Open Access Futures in the Humanities and Social Sciences, a one-day conference at the LSE in London, 24th October 2013. Sounds like it could get very tediously hung up on “What type of Open?” rather than exploring a broader vision of open futures, but it might be worth attending. Free, and currently with 36 tickets remaining. Sadly I can’t afford to get to London these days.
See also the JURN Directory, for my folklore ejournals links-list — currently standing at 140 titles.
What with all the fuss about the NSA and the Tor privacy system and the consequent influx of new users to the amazingly easy-to-use Tor bundle, it seem natural that a new Tor search-engine has just launched and is being covered by the likes of Venturebeat. The TorSearch engine claims to search the deep/dark Web (hidden pages that are only accessible to those running a Tor connection). TorSearch seems a little underpopulated. For example, it’s difficult to believe that only one site on the deep/dark Web offers to sell the drug Modafinil (the keyword I used as a safe test). That said, TorSearch’s one result (from the Netherlands) did actually look like it might be happy to take some shiny bitcoins from swivel-eyed Modafinil snorters. Which is more than can be said for what appears to be the incumbent Tor search engine called Torch. From Torch came three results for “Modafinil” dated from 2013 — two being anonymous drug-use diaries, and the other occurrence being in what seemed to be a sort of weird parody manifesto (from one of the old anarchist document libraries that seem to have pride of place on l33t hackawarez sitez). Judging from my brief visit to the deep Web search engines, I don’t think Google has any competition just yet — at least in a “students just wanna buy some modafinil for their exams” scenario.
BeeLine Reader is a simple extension for Web browsers, that uses colour gradients to guide your eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.
It sits as an icon up on your Google Chrome toolbar, and clicking the icon gives you a clean Instapaper-like version of a long-form article or blog post, which is then overlaid with colour gradients along each line. The aim is to speed up speed-reading and skim-reading, while still enabling you to keep focus.
JSTOR is selling subscriptions to businesses and members of the general public. The fee “ranges from $19.50 for a monthly to $199.” Though it doesn’t look like a good deal at all. No access to articles published in the past three to five years. Users can only download 10 articles a month (120 a year max.). And access is only to 1,500 of JSTOR’s journals. Although I guess it might be useful for someone like a independent historian with a book contract, or perhaps an art auction house.
Google has obviously demoted Google Scholar over the last year or so, as well as loosening the content-inclusion parameters. Max Kemman now asks: will Google close down Google Scholar? The article notes that…
“cited by” and “related articles” functionalities in Google Scholar [...] are already available in [the main Google] Search
If he’s correct, there may be another reason for it. Have people in Google taken a good look at the slow-but-sure progress of Microsoft Academic Search, and found they don’t like what they see? Is Google wary of waking up one day to find that the Microsoft tortoise has once again executed its traditional killer slow-mo back-flip on a competitor hare?
New paper on arXiv.org, “Just Google It – Digital Research Practices of Humanities Scholars”
“three hundred (N= 288) humanities scholars in the Netherlands and Belgium … General search systems such as Google and JSTOR are predominant, while large-scale collections such as Europeana [a repository of digitised versions of "Europe's cultural and scientific heritage"] are rarely consulted. Searching with keywords is the dominant search strategy and advanced search options are rarely used. When comparing novice and more experienced searchers, the first tend to have a more narrow selection of search engines, and mostly use keywords.”
A new Twitter keyword search-engine, http://www.topsy.com. Pretty good at helping you find a useful little egg, amid the vast guano-splattered nest of useless fluff that is Twitter. Sadly you can’t pluck out an RSS feed for a regular search, at least in the free version.
Well, that’s one way to keep university presses alive, start to merge them with the government. $12m Aus. will fund…
“a consortium of government and university presses in Australia.”
University of California starts mandatory open access on 1st November…
“The University of California [has] introduced an Open Access Policy [which] grants the UC a license to its faculty’s work by default, and requires them to provide the UC with copy of their peer-reviewed papers on the paper’s publication date. The UC then posts the paper online to eScholarship, its open access publishing site, where the paper will be available to anyone, free of charge. [...] On November 1, faculty will be automatically enrolled in the UC’s open access policy.”
“An open source web and enterprise search engine for Linux on Intel/AMD. Currently in use on Gigablast.com. A robust, scalable search solution in 100% custom C/C++ that has
been in development and used commercially since 2000. Distributed web crawler. Supports any document conversion plugin to convert PDF, etc. to HTML”
Code currently lacking, though, any “Boolean query support”. That probably doesn’t matter, though, since only a miniscule fraction of seachers actually use Boolean.
Bing Images has added a new “License” drop-down menu item, allowing a modified search for public domain and Creative Commons images. UK users won’t see it, unless you tell Bing you’re located in the USA, via the settings. I’m in the UK, and Bing accepted my country change without query, and without having to “sign in”.
A test search for “Lovecraft” then showed that the straight Public Domain filter is useful with the right keywords, but that the other CC search modifiers give deeply misleading results. Even the Public Domain filter can be misleading. For instance, a simple search for “monster” brought up the logo for the KISS rock band, screenshots of Monster High and Sesame Street, and Japanese anime.
The archive of The Spectator (1828-2008) is now digitised and online. Articles are served up as Web text alongside digital page scans in a fat sidebar. Currently appears to be free, and without any need for registration.
One of the last bastions of the old-school Web just got ruined, from the point of view of speedy search. Flickr’s bloated and slow “crammed lightbox” style of page display is now mandatory, and there’s no way to change back. It’s also on the Creative Commons search results. It’s going to make a Flickr search twice or three times as long to do, at least until we get Stylish / GreaseMonkey scripts to force it back to a fast and more user-friendly style. There are no such scripts out there yet, I looked.
A 30 minute BBC Radio 4 documentary on An Intimate History of the Arts Scholar. The actual history starts at 5:15 minutes, if you want to skip the intro-fluff.
A neat new search-visualiser tool, being developed just down the road from me at Staffordshire University… demo shown from 1:00 onwards.
The possibility of restricting a search to only “peer reviewed journals” seems likely to corral students into the commercial systems, and may block out a lot of open access journal articles in the arts and humanities.
The journal College & Research Libraries is now free from 1939-present. Was formerly free after six months.