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1 Digital scientific information in 2007 Belgium Prepared for a presentation at ADEKUS = Anton.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Digital scientific information in 2007 Belgium Prepared for a presentation at ADEKUS = Anton."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Digital scientific information in 2007 Belgium Prepared for a presentation at ADEKUS = Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname, in Paramaribo, Suriname June 2007

2 2 These slides should be available from the WWW site (note: BIBLIO and not biblio)

3 3 Online literacy Online information sources and services »Introduction »Dictionaries and encyclopaedias »Internet directories and indexes »Current awareness services »Book databases »Fee-based information services »Databases about journal articles »Multimedia »Evolution - contents - summary - structure - overview of this presentation

4 4 Information literacy

5 5 Our world: future trends Future trends in our world Complexity  Dynamics and evolution  Speed and acceleration  Internationalization  Globalization  Economic products less based on natural resources and more on “knowledge” Answers / Requirements / Solutions / Reactions Knowledge and skills  Adaptability  Flexibility  Global co-operation  Mobility  Education, research, exploitation of knowledge is important

6 6 Information, computer and media literacy overlap Media literacy Computer literacy Information literacy

7 7 Information literacy: definition: the importance of information 1. To understand in general the nature, the value and the importance of information. The ability to recognize when information is needed, when information can help to make progress, to solve a problem, to make a decision…

8 8 Information literacy: definition: finding information 2. The ability to search, find, locate relevant, needed information! (Identify concepts, select information sources, formulate queries….) The ability to cope with information overload.

9 9 Information literacy: definition: evaluating information 3. The ability to evaluate the quality and suitability of retrieved information!

10 10 Information literacy: definition: managing information 4. The ability to manage information! (Saving information, ordering information in folders on computer, finding information in your own collection… = “personal information management”)

11 11 Information literacy: definition: sharing information 5. The ability to apply/use information effectively. The ability to keep up-to-date on the topics/subjects that are relevant for you. The ability to communicate with others, to share information with others! (Using citations, live presentations, electronic mail, your own WWW site, publishing…)

12 12 Online access information sources and services Introduction

13 13 Online information sources: summary The following gives a general overview of online accessible information sources. This overview is not limited to or focusing on a particular concrete subject domain/area.

14 14 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 0) Through the Internet, we can access information sources and information services. This has become increasingly important and interesting since The advantages are tremendous and well appreciated. However, the following are some of the remaining difficulties and bottlenecks.

15 15 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 1) Redundancy and overlap: On the one hand, there is too much information on some topics; in other words, the redundancy and overlap are high in many cases. Only few information sources: On the other hand, there are only few information sources on some topics.

16 16 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 2) No order is imposed on most sources. Quality checks / quality controls are not performed. Related to this: it is not required to register new information offered. Is the information that you find real, honest, authentic?

17 17 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 3) Change is the only constant: Information sources are constantly changing, growing, but sometimes disappearing.

18 18 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 4) Scattering: There is no single simple but powerful system to find relevant information through the Internet. In other words: integration / aggregation is still far from perfect.

19 19 Internet based information sources: problems / difficulties (Part 5) Slow: The Internet is in many places and for many applications not yet fast enough.

20 20 Online access information sources and services Types of online access information systems

21 21 Primary versus secondary computer sources / systems / services Primary sources /systems /services directly useful Examples: - books, - collections of articles on the Internet (like Hinari and Agora in ADEKUS) Secondary sources /systems /services ! »helping to access / use the primary services »“travel agencies”, “navigation services”...

22 22 Online access information sources and services Dictionaries and encyclopaedias accessible through the WWW

23 23 Dictionaries and encyclopedias through the WWW: introduction Dictionaries and encyclopedias are the first choice among many types of information sources, »when we do not need detailed information on a common topic »when we want to prepare a more detailed search on an unfamiliar topic, by searching for the right spelling, synonyms, context… Some dictionaries and encyclopedias are available through the WWW free of charge.

24 24 Dictionaries accessible through Internet and the WWW: example The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language »Over 200,000 entries, 70,000 audio word pronunciations, 900 full-page color illustrations »Available free of charge from Example

25 25 Encyclopedias accessible through Internet and the WWW: examples Encarta Concise Free Encyclopedia »http://encarta.msn.com/http://encarta.msn.com/ »Available in English and in some other languages Example

26 26 Encyclopedias accessible through Internet and the WWW: examples Encyclopædia Britannica only a small part is available free of charge + links to selected WWW sites »http://www.britannica.com/ [cited 2006]http://www.britannica.com/ Encyclopædia Britannica Concise »http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/http://education.yahoo.com/reference/encyclopedia/ Example

27 27 Encyclopedias accessible through Internet and the WWW: examples The Canadian Encyclopedia (in English and in French): »http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/ Example

28 28 Encyclopedias accessible through Internet and the WWW: examples Wikipedia A free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Example

29 29 Encyclopedias accessible through Internet and the WWW: overviews A list / overview of encyclopedia on the Internet: Other lists of encyclopedia on Internet can be found as a part of more general directories of Internet-based information sources. Example

30 30 Online access information sources and services Internet directories and indexes

31 31 Internet global subject directories: introduction They are virtual libraries with open shelves, for browsing. They are manually generated, man-made by many people. They can be browsed following a tree structure or a more complicated variation.

32 32 Internet global subject directories: pros and cons They cover a small number of selected WWW sites, in comparison with the total number of sites that are accessible  + Browsing is possible (formulating a query is not needed). + The selected, included sites should be better than average. - They are NOT suitable for deep, detailed, specific searches with a high coverage.

33 33 Internet global subject directories: Yahoo! A hypertext global subject directory can be found at Entries are NOT rated. Accessible free of charge. Example

34 34 Internet global subject directories: Yahoo!: screenshot of home page Example

35 35 Internet global subject directories: Yahoo! links in pediatrics Health > Medicine > Pediatrics: International Pediatric Chat - for professionals to share information and education regarding children's health care.International Pediatric Chat National Med/Peds Residents' Association - organization for residents, practioners and medical students interested in combined internal medicine and pediatrics.National Med/Peds Residents' Association Neonatology Network - information and communication platform for neonatologists and pediatricians.Neonatology Network Pediatria OnLine - qui si parla di bambini, fra pediatri e con le famiglie.Pediatria OnLine Pediatric Critical Care Pediatric Database (PEDBASE) - containing descriptions of over 500 childhood illnesses.Pediatric Database (PEDBASE) Pediatric Endocrinology Conference - LWPES/ESPE joint meeting occuring July Pediatric Endocrinology Conference Pediatric Endoscopic Photos - illustrating intestinal problems in children.Pediatric Endoscopic Photos Example

36 36 Internet global subject directories: dmoz Open Directory Project A hypertext global subject directory can be found at Accessible free of charge. It is allowed to use the contents also in other systems; this is indeed done in the Google Directory and Webbrain. Example

37 37 Internet global subject directories: dmoz: screenshot of the starting page Example

38 38 Internet global subject directories: Intute A collection of hypertext subject directories that focus on academic information sources can be found from 2006 at Accessible free of charge. Also tutorials are offered about how to find information in specific subject domains. Example

39 39 Internet subject directories: non-global, more specific systems a directory limited to sources in/of a country or region a directory restricted to a specific subject domain (“portal”) a global subject directory the complete WWW can lead to

40 40 Internet subject directories focusing on a specific subject domain: example Communication studies: »http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/communications/lrcs/http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/communications/lrcs/ Examples

41 41 Internet subject directories focusing on a specific subject domain: example Marine science and oceanography: »http://oceanportal.org/ = Examples

42 42 Internet subject directories focusing on a specific subject domain: example Fishing: »http://www.onefish.org/http://www.onefish.org/ Examples

43 43 Internet indexes: automated search tools Several systems allow to search for and to locate many items (addressable resources) in the Internet in a more systematic, direct way than by only browsing/navigating. These systems do NOT search the contents of computers through the real Internet in real time and completely when a user makes a query. Searching in that way would be much too slow due to limitations in the technology.

44 44 Internet indexes: scheme of the mechanism User searching for Internet based information Internet client hardware and software user interface to a search engine Internet information source Internet index search engine Internet crawler and indexing system database of Internet files, including an index

45 45 Internet indexes: description of the mechanism Each of these search systems is based on: a database of links to pages / URLs that can be retrieved by searching with queries through a big index that is built machine-made on the basis of the contents, the texts, of these pages (to build this database and to keep it up to date, pages are continuously collected from the Internet by a “robot” computer software system) a search system with a user interface in a WWW form, to allow the user to search through that database

46 46 Internet indexes: Google (Part 1) Available since 2001 with most of its features. The most popular system in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006…

47 47 Internet indexes: Google (Part 2) Full-text searching is possible of many files that are available through the WWW. Not only HTML and plain text pages are covered, but also the first part is indexed of many files in other file formats, such as »Adobe PDF, »Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint »Rich Text Format…

48 48 Internet indexes: Google Scholar Google Scholar allows us to search for more scholarly information sources, including journal articles. A beta (test) version has been available since November The system is accessible starting from the home page of Google as one of the additional services, or more directly from The online manual explains the system, but provides no details on algorithms applied and on coverage.

49 49 Internet indexes: Google Scholar: screenshot Example

50 50 Internet indexes: the coverage of Google Scholar The information is harvested in a more or less automatic way from the public access WWW and from databases of some scholarly publishers that publish »full-text, primary electronic journals »bibliographic, secondary, abstract databases including —the Ingenta database of journal articles —the Pubmed database —some databases of the company CSA

51 51 Internet indexes: MSN Web Search = Live Available from: Since Offered free of charge by Microsoft. You can search for WWW content. Since 2006 available from Example

52 52 Internet indexes: Scirus The search interface: Since Offers not only access to files in html format, but also to files in PDF. Is partly based on the Fast WWW search system. Example

53 53 Internet indexes: Scirus contents and coverage Allows you to search for more or less “manually” selected »scientific WWW pages, plus »the contents of some scientific, bibliographic databases. In the sense that Scirus is dedicated to scientific information, it is similar to Google Scholar. Example

54 54 Internet indexes: Scirus contents details Is offered free of charge by the publisher of scientific journals, named Elsevier. Offers bibliographic descriptions of the articles that are published in close to 2000 peer-reviewed journals that are made available through the Internet/WWW site ScienceDirect by Elsevier ! However, the full-text can be downloaded only when a fee has been paid to the publisher. The similar and competing open access search system named Google Scholar does NOT include these important data. Example

55 55 Internet indexes: Scirus contents details Files from several scientific open archives/repositories that contain scientific research articles that can be downloaded free of charge. Bibliographic references from the open access Medline/Pubmed database. Since 2005: more than 10 million patent descriptions Example

56 56 Internet indexes: Yahoo! Example An Internet search system is offered through This is offered BESIDES the well-established, classical Yahoo! subject directory.

57 57 Internet indexes cover only a part of the Internet: metaphore The “visible” part of Internet The “deep, hidden, invisible” part of Internet and the WWW, (that is not searchable using a global index like Google, Yahoo!...)

58 58 Internet indexes cover only a part of the Internet: introduction Why can Internet indexes find only a part of what is in fact available through the Internet? Quantitative technical limitations: »Each Internet search system has indexed only a part of the static WWW pages that are available for indexing. Qualitative technical limitations: »Besides the static WWW pages that Internet search engines try to cover, many other, quite different sources exist, that are also available through the Internet, but that are not incorporated in those search engines.

59 59 Internet Internet indexes cover only a part of the Internet: scheme WWW Databases and file archives accessible through the Internet telnet ftp... telnet ftp... CGI, ASP,... Rapidly changing information, such as news, weblogs=blogs… Information accessible only when passwords are used Static texts in the WWW that can be indexed ( = on HTTP server computers) covered partly by Internet indexes Word files PDF files

60 60 Databases accessible over the Internet: examples Medline/PubMed offers bibliographic descriptions of publications on medicine, free of charge. Example

61 61 Databases accessible over the Internet: examples Example “Our goal is to create a collection of freely available, previously difficult-to-access, academically-oriented digital resources that are easily searchable by anyone.”

62 62 Online access information sources and services Current awareness services focusing on WWW pages

63 63 Current awareness services focusing on WWW pages: Google Alerts Available at and then see the page with additional services or more directly from Since Can discover relevant changed or new WWW pages for you in the future. Is based on the popular Internet index Google. Works with search queries given by you that are stored on their server computer. Example

64 64 Current awareness services focusing on WWW pages: Google Alerts Example

65 65 Online access information sources and services Public access book databases

66 66 Public access book databases: introduction Even in this age of Internet-based information sources, a lot of information is still distributed in the form of printed books. The contents of most books is (still) not available on the Internet. Most general Internet search tools do NOT allow you to find out about the existence of books that may be interesting for you. So, specific search tools to find books can be useful.

67 67 Public access book databases: an overview (Databases by publishers.) (Fee-based databases by commercial providers) (Databases of computer-based versions of books.) Catalogue databases by book distributors / bookshops! Online public access catalogue databases of libraries Databases of scanned book pages (really taking off since 2004)

68 68 Book databases accessible free of charge: examples in U.S.A. Amazon.com (US): This company offers also different, more local versions that offer books in other languages, such as note: amazon, NOT amazone Subject description is poor. Take into account delivery costs: postage + tax Examples

69 69 Book databases accessible free of charge: examples in Europe Blackwell’s on the Internet (International, academic books): VLB for books in German For books in French Boeknet - De Nederlandse Internet Boekhandel (Dutch) Examples

70 70 Free public access federated search systems for books: introduction Also available free of charge are searches through the independent catalogue databases of several bookshops, in one and the same action. Furthermore the results from the various shops are presented in such a way that the user can easily compare them (for instance: price, delivery costs…) We can call these “meta-catalogues”.

71 71 Federated searching: scheme information sources portal for meta-searching = federated searching = cross-database searching portal for meta-searching = federated searching = cross-database searching End user End user End user End user

72 72 Free public access federated search systems for books: examples [accessed 2007] Takes into account your location (country) and calculates the cost to ship/send a book to you.http://www.addall.com/

73 73 Full-text databases of books: introduction Some organisations have scanned the contents of thousands of old as well as recent books, to make them searchable through the Internet.

74 74 Full-text databases of books: Amazon and choose BOOKShttp://www.amazon.com/ Since 2004

75 75 Full-text databases of books: Google Book Search In November The contents of this database is obtained »directly from book publishers, and »by scanning the contents of books from a few big libraries

76 76 Online Public Access Catalogues of libraries Mainly to find older books, the catalogues of libraries can be useful. Most are accessible online and free of charge.

77 77 General conclusion concerning book databases The one and only, international, complete, ideal, bibliographic database does NOT exist, but the united forces of the different available book databases should be satisfying.

78 78 Online access information sources and services Fee-based online public access information services

79 79 Types of online access information systems: “free” versus “fee” Public access information sources free of charge Fee-based online information services (NOT free of charge)

80 80 Types of online access information systems: “free” for members only Public access information sources free of charge Fee-based online information services (NOT free of charge) Fee-based online information services, made accessible “free of charge” by an institute to its members

81 81 Online access information sources and services Online access databases about journal articles

82 82 Online access databases about journal articles: overview Thousands of fee-based online access databases offer bibliographies or full-texts of journal articles in particular subject domains and published by many publishers. Many publishers offer searchable bibliographies, but only of their own publications. (for instance Elsevier, Emerald, Sage) Only few large databases offer access to bibliographies of articles published in journals from many publishers, free of charge.

83 83 Online access databases about journal articles: Ingenta (1) Ingenta allows you to search a bibliographic database of millions of journal articles, including titles, authors, in many cases abstracts. The organisation claims to be “The most comprehensive collection of academic and professional publications” Available from: Example

84 84 Online access databases about journal articles: Infotrieve Available from: »http://www.infotrieve.com/http://www.infotrieve.com/ »http://www3.infotrieve.com/http://www3.infotrieve.com/ Infotrieve allows you to search free of charge in a bibliographic database of the articles of more than journal titles and conference proceedings, NOT full-text.

85 85 Online access databases about journal articles: Scirus The search interface: This is a specialised Internet index that allows you to search for selected scientific information (only) on the WWW. This includes the peer-reviewed articles in the journals that are published in ScienceDirect by Elsevier. Offered free of charge by Elsevier. An article can be downloaded in full-text format only when a fee has been paid to the publisher.

86 86 Online access databases about journal articles: Google Scholar Google Scholar allows us to search for more scholarly information sources, including journal articles. A beta (test) version has been available since November The system is accessible starting from the home page of Google as one of the additional services besides the normal, classical WWW search. The online manual explains the system briefly and provides no details.

87 87 Online access databases about journal articles: Microsoft Academic Live Since April Free of charge. Allows searching in a database of »Bibliographic descriptions of articles published in a selection of academic journals, provided mainly by a limited number of publishers »Open Archives on the Internet, crawled/harvested by Microsoft

88 88 Online access databases about journal articles: DOAJ The Directory of Open Access Journals started in 2003 as a directory/database of titles of electronic journals that can be accessed by anyone free of charge. More recently, this system allows deeper searching (down to the level of the titles and even abstracts of journal articles) for an increasing number of the journals that are included in the directory.

89 89 Online access databases about journal articles: DOAJ screenshot

90 90 Online access information sources and services Finding multimedia files on the Internet

91 91 Finding multimedia files on the Internet: introduction Several public access search systems are available free of charge, to search the Internet for multimedia files: »images / pictures (either artwork, either photos, or both) »sound / audio files (music, speeches...); video

92 92 Finding images on the Internet: introduction Several public access search systems are available free of charge to search for images / pictures (either artwork, either photos, or both) on the Internet. When searching for images, the search results from such a system offer not only links to the image files on the Internet, but also directly small versions of the images (so-called “thumbnails”).

93 93 Examples Finding images on the Internet: screen shot of a Google image search

94 94 Examples Finding images on the Internet: examples of search engines (1) [accessed in 2007] or or and then go to searching ‘Images’http://images.search.yahoo.com/

95 95 Examples Finding images on the Internet: examples of search engines (2) ! or through [accessed in 2007] The largest database in this category (at least in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006…). For each result, not only a thumbnail is offered, but also directly the origin with the readable URL; this makes it easier to guess the relevance of the document.http://images.google.com/http://www.google.com/

96 96 Online access information sources and services Evolution

97 97 Online access information: evolution and future trends An increasing amount of information becomes available online. A growing amount of this online information becomes available free of charge. The quality and ease of use of software on server as well as client is growing. A consequence is: An increasing number of end-users searching for information online.

98 98 Online access information: easier information retrieval systems Individual information retrieval systems become easier: »they react faster; »they can provide access to more data/information in one action; »their user interfaces are simple, but more sophisticated, intelligent retrieval algorithms can nevertheless deliver satisfactory results in most simple cases.

99 99 Online access information: more complicated information market The whole information landscape consists of more and more decentralised information sources, each one bringing an individual user interface that should be mastered. Making the right, ideal choice among the sources becomes not easier, perhaps even more complicated every day.

100 100 Online access information: easy or complicated? In the case of simple information needs, the WWW and the search tools can work like “magic”. However, in the case of more complicated information needs, there is still is no “magic button” that brings you immediately to all the required information.

101 101 Questions? Suggestions? Topics for discussion?

102 102 You are free to copy, distribute, display this work under the following conditions: »Attribution: You must mention the author. »Noncommercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes. »No Derivative Works: You may not change, modify, alter, transform, or build upon this work. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.


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