Digital Scholarship presentation


I’ve just given a presentation at the OU digital scholarship workshop, which is really well attended and seems to be going well.

It would be great if any of the participants, or others who couldn’t make it, would comment or ask any questions. I only gave the presentation 20 mins ago but I’ve already had a useful lead  about the ckan.net site (thanks @dougclow and @psychmedia!).

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About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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2 Responses to Digital Scholarship presentation

  1. Billy Somerville says:

    Hi Nick, this is not directly related but I’m looking for a tool that will help me put together a comprehensive literature review, and I thought you might have ideas or be able to point me in the right direction.

    As you know, currently the way to find published research on a topic is via a keyword search in various databases. The problem is that if the search terms are broad, you end up with lots of irrelevant articles to sift through. If the search terms are too narrow you miss important articles.

    My idea is for an “article recommendation system”– I feel like this has to exist somewhere because it’s so obvious. It works like this: You do the initial keyword search and find, say, 5 articles that are heavily cited and that seem to be “classics” on that topic. Those articles then become search criteria in their own right: the recommendation systems searches all published research looking for papers whose references contain ALL 5 of those articles. The results are a relatively short list of papers that are guaranteed to be relevant to the topic. Those papers themselves may then be considered for the lit review, but even better, their common REFERENCES are the real vein of gold. This answers the question, “What sources have other researchers agreed are important, that I might be missing?”

    I am aware that the ISI Web of Knowledge / Web of Science databases offer tools that are related to this, but don’t seem to do what I’m describing. I wonder if the “cited by” link in Google Scholar could be used so that multiple “cited-by” queries could be compared and a results set spit out. But I think that unlike Google Maps, Google Scholar’s APIs are not publicly available for this kind of thing. I could be wrong.

    Sorry for this lengthy comment! Very curious to hear back from you or other readers about if & where my dreamed-of “article recommendation system” lives, or is being worked on….

    Billy Somerville
    Psychology MA Student
    The New School for Social Research
    New York, NY

  2. hi, thanks for the interesting question!

    As you say there is not a google scholar API at the moment (although register your interest at the google code forum here http://code.google.com/p/google-ajax-apis/issues/detail?id=109 and that might help).

    you may also be interested in mendeley http://www.mendeley.com/ which has certainly been very successful in some fields. The idea here is treat reference list like playlists in itunes or last.fm. this does sound very similar to what you’re after. I’ve heard it said that as it also hosts the pdfs of papers it is in effect the largest repository in the world, although it doesn’t think of itself as such.

    It’s free, but funded through venture capital, so I have my reservations about committing to that.

    There’s an endnote web which i *think* has similar functionality to what you are after, but i’ve not managed to set it up yet.

    there’s also a firefox plugin called zotero which i have heard good things about, but as with all the above there are pros and cons in terms of functionality and interoperability with word etc.

    Once again thanks for your question, I hope I’ve helped, let me know how you get on!

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