Posts Tagged ‘research’


Creating catalogues: bibliographic records in a networked world

June 9, 2009

At the Cataloguing & Indexing Group conference in September, Ken Chad put out a plea for participants for a briefing on how the UK HE sector collaborates (or doesn’t) to creat catalogue records.

The briefing, commissioned by the Research Information Network, is out this week. I remember at the conference, some of the die-hard cataloguing community was a bit bemused that RIN had commissioned someone outside the practice area to look at this issue, but, on a first-read at least, the briefing seems to do what it says on the tin: it summarises what is happening in university libraries with regard to creating and sharing catalogue data.

While it may not be saying anything that we cataloguers have not know, oh, forever, it does, I think do a good job of highlighting the issues we face largely in non-technical language and a way that will hopefully be accessible to non-cataloguers (including senior managers), which has to be (a) a generally good thing and (b) a vindication of RIN’s commissioning strategy.

Now all we cataloguers have to do is go through it carefully with our Gimlet eyes and fine tooth combs and then take up the debate …

Research Information Network. Creating catalogues: bibliographic records in a networked world. (Research Information Network report). RIN, 2009.


Search Therapy

October 19, 2008

A UCLA study carried out on 24 middle-aged and older adults has found that Internet searching increases brain function.

Study participants performed Web searches and book-reading tasks while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, which recorded the subtle brain-circuitry changes experienced during these activities …

All study participants showed significant brain activity during the book-reading task, demonstrating use of the regions controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities, which are located in the temporal, parietal, occipital and other areas of the brain.

Internet searches revealed a major difference between the two groups. While all participants demonstrated the same brain activity that was seen during the book-reading task, the Web-savvy group also registered activity in the frontal, temporal and cingulate areas of the brain, which control decision-making and complex reasoning …

In fact, researchers found that during Web searching, volunteers with prior experience registered a twofold increase in brain activation when compared with those with little Internet experience.



Rachel Champeau. UCLA study finds that searching the Internet increases brain function. UCLA press release, 14 October 2008.


Case Studies: Uses and Limitations

September 14, 2008

Earlier in the month, the health informaticist drew attention [1] to a post by marketeer Mark Earls on the dangers of reliance on case studies to make a point [2].

Earls argues that “case studies are bad at establishing truth” because:

1. Case study thinking excludes failures, the grey mush of moderate success or indifferent performance …

2. Case studies make it seem as if the success was inevitable …

3. Case studies force things into an oversimplified narrative arc … [3]

Personally, I’m not convinced by either of the first two points – or at least I’d see them as subsets of point three – in describing a single case study, it is easy to include in our narrative only the highlights (corresponding to Earls’ first point, perhaps) and misattributions of success to one or more factors we wish to highlight without discussing the wider circumstances (Earls’ point 2?).

And, as Lovell points out in his brief post, point three can be either a positive or a negative, depending on circumstance: Read the rest of this entry ?