Thursday Threads: HarperCollins/OverDrive (still), Wikimedia Survey, Microsoft Academic Search

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We can’t leave the hot topic of ebooks behind in this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads, but at least it is only the lead thread and not the entire focus of this post. HarperCollins made news when one of its executives appeared at a symposium in Connecticut and said that the new digital circulation policy was a “work in progress”. Leaving that aside, Wikimedia is seeking responses to a survey to find out what barriers exist to expert contributions. Lastly is a call to keep Microsoft Research’s Academic Search on your radar screen; some interesting updates are coming out that rival Google Scholar and perhaps even some subscription services.

Thursday Threads: Amazon Pressures Publishers, Academic Spam, Mechanical Turk Spam, Multispectral Imaging

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With the close of the year approaching, this issue marks the 14th week of DLTJ Thursday Threads. This issue has a publisher’s view of Amazon’s strong-arm tactics in book pricing, research into the possibility that academic authors could game Google Scholar with spam, demonstrations of how Amazon’s Mechanical Turk drives down the cost of enlisting humans to overwhelm anti-spam systems, and a story of multispectral imaging adding information in the process of digital preservation.

As the new year approaches, I wish you the best professionally and personally.

Books After Amazon

Thursday Threads: Google Scholar Coverage, Effective Meetings, Librarians as Obstacles, Cable TV

No, I am not composing this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads on the Thanksgiving holiday. This was written the day before and scheduled for posting on Thursday. With a significant run of weekly Thursday Threads postings, it seemed a shame to break the trend because of a holiday. So if it is Thanksgiving Thursday (in the U.S.) and you are looking for something to read, how about an article questioning the need for index and abstract databases in light of Google Scholar? Or tips for post-holiday effective meetings? Or how librarians are viewed as obstacles to effective open educational resources? Or simply be thankful that you are not in the cable TV operator business.

Analysis of Google Scholar and Google Books

Two papers were published recently exploring the quality of Google Scholar and Google Books.


Google Scholar


Philipp Mayr and Anne-Kathrin Walter, both of GESIS / Social Science Information Center in Bonn, Germany, uploaded an article to arXiv called “An exploratory study of Google Scholar.” 1 Originally created as a presentation for a 2005 conference, it was updated in January 2007 to reflect new findings and published as a paper. Excerpts from the abstract include:
The study shows deficiencies in the coverage and up-to-dateness of the [Google Scholar] index. Furthermore, the study points up which web servers are the most important data providers for this search service and which information sources are highly represented. We can show that there is a relatively large gap in Google Scholar’s coverage of German literature as well as weaknesses in the accessibility of Open Access content. Major commercial academic publishers are currently the main data providers.