Archive for January, 2009
A daily problem for researchers, is a solid answer to the question where and how do I get decent information from? Traditionally, a decent answer used to be libraries which is where knowledge used to be kept in form of books and journals. I’m hesitating to use past tense, because just a week ago, I paid 15 Euros to get access to the public library in Stuttgart. However, the online world is growing insanely fast, and for research, I almost exclusively rely on access to e-journals via our university’s webpage. When dealing with online resources, the same problem persists: How do I get decent information, which reduces in the online world to how do I find what I am looking for. Sure, google and especially its “scholar” variant are not a bad choice. Second choice for me tend to be “compendex” or “georef“. However, I just found something very interesting:
A guy called “edsu“, who I follow on twitter (twitter is a story for another post), pointed me to this story from the guardian: There is a catalogue of bibliographic content, called OCLC. Then there is worldcat, which offers web access to OCLC. Now the problem:
OCLC shares only 3m of its 125m records with Google Books; none of them show up in an ordinary search.
The guardian offers two open source alternatives:
At a first glance, both sites offer great search possibilities for books. However, I think it’s still a long way until I can look at a website, click a few times, and then either get the book to my local library, or somehow, maybe even by paying a fee, get the book’s content online.
What are your online resources for written material?
update Tuesday; January 27, 2009: On gribblelab I found an interesting article that contains some interesting thoughts on how to manage ones research articles. It seems that I am oldfashioned, as I like to keep a pdf copy of every article, if possible. Instead of EndNote or Papers, I like to use BibDesk for managing my references. The ideas of a social-network like web-portal for citations seems very powerful. This article might be related. The authors present a few search portals, which were new to me:
According to the authors of this study, citeUlike is the “warmest” online portal, because it adds a social component: users can add content and retrieve content.
Johannes, a regular follower and contributor to planetwater.org created a nice little tool that allows any Nokia cell-phone users to get a notification on their phone, as soon a new blog entry is posted to planetwater.org. The logo of this service is shown below:
All necessary information, including how to get things working on your Nokia cell-phone are provided on this site.
Thank you very much, Johannes!
update Monday; January 26, 2009: as Johannes points out, this is for a lot of phones. They just need to fulfill these requirements
Water is Clouds is Wind is Atmosphere is Development is this Planet:
Yesterday, my girlfriend bought a water bottle. When I saw the back, my immediate reaction was a positive surprise, because what I saw, seemed to be a hydrogeologic cross-section. And that can’t be a bad thing, right?
Unfortunately, some thoughts came to my mind which don’t add up everywhere… Let’s look a little closer at that label:
- The first layer, indicated in green, is labeled “earth- and rock- layers” — does the green indicate that in these layers are living plants? Why does the text indicate that there are multiple layers, and the picture shows only one green layer?
- The second layer is called “ground- and surface water”. Why should they be mixed? And why is the surface water below the ground surface under earth- and rock- layers? It is shaded in blue, I guess indicating the presence of water. What does the arrow in that layer imply? Why is there a relatively thin, darker blue layer?
- The next layer down in the sequence is shaded in grey and labeled “water impermeable layer”. So this layer is a steel plate?
- The bottom most layer is labeled “Ice-ageSpring – the perfectly protected mineral water from the ice-age”. This layer is indicated by a really nice variable shading in blue in white resembling a glacier. Does that mean there’s a glacier down there? Why is that layer perfectly protected? By the water-impermeable layer on top? Does it mean that layer is also impermeable for contaminants? The arrow on top, pointing vertically towards ground surface indicates input from “agriculture and industry” — where does that input go? “Just” into ground- and surface water?
- The boundaries of all the layers are parallel, and all except the bottom most layers have constant thickness everywhere.
„EiszeitQuell weist nur alte, gereifte Grundwasserkomponenten auf. Das eiszeitliche Mineralwasservorkommen wird gegen Umwelteinflüsse in idealer Weise abgeschirmt. Die ausgewogene Zusammensetzung der Inhaltsstoffe und das Fehlen von anthropogen bedingten, vom Menschen verursachten Stoffen wie Nitrat oder Nitrit bewirken unter anderem seine in zahlreichen Untersuchungen nachgewiesene ursprüngliche Reinheit. Es ist natriumarm und für die Zubereitung von Säuglingsnahrung geeignet.“
If you don’t understand German, and even if you put this only into the google translating service, you will notice, that they talk about this water as if it was the main course in a five star restaurant!
What was the company thinking? Is there anything we could do?
You can vote for the best blog in various categories at the weblog awards. There are suggestions for each category. So I guess planetwater won’t win anything this year…
Folks, I’m a little late, but I wish you all a happy, healthy, and satisfying New Year! I’ve been to the Geostats Conference in Santiago, Chile. It has been a blast, I met a few new people, and it seems like Copulas are really taking off! For those of you who don’t know, Copulas are a key topic of my PhD research. I might write more about this in the near future.
This brings me to the topic of changes that are going to happen in the near future on this blog. In the next few weeks, please bare with me if some feature might not work or things might look a little funny. Especially I am going to try and fix the “search” feature, as well as try and add some new features to the content.
In the meantime, this little video might inspire you