I hope JURN users have been enjoying their free access to all of SAGE’s journal PDFs in January, via JURN’s search results. Thanks to SAGE for making them free, and also for allowing Google Search to index them at the PDF level. We’re now a week into February and their free access continues. I’m checking the free access URL daily, but there may soon come a point where JURN’s SAGE links hit paywalls again — perhaps for as long as 24 hours — before the indexing URL is removed.
Precis writing skills among recent American graduates: apparently disappearing faster than UC Berkeley’s federal funding…
“We had close to 500 applicants. Inasmuch as the task was to help us communicate information related to the work we do, we gave each of the candidates one of the reports we published last year and asked them to produce a one-page summary. All were college graduates. Only one could produce a satisfactory summary. … Our own research tells us that a large fraction of community college professors do not assign writing to their students because their students cannot write and the professors do not consider themselves to be writing teachers. It is no wonder that employers like us find it so hard to find candidates with serviceable writing skills.”
Admittedly precis and outline writing is a skill that’s only barely acquired after a good deal of practice, and then not by all in a class. It may help if a student has developed the knack of point-summarising by regularly taking hand-written outline lecture notes. Even then ‘getting it’ might require half a semester, rather than just a couple of hours of lessons. It’s a skill that’s likely to be especially difficult for a student who isn’t an avid advanced reader, ideally a reader of factual argumentative content that requires one to constantly unpick arguments on-the-fly.
Visit Britain provides nearly 15,000 selected copyright-free images, with a search box. The selection is obviously highly curated and high-quality, and no registration is required to download. If you have a pop-up blocker, you’ll need to whitelist media.visitbritain.com to get at the hi-res magazine-quality image download link. There are a few noticeable gaps in coverage, such as the major ceramics tourism hub which is the city of Stoke-on-Trent (one picture, on a search for “Stoke-on-Trent”).
Checked for link-rot and updated if needed: openECO: list of 700 ecology/nature titles indexed in JURN.
The tyranny of “relevance” sorting is rather wearing. Why is “relevance” the unchangeable default for various forms of search result? Because they’re so very rarely “relevant” (Google Search aside) and more often than not I’m looking for a “by date” ordering. I’ve been to the site before, and now I just want to see what’s new. If there’s one innovation I’d like to see in 2017 it’s a robust browser add-on, one which can be taught to identify the site’s relevance/date toggle and then auto-switches to “by date”.
JURN’s annual full link-check + repair is now complete. The checking of the indexed URLs is normally done August/September, so this year it has been running a few months late. Mostly because it took a few months, on and off. URL presence on Google Search is checked to the indexed path at http://www.site.com/journal/articles/pdfs/.. etc and not to http://www.site.com/ etc.
This checking is in addition to the weekly linkbot-enabled checking of the homepage URLs in the Directory.
A quick survey of some of the better free Photoshop book-cover mock-ups. Mock-ups are where you drop in the hi-res cover graphic for your own book, replacing the one in the graphic. All below were being offered without weird ‘installers’, ‘premium’ download accounts, mailing-list pop-ups or other tom-foolery, and they un-zipped fine.
Hardback Book Mockup, which looks suitable for the ‘easy-reading for hipsters’ sort of books.
Hardcover Book PSD Mockup, a chunky classic manual / textbook type of book. The download has a simple five-second timer-delay but works.
Free Book Mockup .PSD. A straightforward large tome, perhaps suitable for an encyclopaedia volume.
Propped Up 6 x 9 Paperback. The levitation effect looks a little odd, but could suit a title on the future of technology or similar.
9 x 7 Landscape Paperback Book Mockup. Could work nicely for a small Blurb print-on-demand photobook.
Photorealistic Book Mockup. Could suit a small volume of translation or poetry, although getting print-on-demand binding that looks as finely tooled as that might be a problem. 15 second download timer-delay, but it does download.
5 x 8 Mass Market Paperback, but with a little scaling on the background (to make it look larger) it might also be used for the cheap paperback of your 800-page academic brain-crusher.
My thanks to Klaus Graf. For a German-language blog post complaining about the lack of interest in making a good OA search engine, he has obtained and shown a screenshot of two results from OAFindr (by 1science aka One Science) for mongolian folk song. These keywords were used for my December 2015 group-test of OA search engines.
Neither of the two OAFindr results is in JURN, because they both come from a title published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education, a publisher which has long been on Beall’s List.
The owners of www.scoop.it have trapped all their free users. The service no longer offers any RSS feed, from mid August 2016. I’ve only just noticed, as I use RSS to bring posts into a blog and home page. Now you have to use their own “Integration” embedding, use of which requires a paid upgrade to a Business Account. Nor is there now any option to export or backup your Scoop.it blog, for which you would now need to use a third-party website ripper like HTTrack.
How to get around this bastardy…
Option 1. Really easy.
Go to the free Fivefilters Feed Creator, to solve the RSS part of the problem.
Add the root URL of your blog at Scoop.it. For instance, http://www.scoop.it/t/my-scoop-it-blog/ Below it in “look for links” type h2 which is the headline tag where Scoop.it puts its post titles within the Web page. Click Preview.
This will give you a basic free 10-item scraped post-listing as a viable RSS feed, suitable for embedding in the sidebar widget of a blog or on a home page. You can also use this to replace any defunct Scoop.it feeds in your RSS Feedreader.
For a small fee you can also buy the Fivefilters script and host it on your own server.
Option 2. Incredibly complicated.
Use Feed43, to solve the RSS part of the problem. This is similar to Fivefilters and also free, but the setup definitely needs an experienced coder to get the feed working. I’m guessing that there are more advanced options than Fivefilters under the hood, though?
Option 3. Nuke Scoop.it, and go to WordPress instead.
Use a free third-party website ripper like HTTrack to backup your Scoop.it, open a WordPress.com account and in a departing post on your Scoop.it tell your subscribers that you are now blogging elsewhere. Possibly there are WordPress templates out there, and/or browser add-ons, that make WordPress work like Scoop.it?
LifeTurner: a streamlined online service to help a scholarly author to put all their papers and published works in order, to upload them in a suitable format, and then to store them ‘a digital vault’ ready to be released to the world as Open Access on their death. The service could also help to ‘buy back’ rights to the author’s formerly commercial works, also negotiate any picture rights involved. Then the catalogue would be presented as beautifully formatted website alongside an authorised biography, and endowed in order to stay online forever. As far as I know, such a personal service doesn’t yet exist.
I’m fairly good as an online picture researcher, but lately… ugh. Open Web picture research on certain historical topics is rapidly becoming nearly impossible, because search results get saturated by the websites of swivel-eyed loons and vast commercial robo-stores. I’d suggest we need some kind of Web browser filter to rid search results of “conspiracy theory crazies” and “commercial stores”, at least. Even a filter that just flags ‘known Photoshop fakes’ would be great, perhaps via some kind of pattern recognition.
And… after two weeks it seems to be more or less over, bar some futile shouting. At least for now. To paraphrase Churchill, “this may be the end of the beginning” of Brexit.
Leave won the Brexit debates before the vote, against huge opposition. Then Leave won the biggest popular vote in British history. Now Osborne and Javid have belatedly come on board for Leave, nicely capping the way that Leave has also won the last two weeks of post-vote media skirmishing.
So the UK is leaving the EU, and probably sooner rather than later. My bet is for an April 2018 Leave, with all the trailing loose ends tied off by June 2019.
I can’t see that it’ll have any real impact on our open access journal publishing, which already seems well aligned with the free-booting outward-looking post-Brexit worldview. Beyond that, Brexit looks set to present a huge opportunity for our higher education, science, data and publishing sectors — once they stop the futile moaning and biting-of-carpets, and look to the future.
Flickr is no longer honouring Creative Commons searches for those not logged in as members of Flickr. Likewise, following a Google Search link to an album of someone’s photographs will just get you a blunt “404 Not Found” page — but if you log in to Flickr then the album will appear as usual.
LitMed: Literature Arts Medicine Database is a 3,000-item annotated bibliography covering fiction and poetry, as well as non-fiction. Noted here but not added to JURN. While some of the records have quite extensive notes and bibliographies, and all the comments are useful in some way, some of the comments are rather short and subjective and lack links to full-text.
The DOAJ TOCs and article pages are once again appearing in JURN’s search results. The DOAJ’s Google presence is still not quite fully ‘clean’ of its many “An error has occurred” pages, but my tests indicate that Google’s current level of re-indexing has removed about 80% of them. The DOAJ had been temporarily removed from JURN in mid May, due to its many “An error has occurred” pages — resulting from the DOAJ’s mass removal of 3,300 journals.
The A-Z list of 700 ecology/nature titles indexed in JURN is now hosted on this main blog. Please update your bookmarks and Web links.