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SciTech Library Question

Occasional postings about issues and concerns of interest (but not limited to) engineering and scitech librarians. "Librarians are hiding something" - Steven Colbert, 26 March 2007

Last Build Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2011 10:55:14 -0700

Copyright: Copyright 2011

STLQ on Permanent Hiatus

Thu, 14 Apr 2011 10:55:14 -0700

.: As it has been over two years since my last post, it is evident that STLQ's time has come to an end. I want to thank everyone who has followed my posts here since the blog began in April 2003. I continue to maintain my personal blog, The Pod Bay Door, should you wish to follow me there.

Thanks again, everyone!

Perhaps The Final Word on Availability of Bulk Chemical Prices

Wed, 04 Mar 2009 08:50:10 -0700

.: As many of you know, I've been waging a campaign for the past three years with ICIS Chemical Business in hopes that it would maintain and update the bulk chemical prices from 28 August 2006, which was the last time these prices were published in what was then known as Chemical Market Reporter. Selected prices had been updated for 2007 and 2008, and I recently wrote to Simon Robinson, Online Editor for, and asked if updates were forthcoming for 2009. Simon wrote back to confirm that this will not be happening, unfortunately. He wrote:

As you say it is that time of year again that your students start putting their design projects together. I am glad that you find the August 2006 numbers useful. We did up date them last year, but as I am sure that you realise 2009 promises to be a very tough year in the chemical sector and also for information providers to that sector. As such we can’t really promise to update the numbers this year, or fill in the holes that you have found in the database on our site. This is because our resources are going to be fully committed elsewhere.
Regarding my ongoing concern that chemical engineering students are and remain ICIS' future customers, and that consideration must be given to them accordingly, he wrote:
I appreciate that Chemical Engineering students are the seed corn that will ensure the chemical industry’s success in the future and are potential long term customers for ICIS products. However, they are not existing customers, and if 2009 is going to be about anything for companies operating in the chemicals sector it will be about servicing the information needs of our existing subscribers.

I thank Simon and Penny Wilson, his predecessor, for keeping the lines of communication open with me for the past three years as we worked to try to solve this very serious concern.

I hope that you will understand the hard commercial reality in which we operate, as part of a multinational company.

I wrote back to Simon, and expressed my disappointment in his response. I noted that these bulk chemical prices are the only resource for access to such data for chemical engineering students. I did thank him for keeping the dialogue between us open and honest, and asked if the ICIS Students site would be maintained, along with the 28 August 2006 price list, for the time being. He wrote:
Thanks for you kind and understanding reply. It is tough in the world of business at the moment and like other companies we’re looking at our cost base. That said, since the indicative prices are up on the website now, there is little danger of them coming down in the foreseeable future. I am not certain, though, that there will be enough resource here to update them this year or in the future. I realise that these numbers give your students the feel of a real life project, but this year some chemical prices have gyrated wildly and almost no price indications would have given them the certainty that a project would be profitable by completion. .

We are unlikely to significantly extend the students site beyond its current scope. But we are upgrading our ICIS connect site which might be a good place for your students to interact and ask questions of the industry directly.

So while I'm disheartened with ICIS' decision to no longer update the August 2006 prices, I am grateful to Simon for confirming that the Indicative Prices page will remain on the ICIS site for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, we as engineering librarians will need to find other bulk chemical pricing resources for our chemical engineering students, which could prove to be very difficult indeed.

SPIE to Launch Open-Access Journal in 2009

Mon, 22 Dec 2008 12:57:25 -0700

.: SPIE has announced it will be launching a new open-access title, SPIE Reviews, in January 2009. From the SPIE press release:

December 12, 2008 -- SPIE announced today the launch in mid-2009 of the new open-access journal SPIE Reviews under the editorship of William T. Rhodes. The new journal will publish original, in-depth review articles on emerging and evolving fields in applied optics and photonics of use to researchers as well as industry innovators.

"Articles will serve both as valuable overviews of significant new technologies and as portals to the primary literature in those areas for practitioners, researchers, and students." Dr. Rhodes said. "The optics community has long needed a good journal of review articles. I am extremely pleased that SPIE is launching this new publication, and doubly pleased because it comes at no cost to readers or authors." Rhodes is a professor of electrical engineering and Associate Director of the Imaging Technology Center at Florida Atlantic University, and Emeritus Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.

Please see the full press release here.

ticTOCs - Journal Tables of Contents Service

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 09:12:58 -0700

.: From an e-mail received today from Roddy MacLeod:

Keeping up-to-date with the scholarly literature just became much easier, thanks to a new service called ticTOCs - Journal Tables of Contents Service.

ticTOCs is a new scholarly journal tables of contents (TOCs) service. It’s free, its easy to use, and it provides access to the most recent tables of contents of over 11,000 scholarly journals from more than 400 publishers. It helps scholars, researchers, academics and anyone else keep up-to-date with what’s being published in the most recent issues of journals on almost any subject.

Using ticTOCs, you can find journals of interest by title, subject or publisher, view the latest TOC, link through to the full text of over 250,000 articles (where institutional or personal subscriptions, or Open Access, allow), and save selected journals to MyTOCs so that you can view future TOCs (free registration is required if you want to permanently save your MyTOCs). ticTOCs also makes it easy to export selected TOC RSS feeds to popular feedreaders such as Google Reader and Bloglines, and in addition you can import article citations into RefWorks (where institutional or personal subscriptions allow).

You select TOCs by ticking those of interest - thousands of TOCs, within a tick or two (hence the name ticTOCs).

ticTOCs has been funded under the JISC Users & Innovations programme, and has been developed by an international consortium consisting of the University of Liverpool Library (lead), Heriot-Watt University, CrossRef, ProQuest, Emerald, RefWorks, MIMAS, Cranfield University, Institute of Physics, SAGE Publishers, Inderscience Publishers, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), Open J-Gate, and Intute.

For the full press release, please see:

Calling Canada's librarians - the Canadian Public Domain needs you!

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 23:26:08 -0700

.: From the Creative Commons Canada site:

Access Copyright (The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency) and Creative Commons Canada, in partnership with Creative Commons Corp. and the Wikimedia Foundation, invite Canada's library community to help us test the Canadian Public Domain Registry beta website.

The ground-breaking project – the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada – will create an online, globally searchable catalogue of published Canadian literary works. The Registry's integrated rights calculator allows users to automatically determine each work's copyright status on an evolving basis. The Registry will also link to digital versions of the work and provide information about where a paper-copy can be purchased, when available.

In essence, we're building a public domain library and that's why we need you (Canada's librarians) to help test our beta website and ensure the Registry is ready for the public-at-large. We also invite leaders in the library community to get involved with charting a course for its future. Any amount of participation is helpful and welcome.

Please contact us now, we will reply with further instructions, directions to the beta test website and the secret password.

What: Canadian Public Domain Registry beta test
When: October 15 - December 15, 2008
Who: The Canadian Library community
Where: Contact for details

ISTL Fall 2008 n55 Now Available

Mon, 17 Nov 2008 12:30:15 -0700

.: The #55 Fall 2008 issue of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship is now available for viewing. Details, as seen in an e-mail circulating today:


Theme: Web 2.0

Science Experiments: Reaching Out to Our Users by Maureen Nolan, Lori Tschirhart, Stephanie Wright, Laura Barrett, Matthew Parsons, and Linda Whang, University of Washington and Dartmouth College

Web 2.0 as Catalyst: Virtually Reaching Out to Users and Connecting Them to Library Resources and Services by Norah Xiao, University of Southern California

An Undergraduate Science Information Literacy Tutorial in a Web 2.0 World by Jeanine Marie Scaramozzino, California Polytechnic State University

Chat Widgets for Science Libraries
by John J. Meier, The Pennsylvania State University

Making Research Guides More Useful and More Well Used by Michal Strutin, Santa Clara University

Geospatial Technology Support in Small Academic Libraries: Time to Jump on Board?
by Carrie M. Macfarlane and Christopher M. Rodgers, Middlebury College

Podcasting the Sciences: A Practical Overview by Eugene Barsky and Kevin Lindstrom, University of British Columbia

Refereed Articles

Dissertation Citations in Organismal Biology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale: Implications for Collection Development by Jonathan Nabe and Andrea Imre, Southern Illinois University

Electronic Resources Reviews

DOE Data Explorer: The Data
by Meredith Ayers, Northern Illinois University

Book Reviews

The MLA Essential Guide to Becoming an Expert Searcher Reviewed by Thomas Harrod, University of Maryland

Digital Literacy: Tools and Methodologies for Information Society Reviewed by Jane Duffy, Dalhousie University

Tips from the Experts

by Charles F. Huber, University of California, Santa Barbara


An Old Fogey Looks at the Reference (R)Evolution by Linda Shackle, Arizona State University

Reinventing Science Librarianship: Models for the Future, October 2008

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 09:13:51 -0700

.: Proceedings of the Association of Research Libraries' 2008 Fall Forum, Reinventing Science Librarianship: Models for the Future, October 2008. are now available online.

Science 2.0 Gains Another Search Engine: Q-Sensei From Lalisio

Thu, 21 Aug 2008 10:34:28 -0700

.: Barbara Quint reports in the 21 August 2008 InfoToday about another new search engine that has joined the ranks of other like Scirus and Google Scholar, to be used for searching topics in science and technology. Excerpt from her article:

Another sci-tech search engine has joined others to serve the needs and tastes of scientists. This one comes from a small company whose main service is the Lalisio social network for scientists. While the 2 million-plus article content nowhere near reaches the size and scope of behemoths such as Elsevier’s Scirus or Google Scholar, the Q-Sensei search engine ( has a metadata orientation that offers some interesting search capabilities. It can suggest alternative search strategies and allows searchers to narrow and focus their search results in a manner familiar to traditional searchers. At this point, it only searches open access content from ArXiv and PubMed Central, but parallel services also reach IngentaConnect and a series of book citation sources.

The arXiv database focuses on papers in physics, mathematics, nonlinear science, computer science, quantitative biology, and statistics. PubMed Central, from the National Library of Medicine, archives biomedical and life science journals. Under recent regulations, NIH-funded research must emerge—in time—into open access on PubMed Central. The National Institutes of Health are among the largest funders of medical research worldwide. In handling PubMed Central content, Lalisio uses MeSH thesaurus headings.

In addition to suggesting search strategies and terms, Q-Sensei lets users search within the search suggestions. It structures searches within categories, e.g., author, keyword, publisher, language, and year of publication. Users can remove search suggestions as well as adding them to focus search results. The service analyzes search results into different metadata categories, such as author, keyword, or document type, and displays terms in these categories that appear most often.

ISTL Summer 2008 n54 Now Available

Wed, 20 Aug 2008 15:01:37 -0700

.: The Number 54, Winter-Spring 2008 volume of Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship is now available for viewing.


Comparison of Journal Citation Reports and Scopus Impact Factors for Ecology and Environmental Sciences Journals by Edward Gray and Sarah Z. Hodkinson, Duke University

Local Evaluation of Chemistry Journals
by Joseph R. Kraus and Rachel Hansen, University of Denver

Assessing Customer Satisfaction at the NIST Research Library: Essential Tool for Future Planning by Rosa Liu and Nancy Allmang, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Choosing a Hand-Held Inventory Device
by Lois Green, Janet Hughes, Verne Neff, and Trish Notartomas, The Pennsylvania State University


Science Documentaries at Your Library: Two Penn State Programs by Emily Rimland, Nancy J. Butkovich, and Linda Musser, The Pennsylvania State University


Resources for Information Literacy Instruction in the Sciences by Maribeth Slebodnik, Purdue University and Annie Zeidman-Karpinski, University of Oregon


Web of Science's "Citation Mapping" Tool By Brian D. Simboli, Lehigh University

DOE Data Explorer
Reviewed by Meredith Ayers, Northern Illinois University


On Impact of OA, the Jury is Still Out
by David Flaxbart, Viewpoints Editor

ICIS Chemical Business Updates Its August 2006 Bulk Chemical Prices

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:13:37 -0700

.: Good news to those of us who need access to current bulk chemical prices. Simon Robinson of ICIS Chemical Business in London confirmed in an e-mail today that 62 of the chemical prices on the 26 August 2006 list of indicative chemical prices, which was the last full list of bulk chemical prices published by ICIS in the final issue of Chemical Market Reporter, have been updated to reflect 2008 prices. Simon writes:

...we have managed to give updated prices on 62 materials in the list, which is effectively all of the prices that we cover in that list now. Our portfolio of pricing information is rather more focused on the petrochemicals sector than the fine and specialty businesses, especially since the merger of ICIS Chemical Business Americas and Europe into a single publication.

One of the features of the new list is that several prices are quoted over quite wide ranges. This is because there have been considerable variations in the price of a number of oil-based commodities. It might add a little verisimilitude to your students’ projections of profitability to see if they can find the minimum price at which their processes are profitable.

Via UBC's Information Repository: 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates Conference Proceedings Online

Thu, 31 Jul 2008 09:40:11 -0700

.: My pal Kevin Lindstrom, Science & Engineering Librarian at UBC Library, asked me to pass along this post regarding the availability of the conference papers from the 6th International Conference on Gas Hydrates Conference, which was held in Vancouver from 06-20 July 2008. Select conference papers presented at ICGH 2008 are now available online at cIRcle, the UBC Library's Information Repository. It's a good example of how effective a digital repository can be when papers can be uploaded to such a site only days after a conference has been completed. More information on cIRcle is available here.

Podcasts From SLA

Thu, 31 Jul 2008 09:36:57 -0700

.: A number of podcasts from selected sessions at the SLA Conference in Seattle, 14-18 June 2008, are available for listening via the Click U site. You do not need to be a member of SLA to listen to the podcasts (as best I can determine).

ICIS To Update August 2006 Bulk Chemical Prices

Tue, 29 Jul 2008 10:05:49 -0700

.: This morning I was in conversation with Simon Robinson of ICIS Connect, regarding the state of ICIS' historical bulk chemical prices from the 28 August 2006 (and final) issue of Chemical Market Reporter, now known simply as ICIS Chemical Business. My concern was twofold: 1) would ICIS continue to maintain this list and make it available to users everywhere, especially the thousands of chemical engineering students requiring these prices for their design projects, and 2) would some of the prices be updated to reflect 2008 prices, where available?

Simon confirmed both my concerns: the prices will remain, and ICIS will be working to update the chemicals to give indicative prices for 2008 where available. This is great news to those of us who work with students in chemical and materials engineering, who will be requiring access to such prices for their forthcoming design projects.

For those interested in the STLQ discussion thread involving ICIS and Chemical Market Reporter, all the posts can be found here. I am very pleased that ICIS remains committed to maintaining this price list, which is absolutely invaluable to students and faculty working in chemical engineering design classes.

Also of note is the actual ICIS Connect site itself. The site includes Forums, one of which is for Students. Students can post a question under headings such as, "I Need Help With ..." There is also a section, called "Downloads" (for now, anyway), in which documents of interest from many different categories can be downloaded for use, and users can also upload documents of potential use and interest to other users of the site. The term "Downloads" needs to be changed to better reflect the content of that part of the site, and Simon is working on a number of upgrades to ICIS Connect, including rebranding some of the content.

In order to make ICIS Connect successful and of use and value to our chemical engineering students, we need to publicize it, and encourage them to make use of the resources there.

100 Awesome Youtube Vids for Librarians

Fri, 18 Jul 2008 14:41:18 -0700

.: Here's a link to 100 library-related videos via YouTube. Excerpt from the page:

Librarians should no longer be thought of as fuddy duddy types with long dusty cardigans or pince-nez dangling around their necks. These days, public librarians and academic librarians are on the cutting edge, dedicated to bringing their resources and their patrons into the 21st century with technology. Librarians are also bloggers, IT professionals, database managers, technology mavens; and these YouTube videos and tutorials are just for them. Watch these vodcasts and recordings to learn about new library tools, interesting literacy campaigns and outreach programs, and even hysterical videos about library stereotypes that are circulating on the Internet.

100 Free Library 2.0 Webinars and Tutorials

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 09:17:43 -0700

.: As much as I loathe the word "webinar" (what's wrong with "web seminar"? Why must we invent such dorky words?), this is a good list of, well, web seminars covering 2.0 applications of interest to librarians.