Open Access Classics Serials catalogue

Excellent, there’s going to be a dedicated public catalogue for Open Access Classics Serials, building on the outstanding work done by AWOL. Although its planners note that…

“A certain amount of iteration and even manual curation of data is likely to be necessary.”

Indeed. A vision of ‘herding cats into a library, and then asking them to sit in neat rows’ springs instantly to mind. If it were me, I’d consider skipping past the years of fiddling with trying to make/align/cajole automated inputs which are ‘library science friendly’ from over 1,500 journals — and instead go straight to the crowd and their keyboards. Via outreach to Fiverr-like $5 gig-workers, especially to needy scholars in places like Bangladesh1 and Africa, to do the few months of manual keyboard bashing required to make such a catalogue totally comprehensive.

What would the cost of that be? Well, at $10 per manual input of data/links on 50 articles, adding AWOL’s 50,000 articles into an OJS setup… that’s a piffling $10,000 and would have a usefully-searchable catalogue done in a few months. I’m assuming an OJS installation can scale to provide a unified mirror for the TOCs/abstracts/metadata of 1,500+ journals, but perhaps Persee’s WooCommerce template system might scale better (as well as being much more elegant to look at). Then perhaps add another $5,000 for volleys of curator-directed $10 gigs to ’round up the strays’, and to get second-opinion proofreading and error-correction.

Of course, AWOL’s posts sometime list volumes alone rather than volumes + articles, so there would be a certain amount of additional build-out and extra cost beyond the initial scooping of AWOL into catalogue form. But that might not cost a great deal extra on top of the initial $15k. Even with management and web-hosting costs the v1.0 version of the catalogue could probably all be done very comprehensively for less than $30,000. A small Foundation, a Kickstarter, or even a private consortium of 60 classics professors (x $500 each) should be able to easily raise that.


1. A skilled Bangladeshi purchasing and inventory clerk, a job which seems an apt comparison for data entry, currently earns an average of around $250 U.S. per month. A Bangladeshi teacher earns about $180 per month. Assuming a carefully-done entry of data and links on 50 articles (paying $10) per day, over 28 days such work would pay a needy scholar a good local monthly wage of $280.

Feed the Duck

It appears that Google’s recent Google Feed API depreciation has finally stopped the very useful RSS Search Engine from working.

“With the Feed API, you can [could] download any public Atom, RSS, or Media RSS feed using only JavaScript”

But I’m very pleased to see that the search engine DuckDuckGo now offers Bing-like feed:keyword searches and seems to do so rather well. Unlike Bing, DuckDuckGo even offers a “Past Week” option on such searches. Though it’s not so useful. Because the results are “we crawled this in the last week, but it hasn’t updated since 2012”, rather than “wow, the feed updated with juicy new content in the last week”.

Searches are however aware of the feed’s content as well as the simple fact that is a feed. Since feed posts are dated, this means that you can approximate a ‘recent’ search with:

feed:keyword March 2017

feed:deadline conference history university March 2017

Very useful for those who need to find timely new content, drawn only from sources highly likely to be dedicated to pumping out such content. Although on a simple search you will still get tangled in feeds that don’t restrict themselves to ‘last 20 posts’, and instead pour in years and years of posts. Using an additional -2016 seems to knock out such over-long feeds, at the cost of omitting some feeds that may be useful. feed: also accepts a ‘nuke-from-orbit’ command such as -2010~2016.

You can also do feed:“keyword” to prevent annoying word-juggling (e.g. search for stoke, see results for stock) or to add phrases.

Firefox browser users may not get the feeds to display prettily as a browser page, when you start clicking on the search results from such a DuckDuckGo search. This may have been because you reset your Firefox RSS preview (‘Live Bookmark’) functionality some time in the past. This may have been done because it’s apparently been somewhat insecure to preview RSS feeds inside Firefox until a security fix in version 51, the current version being 52. So security-minded users may have passed RSS feed subscription handling straight to a dedicated desktop reader, such as the excellent free FeedDemon. To undo such a change go: Tools | Options | Applications | Web Feed | and switch back to ‘Preview in Firefox’.

You’ll then get an in-browser page-like preview of the RSS feed, whatever format it comes in (it appears Firefox can tell an .xml feed from an “.xml document”). The Firefox preview page will still offer you an option to send the feed to your main feed reader.

A sort-of similarity search, added to Flickr

Similarity search has been added to Flickr:

1. Make an initial keyword search inside Flickr.

2. Select a photo thumbnail, hover your mouse over it.

3. A three-dot bar will fade up in the top-right corner.

4. Click once on the three-dots and select Search for similar photos.

My test with a ginger kitten on a green background suggests that only basic parameters are being searched for. In this case “cat face with ginger fur”, rather than “cat face with ginger fur” + a green background. Nor is the search able to distinguish between grown cats and kittens, which suggests no keywords are being added to the mix.

Added to JURN

Journals hosted on the eprints server of Hokkaido University, Japan…

Journal of the Graduate School of Letters

Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy

Journal of the Center for Northern Humanities (partly in English)

Media and Communication Studies

Acta Slavica Iaponica (Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University)

Eurasia Border Review

International Journal of Contents Tourism


Memoirs of the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University

Bulletin of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University (partly in English)

Environmental Science, Hokkaido University

Insecta Matsumurana (1926—, both series. Entomology journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University)

Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Museum (the English issues are on biodiversity)

Eurasian Journal of Forest Research