Knowledge Handler

Information Sources & Information Sifting Techniques

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Location: Independence, Ohio, United States

Librarian at Indiana Wesleyan University's Cleveland Education Center.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Intellectual Property

"Intellectual Property" is knowledge or technique that is "owned" by an entity, providing the owner with rights of control and/or compensation. In the United States copyrights, patents and trademarks are legal methods of claiming ownership of intellectual property, and legal redress is available to the owner.

Protecting the rights of owners encourages the research investment required to develop new knowledge. However, intellectual property has become such a profitable business in the United States that there are numerous lawsuits over the rights of owners to collect. The following blog report says that Google is now trying to limit the use of its name :
http://www.researchbuzz.org/wp/2006/08/14/google-doesnt-want-us-to-say-googling-anymore/
I hope that this does not extend to end-users such as professors and college students.
-DD

Monday, August 14, 2006

Citation

Citing any source of information that was consulted is key for an academic student that wants to avoid charges of plagarism. Formatting the citations to match a specified bibliographic style (such a style as APA, MLA, or Chicago style) can be challenging.

To make it easier for students, journal database suppliers such as EBSCOHost, ProQuest, and InfoTrac offer to print citations according to these formats. All of these machine-generated citations have errors, and the student needs to check the generated citation against their style guide.

-DD

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Electronic Books

Electronic books (ebooks) provide their text in digital format so that it can be viewed on a computer display.   Formats that do not require a specialized viewer include plain text (.TXT), hypertext (.HTML) and Adobe Acrobate Reader (.PDF). Audiobooks in some formats can be played on a computer, but audiobooks provide the spoken word.

Project Gutenberg has 18,000 plain text digital books (most older works out of copyright) that it provides at no charge.   The University of Virginia Etext Center freely offers about two thousand public domain books for the Microsoft and Palm readers. NetLibrary thousands of books in a proprietary format - there is free access to some titles, but most require a subscription to view.

As electronic displays have beome clearer and as laptops become more portable, people are starting to shift their reading from the printed word to text on monitors.   When teaching a literature class, some students told me that they preferred to read the texts online (when available) rather than lug the heavy book.   They may also have felt they could read the book on their work computer with less problem than bringing the book to work.

-DD

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Compilations

Compilations are works created by selecting portions from one or more earlier works. In the music world, these may be in the form of "best of..." albums, or in the book publishing world typical titles might include the words "selections" or "favorite" or "collection".

Compilations are edited products, either providing the most memorable works of an artist or focused on one theme or idea or time. A good editor can take these succinct nuggets and convey through the brief highlights the thought or artistry of the author. The danger of selective editing is that an editor can slant or bias the understanding of an author's stance by the choice of items selected.

Today I was given the book Testament : The Bible Oddyssey compiled and edited by Peter Law. The book consists of snippets from one third of The New English Bible. It has been skillfully done to make a narrative that would be excellent for a "Bible as Literature" course, or to give to someone who wanted an extremely easy introduction to the Bible. However, since it lacks reference material such as chapter and verse, it cannot be directly cited in the traditional way - and since two-thirds has been edited-out, there are portions missing that might be required for a thorough discussion of the Bible's content.
-DD