Notes from a presentation on library spaces by Keith Webster

(by Christina Pikas) Jun 03 2015

My larger place of work (the major research institution of which my lab is a part) has an annual assembly of library folks from all the various libraries and hospital libraries. We almost always have interesting speakers. This year we had Keith Webster, the Dean of University Libraries at Carnegie Mellon University. I hope he will put his slides on SlideShare as the pictures are important for understanding his meaning. I tweeted some key points - as fast as I could on my phone.  I'll incorporate those here with some remembered details and minor edits of typos:

 

For STEM, we have been successful in getting most of the stuff they want online. When they come in, it's to complain that something isn't working or they couldn't figure out how to get what they want


I found this point to be obvious, but important. If you think of what we do with scientists who leave now and them donating papers and computers and disks and whatnot to archives... And historians of science and even people with IP disputes looking through these... What happens when these working papers and data are distributed through new cloud services, each with (or without) its own preservation strategy? There's no automatic institutional access or backup if something happens to the scientist.


This is also obvious but important. I think with the informationist and embedding models we're getting at this. We aren't really about policing access to physical collections (if we ever were). Connecting people to information has to be as a partner in the research and teaching enterprise.

He then went through generations of spaces. The first was basically the monks and books chained to desks. Then there were closed stacks and reading rooms. Then open stacks but still mediated by librarians. ....

Somewhere in here more things started to be moved to offsite storage for more computers in more places and staff being moved around. First it was less used, then it was basically everything.


He had a great picture for this. It was better than this picture:
panopticon

More should be said about the roving. When they disestablished the reference desk, they had librarians roving to answer questions. The students did. not. like. at all. They felt like they were being followed and tracked. So the library stopped the service after a matter of weeks.


Also a neat point. As the classrooms are "flipped" and education has gone from lecture mode with exams to project based and group work based, the library needs to update its support. Instead of a single session at the beginning of the semester, it's partnership throughout. From what I hear from my academic colleagues, they have mostly done this already as long as the faculty will let them.


I still think this is a valid question for us to ask. Why should the library provide unattended study space with no books? Should that be student services or someone else? He said that their surveys consistently showed that the students wanted this service from the library. The library was known as a place to support serious work.

Seriously - when you're there for 8 hours and you can't leave your stuff because it will be stolen... Food? Lockers? Nicer potties? Sleeping space?

This is what they wanted: Qantas first class lounge Sydney 1


Another valid question: why should the libraries provide maker spaces? The disciplines provide them but often have higher quality industrial machines with lots more training needed. They may not be open to dabblers. The library is a neutral ground where historians can model artifacts, etc.

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ACS and Just Accepted Manuscripts

(by Christina Pikas) May 05 2015

A colleague posted on Chminf-l asking about the American Chemical Society's Just Accepted Manuscripts program. Most of the immediate responses were to explain the program, which is not what she asked. Here's the site's description:

"Just Accepted" manuscripts are peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. They are posted online prior to technical editing, formatting for publication and author proofing. The American Chemical Society is posting just accepted, unredacted manuscripts as a service to the research community in order to expedite the dissemination of scientific information as soon as possible after acceptance. "Just Accepted" manuscripts appear in full as PDF documents accompanied by an HTML abstract. They are accessible to all readers and citable by the Digital Object Identifier (DOI®). The manuscripts posted on the "Just Accepted" Web site are not the final scientific version of record; the ASAP (As Soon As Publishable) article (which has been technically edited and formatted) represents the final scientific article of record. The "Just Accepted" manuscript is removed from the Web site upon publication of the ASAP article, and the ASAP article has the same DOI as the "Just Accepted" manuscript. The DOI remains constant to ensure that citations to "Just Accepted" manuscripts link to the final scientific article of record when it becomes available.

The FAQ explains that this is opt-in and these copies will be removed when the ASAP and final versions are live.

Chemistry is kind of a funny field when you talk about scholarly communication and sharing (see and read everything from Theresa Velden's dissertation research on this, in particular). Journals are dominated by ACS with RSC and the other scholarly publishers following. In some areas like synthetic chemistry, there's a real reluctance to even share at meetings, no desire to post pre-prints, and tight control over data access. In more computational and analytic areas, it's a little more relaxed.

Pre-print server efforts in chemistry have been mostly unsuccessful. For one thing, the journals will not take articles posted elsewhere first. Second, there's this big tension with priority (now moving to first to file maybe will change patent things but there's still recognition issues).

With all that, there are still efforts to require self-archiving broadly across fields and to have disciplinary pre-print servers. The big publishers who are rolling in dough from the subscriptions from all the ACS accredited programs do not want to see these archives and self-archiving succeed, even though it's been shown that it doesn't harm subscriptions in physics.

Anyway, as I said on the list, this is a pretty smart move by ACS. It solves the problem of getting the science out there sooner, but still with peer review, and on the hosted platform. This version disappears and the doi points you to the official version when available so they keep the traffic in house. I'm sure the embargoes go from official publication, too, so this is more time the publisher has to disseminate the content and get attention before government funders and institutional repositories can share it.

I think it will be accepted by chemists because it is from ACS and it is after peer review. We'll see, though, if there are any typos and whatnot that offend people.

 

Edit to add: Thurston Miller points to a few viewpoint papers in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters on OA (the papers themselves are not OA).

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XKCD is so me and my coding

(by Christina Pikas) Apr 17 2015

Check out the alt text on the original site.

XKCD cartoon from: http://xkcd.com/1513/

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Straddling the fan-girl critical thinker divide, while trying not to be not-even-wrong

(by Christina Pikas) Apr 12 2015

Working on the tougher bits of my dissertation now (defense is really scheduled, finally), and trying to come to terms with my relationship with the science blogosphere and twitterverse (or whatever). Some other articles - and one was particularly cringeworthy - on the topic have been in the not-even-wrong category. It's like someone trying to explain your culture to you and just getting it wrong (like my old boss who kept insisting I was Orthodox even though I told her a million times I'm Catholic, just Eastern Rite/Ukrainian).

Am I in a privileged position here on Scientopia? To have attended Science Online for several years? To have met and chatted with many science bloggers? Thought deeply about science blogging since about 2004?

Am I just a fan girl who gushes about the wonders of blogging to anyone who will listen? Despite being told that it's dead? (at least people have finally stopped telling me wikis will take over. siiiiiigh). Am I uncritical in my support?

If I am in a privileged position as a long time (peripheral?) participant observer, how do I convey that? These other articles - I can often see how they got to the results and interpretations they did, but meh.  Maybe I'm fooling myself, too, but in a different way? they are published, I am not.

So looking at definitions of prolonged engagement and persistent observation and well, damn, I had better go to bed as a) Easter tomorrow and b) twin 3 year olds get up when they want to.

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Why FriendFeed Rocked

(by Christina Pikas) Apr 10 2015

If you're a librarian or into open access or scholarly communication, at some point you've probably heard of FriendFeed. The service closed today after seven years and it was kind of like the final episode of Cheers or MASH. It had been acquired by Facebook a while ago and development had stopped. Reliability was down. The number of active users was down and had never been anywhere near Facebook even in its prime. There was no way for it to make money - no ads, no premium features, no subscriptions.

With that said, there are a lot of people who are really torn up about them shutting it down. We built a community there - a stay at home mum from Australia, an engineer from Detroit, a software developer from Alberta, several ministers, lots of other neat people, and the LSW. The Library Society of the World is sort of an anti-association. Read Walt's discussion of that in his May 2015 Cites and Insights (pdf)

So why did it work? When I started with it, there were lots of social software things all over - blogs, Twitter, Flickr, del.icio.us... and there were more and more as time went on. Many of these act like they will be your one and only place. But that's obviously not true. They have different functions, different communities, different affordances... Used to be you could share things from your Google Reader account but that wasn't the same.

What FriendFeed did is to bring all of these feeds in to one place, with a little snippet or picture, and let you comment and reshare and like. You could share something right there, but you didn't have to. It would try to group things if you had your blog posting directly and your Twitter stream duplicated that. You could see what your friends liked and find new and interesting people that way. For the first few years I was on there I was only going to follow library people, well, and of course Heather, and Cameron, and Neil, and Egon, and ... but I was glad I did get to enjoy and eventually follow some really neat people.

If someone posted something you didn't want to see, you could hide just that post, or you could hide things they shared via a particular feed. You could block someone completely so you wouldn't have to see their comments.

I've played with a lot of other tools, but FriendFeed just worked for me.  It was a great source of recipes, if nothing else!

There was a team of savvy folks archiving as much as they could. So far, the best way to see what it was like is to see Micah Wittman's FriendFeedmemorial.com . That's really pretty cool.

So where is LSW now? We're trying Discourse at thelsw.org (doesn't allow you to bring feeds in but you can get a cod badge). We're also trying http://www.frenf.it which is really, really cool... but we don't know how sustainable. And we followed each other on Twitter... but it's not the same.

I miss it already!

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Which are the bestest? Top articles from a diverse organization - part 1

(by Christina Pikas) Apr 01 2015

In which Christina goes into the weeds, yet not really thoroughly enough... anyhoo.

So MPOW is approaching an anniversary and we're looking at retrospectives of all sorts. What are the top articles we've published in the literature? What do you mean by top? Ok, so let's say that top means most cited - just for argument's sake. Is it really fair to compare a biomed article to an aerospace engineering article? An article published last week (ok, if in a special issue it might come complete with citations attached) with one published 5 years ago? 10? 20? Review articles with .... you see where this is going.

I had thought to normalize by 5 or 10 year periods and use the subject categories in WoS. But... 1) there are a lot of them 2) they overlap 3) argh.  And things like Acoustics, for example. JASA covers biomed like hearing stuff and it covers underwater sound... but they're not cited the same... at...all.  The acoustics category covers medical journals, physics journals, and maybe some math and engineering (I'd have to look again to be sure).

At the same time, the nice folks there on SIGMETRICS had a argument starting last weekend and going through the beginning of the week on various normalization schemes. One of the complaints against the impact factor is that it's an average and averages don't work on skewed distributions. And the WoS categories suck.

So... what I'm trying to do now is both fractional counting (and I'm checking to make sure I know what that is, but  I think you don't get credit for 1 citation you get credit for 1/(total things cited by citing article) so like a citation from a review article is worth a lot less than one from a regular article because it may be like +1/200 vs. +1/30). And then I'm normalizing by percentile. Not even normal percentile but this Hazen(1914) percentile. Tricky.

I'll be sure to share the script once I've got it. So far the method looks like:

  1. Find my org, relevant time period, articles only in WoS.
  2. Sort by cited, pull off the most cited or all the ones cited more than x or something. Save them down in plain text full record (probably don't need citations?)
  3. Then for each of the top, click on Times Cited. Export them all down in Tab del Windows UTF-8
  4. Move them over to data folder
  5. Run R script (to be shared when I'm sure it's right) to get the new TCs and stick them into the file from 2

*note: if your thingy was cited more than 500 times, you can't export them all at once. Also this would not be practical if you have someone with like thousands of citations. If you do, I would just take the plunge and call that one of the best. We only had 5 over 500.

Next, I'll put them into the ISI.exe script and then the i3 script from here.  See what happens.

As for normalizing by year. I was thinking about maybe omitting a couple of years or so and then doing 5 year bins 3 times and then doing 10 year bins. Not sure. Willing to take advice. It's a 75 year history, but there was a similar paper done in 1986 so I only agreed to go back to 1980. Before a certain time - no longer necessarily 1973 - the affiliation/address aren't there. One very nice retiree I had the pleasure to meet just died and I found that he was listed in Garfield's top cited articles. His work on polar gases is not coming up in the search so it's definitely not complete that far back.

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Another dissertation on science blogs

(by Christina Pikas) Mar 31 2015

Any readers interested in my work (and you'd probably have to be following me for a while to even know what that is), will probably be interested in that of Paige Brown Jarreau. She's a PhD Candidate at LSU and is defending any day now. She did a massive set of interviews and a survey and has shared some of her results on FigShare, on her blog, and in her Twitter stream. So far we've mostly had a glimpse of her findings - can't wait to see the rest of her dissertation (good grief the rate I'm going I guess I'll get a chance to cite it in mine :) )

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OAuth in TwitteR much easier now, whew!

(by Christina Pikas) Mar 18 2015

Not like I should be messing with this at this point, but I wanted to retrieve a tweet to provide evidence for a point. Anyway, instead of the like 50 step process in the past, you now follow the instructions in the TwitterR readme: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/twitteR/README.html with the exception of you now put your access token and secret in the *single command* now, too, like so:

setup_twitter_oauth(consumer_key, consumer_secret, access_token=NULL, access_secret=NULL)

Then you can just search or whatever. Wow!

Very nice. How much time did I spend playing with the old method?

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Do too - I'll show YOU!

(by Christina Pikas) Mar 15 2015

Lookin' for some lit as one does when one is supposed to be writing instead of adding to the impossible list of things to double back to add to the lit review... Via who-cited-who and Scholar, ended up on a TandF page. Looked interesting - right click, reload through proxy for my place of work. It sneers - "sorry you do not have access to this article" - access options include paying $40 for the article. Um. No.  LibX has kindly highlighted the doi... clicked... got to my beautifully customized SFX page (with Umlaut) and it's full text on a major aggregator. Take that you! Ha!

And, this is probably even better than seeing it at the publisher, because our custom FindIt page tells me the article has been cited 23 times (oh well maybe not I see that TandF does offer that info, too).

Sadly though, I'll bet hardly anyone at my place of work would have thought to take this path.

 

Edited to add: moments later looking at JSTOR. They kindly ask if I think I should have access... then let me pick my institution and do a shibboleth login et voila. (price would have been $14 without).

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Polar and Ellipsoid Graphs in iGraph in R

(by Christina Pikas) Mar 12 2015

I'm still working to do some additional graphs for the project mentioned in this earlier post. It was too crowded with the Fruchterman Reingold layout, so my customer suggested we do a circular layout with one category in the center and the remaining on the outer ring. I said sure! But when I went to do it, I found only star layout (one in the center) and ring layout. No polar layout. I tried a few things but finally broke down and asked. Quick perfect answer on StackOverflow (as often happens).

That led to this:

Polar Layout

But hey, still pretty jammed up. So what about an ellipse? Sure!

What's that equation again?

 \frac {x^2}{a^2} + \frac {y^2}{b^2} =1

 

But that's a hard way to do it when I need x and y values in a matrix. This looks better:

x = a \cos(\theta) , y=b \sin(\theta)

And this is how I did it.

ellip.layout <- function(a,b, theta) {
cbind(a*cos(theta), -b*sin(theta))
}

systems <- which(V(g)$category == "System")
comp <- which(V(g)$category != "System")

a<- ifelse(V(g)$category == "System",4,5)
b<- ifelse(V(g)$category == "System",0.5,1)

theta <- rep.int(0, vcount(g)) #creates a blank vector
theta[systems] <- (1:length(systems)-1) * 2 * pi / length(systems)
theta[comp] <- (1:length(comp)-1) * 2 * pi / length(comp)

layout<- ellip.layout(a,b,theta)

plot.igraph(g, layout=layout, asp=0)

Originally I was getting the outer ring to be a circle anyway, but then I asked the mailing list and it was a matter of setting asp (aspect ratio) to 0.

Here's where I ended up:

EllipseETA: If you do labels, there's a neat trick to make them always outside the circle. See here: https://gist.github.com/kjhealy/834774

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