesting. I’d rarely choose a book on the top shelf because I’d have to go hunt up a step stool. Sometimes I get one off the bottom shelf if I can see the title without having to get down on the floor. (At my age, I might have to just STAY on the floor!) And I like that info on the back–just in case it’s about something I don’t want to read about. I

know–I have too much time on my hands! I should use it to think about world problems or something. Ha! If I wrote a book, I’d want it to have a pretty cover and be on a middle shelf–preferably in the Large Print section so I could see the words! :)

I thought this was great. I didn’t go looking for any particular research on the topic because I was out of town and just got home, but I love starting with my fellow librarians anyway! What do you all think? What have you seen patrons doing? What do you do?

I personally will get on the floor (and sit down there for as long as it takes) if the shelve of books on the topic I want is down there. I don’t pay any attention to spine labels – except to find the location of a specific book. When it comes to fiction I too look for pretty or new covers – but if the book doesn’t have a summary – as so many new books seem to be missing – I won’t borrow or buy the book … I need to know what the darn thing is about – not what some other author thought of the book.

Open Source Software Use in Libraries

I am working on some very very broad research on open source use in libraries for a book I’m working on. The focus of the book will be on software you can use that is open source. If you have a chance to answer this brief survey to help me out that would be greatly appreciated:

http://opensource.web2learning.net/limesurvey/index.php?sid=63946&lang=en

In sticking with the open source theme, I used LimeSurvey (an open source survey management tool) – check it out!!

Feel free to link here or repost this announcement all over libraryland.