LibriVox search and “quote marks”
31 Tuesday Jan 2023
Posted Academic searchin
31 Tuesday Jan 2023
25 Friday Nov 2022
Posted Academic search, Spotted in the newsin
Consensus is a new two-man science search-engine, now backed by a small chunk of the Bitcoin fortune made by the Winklevoss twins. Consensus has also just partnered with Semantic Scholar.
It’s live and public to use and to get results from, though I was asked to sign up by a dismiss-able pop-up overlay. A bit slow to return the results, but I was impressed by the results I had. The display format is also pleasing, and desktop-centric.
It’s currently only searching 200 million papers, though it has the great advantage of extracting relevant sections from the hit documents and presenting these in a clean form. Kind of like Google Search / Google Books snippets, on steroid-munching AIs. Filtering and faceting look good.
Some of the featured branding seems a bit flaky, with the blog pushing ‘mindfulness’ and even ‘neuro-linguistic programming’. But that may just be an artefact of whoever they have running the blog for them, at a guess.
Worth looking at more closely, and it looks like it may even be useful for conservationists and wildlife researchers.
09 Wednesday Nov 2022
Despite all the recent hype about the Mastodon social-media service, it doesn’t appear to be that useful for keyword search. For instance a search for keyword “research”, just now, found absolutely nothing…
Turns out that, though search is public (i.e. no sign-up required)…
if you search something in the search box of Mastodon, it will find only users or #hashtags. A more powerful search system will be implemented in the near future.
I did find the third-party service Social Search – Discover accounts across multiple Mastodon servers (‘instances’). This only searches the public account descriptions though. If ‘FluffyTwiddle’ is posting about “open access” but doesn’t have that in their description, you won’t discover them.
15 Monday Aug 2022
The DOAB appears to show a total of 11 arts and humanities books in 2022. Here are the workings behind the initial figure.
The DOAB’s sidebar facets were used for the July test, rather than a crude keyword search.
a) Arts facet. Non-keyword search: Date Issued: [2020 TO 2023] × Subject: The arts
Two hits. No books listed as “2022”.
b) Humanities facet. Non-keyword search: Date Issued: [2020 TO 2023] × Subject: Humanities
This gave 198 titles. This result-set was small enough for me to manually skim through picking out suitable “2022” titles on new browser tabs, while excluding single chapters and the many mis-hits (e.g. “Dental Education”, General Education, Business, Health titles). I came up with a list of 11 book titles so far in 2022, and which fit inside what I consider to be the core “arts & humanities” fold:
Verwaltete Vielfalt: Die königlichen Tafelgüter in Polen-Litauen, 1697–1763.
Tracing the Atom: Nuclear Legacies in Russia and Central Asia.
Realities, Challenges, Visions? Towards a New Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy.
Trends on Educational Gamification: Challenges and Learning Opportunities.
Game-Based Learning, Gamification in Education and Serious Games.
Post-Truth Imaginations: New Starting Points for Critique of Politics and Technoscience.
Islam and the Trajectory of Globalization: Rational Idealism and the Structure of World History.
After the Text: Byzantine Enquiries in Honor of Margaret Mullett.
In Contempt: Defending Free Speech, Defeating HUAC (a new history of the U.S. McCarthy trials).
Horos: Ancient Boundaries and the Ecology of Stone.
Monstrous Liminality: Or, The Uncanny Strangers of Secularized Modernity.
In contrast a simple search for keyword humanities gives many mis-hits, not least among the vast number of medical books. e.g. DOAB highlighting…
… humans. In this context, humanized mice transplanted with functional human cells.
The same results are had when using either humanities or “humanities” as a keyword.
But it turns out that searching either way is misleading. The two apparently top-level facets of ‘arts’ and ‘humanities’ are not giving the full story, since they are not acting as top-level “buckets”. To get the actual number for 2022 in English one must undertake the following…
1. Blank search. Publication Type: book × Date Issued: [2020 TO 2023] ×
2. Sort Date Issued: 2022 × Language: English × Publication Type: book ×
3. Now remove the wider [2020 TO 2023] facet, having now got access to the pure 2022 facet.
There are then 2,638 titles accessible in 2022 so far. This is ‘all books’ in 2022, and not all arts and humanities.
Drilling down from that set to a clean arts and humanities sub-set appears to be impossible, as things stand. There appears to be almost as may subject sub-facets as there are books…
One can’t use the .CSV export of results, as that appears to be capped at 500 rows. And the general RSS ‘feed for new titles’ appears limited to just four titles.
My guess would be that perhaps 400+ of the 2,638 titles for 2022 fall into what I would call “arts and humanities”, but one can’t get a clean de-duplicated list for such. If there is some arcane way to do it, then please let me know how.
Update: There are very slightly over 500 titles for 2022 to date, in English. To get at a precise number I undertook a study with the aid of the main .CSV file.
08 Sunday May 2022
A new large-scale study of large academic search options, 30 of which are publicly available to be searched. Yet even among these “openly accessible systems” searchers will…
not find that open discovery — the search and access of scholarly content via freely available resources — is possible.
Sadly they did not test JURN, presumably because the required “query hit counts” could not be mined from results in an automated way.
Of the tools offered by large publishers it was found that the…
journal [discovery] platforms of the large publishers still have open access rates in single-digit percentages … open discovery is still very limited
06 Sunday Feb 2022
Posted Academic search, Economics of Open Accessin
A good point, made in a new short OA opinion-piece by Martin Eve…
How can the humanities parrot the oft-repeated liberal humanist line that they exist to produce an educated citizenry capable of participating critically in democracy, when most humanities work remains unreadable by most people? … When justifying oneself, pointing at a scholarly book that costs £60 is not the same as pointing to an article that can be read for free.
Assuming that ‘democracy’ and ‘educated citizenry’ are not soon to raise a sneer rather than a cheer from those holding the cattle-prods, then an obvious solution might be some form of free digest of the text that one wishes to read or consult. Often a good digest might suffice to quench curiosity on the part of independent scholars outside salaried academia. It would be far more than an abstract or a paragraph in an editor’s introduction, better than an Amazon Kindle-like “the first 10% is free” extract, and yet shorter than a Blinkist full-book summary (these being carefully crafted by a human, last I heard).
Could a summarising AI do the task? It can with newspaper articles and (I believe) with structured things such as financial reports. It might need some help with denser and more specialised material from the arts and humanities. Such an AI-bot might be aided by picking up on a dozen simple ‘structure tags’, added by the author alongside the text as they wrote it. And in that task the author might themselves be being assisted by a tagging AI. There might also be a semantics back-end at work. A local history chapter on well-dressing ceremonies and associated folklore in the English Peak District might then not flummox the AI too much. But a convoluted chapter on Elvish linguistics and arcane medieval star-lore detectable in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion might still cause it dissolve into a hissing molten puddle.
What about the idea of digests written by young humans in need of cash, of which the planet is very soon to have a rather large abundance? The AI digester-bot might then assist a well-trained young human, by providing a ‘first pass’ digest.
An informed and curious citizen might then be given 52 credits a year to access such a digesting service. Each credit would pay for the cogent summary of a book chapter or article. The specialisation and reading-difficulty of a text would be assessed initially by the AI, with some texts deemed to merit the expenditure of more than one credit. The digestion of a dense book which evaluates the Norse linguistics allegedly to be found in Sir Gawain & The Green Knight might even need a crowd-funding consortium or similar, pooling their collective credits. But that seems unlikely.
My idea loses ground again when one considers it might work poorly with summaries-of-summaries. For instance I want the weighty “The Year’s Work in Tolkien” summary overview in the latest Tolkien Studies journal. But the issue is prohibitively expensive in print, and is locked away from the public on Project Muse. As an impoverished independent scholar I need to read every word of it to keep up with the field, and a summary will not suffice. No matter how good it is.
So… none of this is really ideal, though it would certainly create a welcome market in somewhere like Bangladesh for AI-assisted ‘academic summarisers’ servicing a ’52 credits a year’ system.
One other vague notion also arises. Google Books already exists and provides a partial ‘Look Inside’ solution for many who need to take a peep into an expensive £50-£120 academic collection or (far less often available) an obscure monograph. Could that existing service be expanded? Even if only through gritted teeth, as most librarians seem to despise Google Books. How about a mandate that says Google Books gets to show 100% of a volume produced with or originating from a public university employee, but only ten years after publication? Could that work in terms of the current economics of such things? I don’t know enough about publishing’s current ‘profits over time’ aspects there, as I haven’t been following the monographs debate. But such a book would still be effectively locked down (not OA in any meaningful sense), while still being readable by the global public. It would be a sort of automatic ‘Knowledge Unlatched’, running globally alongside the existing copyright systems and (because universal) not subject to political skew in terms of the books selected. It might also be retrospective.
21 Tuesday Sep 2021
Posted Academic search, Spotted in the newsin
React, an interesting new academic development in visual search. It works on the reverse-search principle: pick a picture, and see similar pictures in the results.
The prototype limits results to a couple of the UK’s larger national digitized art collections (National Archives, the V&A) and leavens these with the Edinburgh Botanic Garden for some flowers and curious pods and suchlike. An AI assists the “does it look like this…?” sorting.
29 Friday Jan 2021
A useful new analysis today from COAR, “Don’t believe the hype: repositories are critical for ensuring equity, inclusion and sustainability in the transition to open access”. Recent…
publishers’ comments portray gold open access as the only ‘legitimate’ route for open access, and attempt to diminish the repository (or green) route.
According to the author, some publishers are even implying that repositories have no aggregators, or are not present in Google Search or in specialist search-engines such as Scholar and GRAFT. Laughably, they apparently suggest that poor over-worked researchers will instead…
need to search through individual repositories to find the articles.
The publishers are also said to be trying to stop all but a sub-set of elite repositories from being used for data deposit, via…
proposing to define the repository selection criteria for where their authors’ should deposit research data. These criteria, which are very narrowly conceived, threaten to exclude thousands of national and institutional repositories as options for deposit.
Again, this sounds like it is designed to make researchers feel it’s more convenient to publish their article + data via a big publisher.
04 Sunday Oct 2020
Posted Academic search, Ooops!, Spotted in the newsin
“Subject indexing in humanities: a comparison between a local university repository and an international bibliographic service”, Journal of Documentation, May 2020.
… the use of subject index terms in humanities journal articles [is] not supported in either the world’s largest commercial abstract and citation database Scopus or the local repository of a public university in Sweden. The indexing policies in the two services do not seem to address the needs of humanities scholars for highly granular subject index terms with appropriate facets; no controlled vocabularies for any humanities discipline are used whatsoever.
28 Monday Sep 2020
Posted Academic search, Spotted in the newsin
Internet Archive Scholar, formerly the Fat Cat project, now live and purring. Full-marks for having that rarest of sidebar search-filters, “OA”, though “Fulltext” is presumably broader and thus the one most likely to be used most. It’s also great to see there’s now a keyword-based way to search across all those microfilm journal runs that Archive.org has been uploading recently.
I wouldn’t have used the open ISSN ROAD as a source, nor visually implied that it’s a possible quality-marker. But at least it’s being balanced against the more rigorous DOAJ, and there’s a yes/no flag for both services on the article’s record-page…
It’s good that the “Read full-text” button goes to a PDF copy at the WayBack Machine, and yet there is also a live link on the record-page that serves to keep a record of the source URL.
Not all record pages have full-text, though these are very rare. In which case the user is prompted to find and save…
Unfortunately IA Scholar doesn’t appear to respect “quote marks” in search, which is not ideal for a scholarly search engine. For instance a search for “Creationism” defaults to results for “creation”. Nor can it do Google-y stuff like intitle: or anything similar via the sidebar, though I guess such refinements may be yet to come. Update: the command is: title:
A quick test search for Mongolian folk song suggests it’s not wildly astray in terms of relevance. It’s not being led astray by ‘Song’ as a common Chinese author name, for instance, or mongolism as a genetic disease.
How far will Google Search index the fatcat URL? Will they block it from results in due course, for being too verbose and swamping results? Or just tweak the de-duplication algorithm to suppress it a bit? Well, they’re indexing it for now, and as such it’s been experimentally added to JURN. It may well come out again, but I want to test it for a while. If Google Search fully indexes, that should theoretically then give JURN users a way into all the microfilm journal-runs that Archive.org that has recently been uploading.