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.