Tag Archives: theses

Bibliographic analysis for fun and collection development

You know how you get a brand new hammer and suddenly you notice all these nails sticking out?

So I’ve been working more with Ref2RIS. And in the meantime some of my colleagues and I were talking about analysing researchers’ bibliographies for nefarious purposes, and I suddenly realised that doing such a thing might also help me get the handle I desperately need on one of the subject areas I’m attempting to be a liaison librarian for without having had any handover or background in.

And then I realised that, instead of staring glumly at some PhD thesis bibliography and having my eyes glaze over, I could just run it through Ref2RIS, pull all the references into Endnote, and sort by journal title.

It did take me two hours to create the conversion file, but on the other hand I’m getting quicker at that. And then I sorted, and did a quick count, and came up with the following data:

The bibliography for this thesis contained 133 references, of which 1 was a website, 9 were books/reports/manuals, and the bulk of 123 were journal articles from 27 different journals.

16 journals were used for only 1 reference each;
2 journals for 2 references;
2 journals for 3 references;
1 journal for 4;
2 journals for 5;
1 journal for 12;
1 journal for 18;
1 journal for 19;
1 journal for 34 references (over a quarter of the entire bibliography)

I also discovered that this last journal is one that our library doesn’t hold…. (We do hold everything that was used 4 or more times; I got bored before checking the less-used journal titles.)

Obviously more research is required

  • to find out if this is a significant gap in our collection or a fluke of this particular thesis; and
  • to figure out if there are any other interesting patterns in usage;

but if the researchers have had the courtesy to all use the same citation style then it should be pretty quick research.

Links of interest 2/2/10

Not a chain of convenience stores – this Foursquare is a website/application that lets you use your cellphone etc to “check in” when you reach locations like cafes, movie theatres, libraries, etc. At its worst this floods your friends with endless notifications: “Now I’m at the dairy! Now I’m at home! Now I’m at the busstop! Now I’m at work! Now…!” But at best you walk into your favourite cafe and:

  • read tips from other customers about what to order or avoid;
  • win a prize from the cafe itself;
  • discover that your friend is in the area and arrange for them to meet you for a quick cuppa.

Some recent blogposts discussing the value of Foursquare for libraries (read the comments as well!) include:

Publishing scandals du jour
EBSCO buys up exclusive electronic access to a number of popular periodicals which will be removed from other databases that used to provide them. Reactions:

During negotiations between Amazon and “big 6” publisher Macmillan over pricing of ebooks, Amazon removed all Macmillan titles (electronic and print) from its database. Reactions:

In case you’re curious about non-Amazon options, there’s a number of online bookstores in New Zealand and I’ve recently discovered The Book Depository in the UK with free international shipping.

Bookcovers in LibGuides
Springshare have announced a partnership with Syndetics so we can now use Syndetics bookcover images in our LibGuides. This is just like using the images from Amazon before – when adding a featured book just insert ISBN, click icon, and voila a cover image – but click the “S” (Syndetics) icon instead of the Amazon icon. An added advantage is that Syndetics works with ISBN-13 as well as ISBN-10 (Amazon is limited to ISBN-10).

European theses
The DART-Europe E-theses Portal gathers and provides “access to 123327 full-text research theses from 210 universities sourced from 16 European countries”.

Disintegrating glue, photos, and old theses

Another team in my library is digitising one of our older theses but had a problem with a couple of pages so asked me to scan those pages from our deposit copy. Unfortunately we had the same problem – the glue used 50 years ago to glue photographs into the thesis has lost any and all adhesive properties it once had.

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the pages in question were of several photos of oscillographs – and I had no idea either where each one went or which way up it went.

Fortunately someone in the other team had the bright idea of matching the back of the photo to the indentation in the page. I had another look at our copy – there was no indentation, but the old glue left a browning stain so the back each photo had an individual pattern (finger prints, brush strokes, dappling, or at least different shaped corners) which was the mirror image of that on the page.

And then I used an OHT transparency to hold the photos in place while I scanned them (since I don’t want to use any glue before talking to our conservation people). Mission accomplished!