Digital Repositories – Use Them

Digital Repositories - An important research resource

Digital Repositories – An important research resource

Many scholarly materials and research reports are not easily found by the big Web search engines. Google, even with Google Scholar, may not uncover the research and discussion that is available through a digital repository. There are thousands of these repositories created by universities, research centres, and other organizations to advance the work of their faculty, students, or members, and to offer the research to the public. Our challenge is to locate these.

HathiTrust is one (http://www.hathitrust.org). It partners with research institutions and librariesin the United States and internationally  to provide smooth access to digital collections of books, serials and publications. Its metadata enables search by subject, author, language, date range, country, and format.

Many digital repositories are associated with the open access (OA) movement for providing scholarly resources that are digital, free of charge, and free of most restrictions in use. There are two major directories to open access repositories for academic research.

Directory of Open Access Repositories in the UK – OpenDOAR – http://opendoar.org. It has over 2,600 listings, searchable by country, subject, repository type, language and a couple of other parameters, as well as a keyword search on content.

The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR – http://roar.eprints.org) reports on growth and status of repositories. It can be used to locate repositories in a country or subject which you would then search directly.

Repositories can also be found through directories to users of a particular platform. Two of the prominent platforms are:

The University of Toronto created TSpace to “preserve and disseminate” the “scholary record” of the university – and makes this freely available to all users.  Repositories might also be a digital collection on a particular topic such as the ones listed on this University of Toronto page for  “local digital special collections”.

This is just a small sampling. Whenever academic research may be applicable to your search quest, consider the repositories.  Find more just by using repository as a search term together with your topic.

Current Awareness through JournalTOCS

Internet Scout Project featured JournalTOCS in its latest newsletter. JournalTOCS   provides tables of contents on new issues of academic journals.  Service is provided by Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. Open an account and follow your favourite journals.

“JournalTOCs is the biggest searchable collection of scholarly journal Tables of Contents (TOCs). It contains articles’ metadata of TOCs for over 25,026 journals directly collected from over 2411 publishers.

Peer review online

Peer review of journals happens through social media as well as formal processes, as we see in this article about using Twitter.

Peer review: Trial by Twitter by Apoorva Mandavilli, Nature (Jan 19 2011)

Article points to ways to picking up online discussion. Doesn’t mention how scholars could use Twitter.

One solution may lie in new ways of capturing, organizing and measuring all these scattered inputs, so that they end up making a coherent contribution to science instead of just fading back into the blogosphere. Perhaps the most successful and interesting experiments of this type can be found at websites such as Faculty of 1000 (F1000) and thirdreviewer.com, and in online reference libraries such as Mendeley, CiteULike and Zotero, which allow users to bookmark and share links to online papers or other interesting sites.

For more on using Twitter try this search at Google — twitter for scholars -site:twitter.com

Archiving the web

University of Toronto Libraries has been archiving web content in four areas through its relations with the Internet Archive and its service for capturing pages, Archive-It.

These are available at Archiving-It.

  • Canadian Government Information
  • Canadian Labour Unions
  • Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups
  • University of Toronto Web Archives

The collections are searchable and one can refine by format.

To see the list of sites included, enter the collection and click on the collection name. There are excellent filters for narrowing the search: subject, creator, year, language.

University of Toronto - Archive - Canadian Government Information

University of Toronto – Archive – Canadian Government Information

Paperity for OA

Paperity is a new aggregator of Open Access (OA) Journals that aims at becoming a comprehensive index for OA in all research fields.

Paperity Hopes to Create a Comprehensive Index of Open Literature , By Nancy K Herther, Newsbreaks (Nov 25)

The database currently includes more than 350,000 open access (OA) articles from 2,200-plus scholarly journals that are categorized as either gold (journals that are completely OA cover to cover) or hybrid (subscription journals with some OA articles).

This is early – it would help to have the journals browsable by discipline and searchable by name.

Online reference tools

Anyone doing intensive research online can be more productive with these tools for managing references.

Make Research Easier With These Five Tools by Brandi Scardilli, Information Today (Oct 7)

Several popular tools provide platforms that store articles, features that generate bibliographies, and functionality that encourages collaboration on projects.

Review the features and functionality of Endnote, ProQuest Flow, and Mendeley.

JStor Daily – online magazine

JSTOR, an online for-fee archive of “academic journals, books and primary sources”, has announced the JSTOR Daily  of  featured articles from the collection. This is very eclectic – great way to add interest to the day.

JSTOR, Daily, Inside Higher Ed (Oct 1)

Wanting to make JSTOR’s content a little more digestible and to engage a different kind of audience, the library today is officially launching its new online magazine, JSTOR Daily. The slick-looking home page already features some 100 blog posts and original articles, most of which draw on and link to more expansive content already on JSTOR. Topics vary widely, from a note on the enduring relevance of Herman Melville, for example, to the economic history of tipping. The magazine intends to publish a several blog posts daily, plus at least one longer-form piece each Wednesday.

Google Scholar’s Size

Coming up with an estimate on how many documents are indexed in Google Scholar isn’t easy. One bibliometric team in Spain puts the size at 160 million +/- 10%.

Just how big is Google Scholar? Ummm by Jia You, Science Insider (Sept 30)

… “the researchers report in a study posted to the arXiv preprint server earlier this year and updated this month. The number: 160 million indexed documents (plus or minus 10%), including journal articles, books, case law, and patents.”

Guide to Eurostat

Excellent guide to obtaining international statistics on economic and social activity through Eurostat – describes types of reports, how to search, aspects of the databases.

Eurostat’s Statistical Treasure Trove By Anja Chemnitz Thygesen, Online Searcher (Sep/Oct 2014)

As an excellent entry point to data on European matters, Eurostat (epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu) contains an enormous amount of information and statistics from across the European Union membership countries, plus a few other nations. In this article I use the example of researching the elderly population in the EU to illustrate some of the highlights of the Eurostat pages.