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.