Improve Your Online Searching Skills

Finding information is a fundamental librarian skill.  Whether you are searching with library discovery tools, in online research databases, or on the Internet at large using a search engine, great searching skills are a necessity.

Here is a selection of the best up-to-date books to improve your online searching skills.

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol Smallwood

The Complete Guide to Using Google in Libraries: Research, User Applications, and Networking edited by Carol SmallwoodThe book is divided into four parts: Research, User Applications, Networking, and Searching. Part IV on searching includes advanced search strategies, underutilized Google search tools, and evaluating the sources of search results. Other parts cover using Google services such as Google Books, Drive, Google+, Google Scholar, and Google Translate among others.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. Sauers

Google Search Secrets by Christa Burns and Michael P. SauersAs the title suggests, this book covers the search engine Google.  It goes beyond the basic search function to give practical tips and tricks on Google’s “hidden” features.  The authors devote chapters to cover specific Google search services including Blogs, Books, Discussions, Images, Maps, News, Patents, and Videos.  The chapter on Google Scholar is particularly relevant for academic librarians. The authors created a companion blog for posting updates so have a look even if you don’t buy the book.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Librarian’s Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. Bell

Librarian's Guide to Online Searching: Cultivating Database Skills for Research and Instruction (Fourth Edition) by Suzanne S. BellNow in its fourth edition, this popular book for librarians has been updated for 2015.  The book looks into what a database is, parts of a database, and tools for searching such as Boolean logic and truncation.  Later chapters discuss the different databases by subject matter.  Evaluating databases is covered. Finally, the book lists eight principles of teaching databases.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen Markey

Online Searching: A Guide to Finding Quality Information Efficiently and Effectively by Karen MarkeyThis new book covers searching online using discovery tools and research databases.  It starts with the research interview and traces the steps through assessing search results.  Pre-search preparation and database selection are covered before detailing specific search types: controlled-vocabulary, free-text, and known-item.  The author ends with a look into the future of online searching.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. Sauers

Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. SauersThe final volume of The Tech Set from ALA, this guide goes beyond basic Internet searching.  As indicated in the title, the semantic Web and finding hidden data is its main focus.  Specific types of searching include location-based, multimedia, social, and semantic.  Specific search examples from Google and Bing are shown.  The book has a companion website with author information and links, downloadable files, related slide presentations, and an audio interview with the authors.

View details and find a place to buy or borrow at Google Books.

Common Library Technology Acronyms

Throughout your professional library reading, you will occasionally come across esoteric library technology acronyms.  It’s annoying to have to stop reading to look up their meanings.  To help prevent that, we present our list of more common library technology acronyms.

These acronyms have been added to the Library Technology Acronyms page.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second EditionAACR2 – Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition, a set of cataloging rules succeeded by Resource Description and Access (RDA).

COUNTER – Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources, standards for recording and reporting online usage statistics.

CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, a test that aims to protect web forms from entry by bots.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets, a language used for describing the presentation of a web document (usually in HTML).

CSV – Comma-Separated Values, data items in table record consisting of one or more fields, separated by commas.

DDA – Demand Driven Acquisition, a system where an e-resource is purchased after a pre-specified number of uses trigger its purchase. Replaces Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA).

DOI – Digital Object Identifier, a persistent interoperable identifier under International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 26324.

DRM – Digital Rights Management,  access control technologies used to restrict access to certain rights-holders.

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange.

ERM – Electronic Resource Management, system used to track electronic resources such as databases, ebooks, and e-journals.

FRBR – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, model of metadata that includes four levels of representation: work, expression, manifestation, and item.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language, a markup language for describing web documents.

ISO – International Organization for Standardization, independent developer of voluntary International Standards.

LDAP – Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, a method of user authentication.

LITA – Library and Information Technology Association is a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

LOCKSS – Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe,  multiple electronic backup system for preserving library materials.

MOOC – Massive Open Online Course, a web-based course, often with very large enrollments.

OA – Open Access.

OCLC – Online Computer Library Center, Inc., a nonprofit provider of library services for cataloging, discovery, and resource sharing.

PDA – Patron Driven Acquisition, see DDA (Demand-Driven Acquisition).

PURL – Persistent Uniform Resource Locator.

RDA – Resource Description and Access, a unified cataloging standard which is replacing AACR2 and based on FRBR (see above).

RDM – Research Data Management.

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification Technology, the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data from tags typically affixed to print library materials.

SaaS – Software as a Service.

SAML – Security Assertion Markup Language, XML standard for single sign-on (SSO).

SMS – Short Message Service, for sending text messages on mobile phones.

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer, a security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a webserver and a browser, succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS).

SUSHI – Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative.

TLS – Transport Layer Security, a security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a webserver and a browser, replacing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

UX – User eXperience.

WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

XML – eXtensible Markup Language, a language for encoding documents in both a human-readable and machine-readable text format.

XSL – eXtensible Stylesheet Language, a language used to transform and render XML documents.

Open Educational Resources: Open Access Textbooks

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

We’ve mentioned open access journals and ebooks which are great for researchers.  But what about the regular student?  The high cost of textbooks can be a financial burden on a student.  The university—and the library in particular—can help.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.  (Wikipedia)

Open educational resources include open access textbooks.  Academic libraries can work with university administration and faculty to develop a policy of creating a repository for open access resources including textbooks.

One notable OER initiative is PDX Open from Portland State University Library.  With support from their university, the library is facilitating the publishing of open access textbooks using their Digital Commons platform from bepress.

The Open Textbook Library provides access to around 200 open textbooks from the Open Library Network of participating academic libraries such as Purdue, University of Arizona, and Virginia Tech.  You can search or browse their collection of complete textbooks.

Here are some great resources to learn about OER:

Follow the conversations on Twitter at #liboer, #oer, and #opentextbooks.

A Selection of Open Access Journals for Librarians

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

Libraries provide access.  As such, the librarians who work in them should advocate for access that is as unencumbered as possible, including open access.  While some publishers of traditional professional librarian journals are reluctant to open up access to their journals, several have done so.  Thus, some librarians have taken it upon themselves to create new open access journals to assist the librarian community.  We can expect to see more journals from both sources become open access in the future.

Here’s a selection of open access e-journals.

Open Access Week 2015

Open Access Week

International Open Access Week starts today and runs from October 19 – 25, 2015.  For all of the details, visit www.openaccessweek.org.

Ways to Participate

Many organizations which embrace and promote open access are sponsoring events to encourage participation in open access resources.  Here are just a few of them.

TwitterFollow on Social Media

 

Follow and use the Twitter hashtag #OAWeek.

Open Access Week Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

WikipediaSPARC is partnering with Wikipedia to organize an Open Access Week Edit-a-thon with the purpose to improve open access-related content on Wikipedia.  “Specifically, we hope to improve already existing Open Access-related pages, to create new content where it needs to be added, and to translate Open Access-related pages into languages where they don’t yet exist.” Sign up to participate at The Wikimedia Library.

Learn about Paperity

PaperityPaperity is a “multidisciplinary aggregator of Open Access Journals and Papers” containing more than 2,200 journals and 400,000 articles.  It contains full-text articles from peer-reviewed scholarly sources.  Visit Paperity at paperity.org.

Subscribe to the C&RL RSS Feeds

College & Research Libraries is now an open access journal.  There is still a subscription fee for the print issues, but you can access the online versions for free.  Access the C&RL RSS Feeds page at crl.acrl.org/rss.

Get an ORCID iD

ORCID Open Access Week iD RegisterDo you have an ORCID iD?  ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes you from other researchers in online resources.  Register for an ORCID iD at orcid.org/register.

Bake Some Cookies

Think open access only applies to online resources?  You can bake your very own cookies in the shape of the open access logo with a cookie cutter printed from your 3D printer using some open access cookie cutter printer files.  The scalable files are in .stl and .dae format and were created by Chip Wolfe from Hunt Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Download the open access cookie cutter files.

Open Access Cookie Cutter