Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Well, OK. That’s a bit hyperbolic. But a piece in the Globe over the weekend, Group Think, got around to noticing a phenomenon I wrote about a while back. Essentially, the ease of doing research online is actually limiting the scope of scholarly research to that which can be found only in the targeted search and it misses older research that may very well be relevant:

This study adds weight to concerns, shared by other Internet analysts, that the rise of online research has costs as well as benefits. Internet search tools are not neutral: they tend to privilege the new and the popular. And for all the frustrations of older research methods, their very inefficiency may have yielded rewards. Leafing through print journals or browsing the stacks can expose researchers to a context that is missing in the highly targeted searches of PubMed or PsychInfo. The old-fashioned style of browsing, some say, can provide academics with more background knowledge, and lead to serendipitous insights when they stumble upon articles or books they weren’t necessarily looking for.  

This article and the Science Magazine article on the subject to which I linked in an earlier post are well-worth reading.


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An absence of news and the cruel heat of summer can only mean one thing. It is time to look at what is happening in the world of books and libraries outside of Alabama.  I begin with an amusing account of the most frequently stolen books from Flying off the Shelves, an amusing little essay that I found in the New York Times:

In my eight years working at an independent bookstore, I lost count of how many shoplifters I chased through the streets of Seattle while shouting “Drop the book!” I chased them down crowded pedestrian plazas in the afternoon, I chased them through alleys at night, I even chased one into a train tunnel. 

I found a bit of a gem today at the Telegraph (UK) Great Unread Books: Which classic are you ashamed to admit you have never read? This is an amusing video in which current authors name the book(s) they haven’t read but really should have. You can probably guess what many of them are.

An interesting article in Science magazine, Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship, looks at how online publication is changing the nature of research.

Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon.

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