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 ( 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 – 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 – 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.

“Right to be forgotten” – Yes or No?

Here is a thoughtful examination of the issues that underpin the “right to be forgotten” and Google’s response. It’s not black and white – the many aspects make the questions we need to address quite complex.

How Google determined our right to be forgotten, Julia Powles and Enrique Chaparro, The Guardian (Feb 18)

Google doesn’t show well.

“Nine months after the European ruling, it is clear that Google’s implementation has been fast, idiosyncratic, and allowed the company to shape interpretation to its own ends, as well as to gain an advantage on competitors and regulators forced into reactive mode. It avoided a broader and much deeper reflection on digital public space, information sedimentation, and the exploration of collaborative solutions between public and private actors – such as a joint request service across different search engines, with processes for getting confidential advice from publishers and public officials.”

And we need to learn to distinguish between public and private.

“So, if we concede that the internet is public space, that the web is the public record, then Google, on its logic, is the custodian and indexer of our personal records. We must be careful to distinguish the offerings of a handful of internet services from the real public record guaranteed by law, from archives, and even from human memory itself – which will all continue to be available when the amusement park closes.”

Pinterest in the present time

No questions – Pinterest is popular. Over 30 billion pins – talk about bookmarks!  There are more than 750 million boards (topics). Traffic comes from mobile. But what is the rate of decay? Or maybe it doesn’t matter – maybe people are following and pinning for the present moment only.

Pinterest doubles total number of pins in the past six months, now over 30 billion, Shawn Knight, TechSpot.

Knowledge Graph through Google Glass

Anyone tried Google Glass – the wearable computer that fits into frames of eye glasses? Wikipedia has this image and definition.

Google Glass Explorer

Google Glass Explorer

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

Now, Google Knowledge Graph cards appear to help in identifying places, buildings, etc.

The Incredible Impact of Knowledge Graph Cards on Google Glass Search Results [Research] by Glenn Gabe, Glass Almanac (Mar 27)

Several screenshots show the types of information cards that can popup when wearing the Google Glass frames for informational and navigational queries.

And there’s one important finding that’s been hard to overlook, pun intended. When performing informational queries, the Knowledge Graph has often taken over the search results on Glass. And when it does, it can take up multiple cards and swipes. And if more and more people begin using wearables that run Android (like Glass, smartwatches, etc.), then the Knowledge Graph is going to be a beast to deal with.

Info junkies will go wild over this. Get more show and tell from Google Glass itself.

Knowledge Graph and SERPs

What are the implications to businesses of searchers getting  the information they need from Google’s Knowledge Graph  and not using the search engine results page to click  through to the business’ website?

The Knowledge Graph: Should Your Content & Business Strategy Change? by Janet Driscoll Miller, Search Engine Land (Mar 20)

Publishers like National Geographic could lose traffic. Miller wrote, “The Knowledge Graph issue extends beyond traditional publishers, though. If your content strategy has been centered around answering questions, you likely need to rethink that strategy quickly.”

OED for year-of-birth words

What fun – the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has a finder tool for words recognized for first use in the years 1900 to 2004. Look up your year of birth to find the word for that year. Subscribers to OED can narrow it to month and year. Some public and academic libraries subscribe to the online OED – perhaps yours does.

OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?, Oxford Dictionaries blog (Dec 13)

Scirus to close

This is very bad news – Scirus Says Goodbye.  Scirus search engine was created by Elsevier. It indexed web pages that were more scholarly and related to science (though not limited to science). Scirus was often better than Google Schola for results, and always (to this day) has had superior filtering aids. Closing is supposed to happen in 2014.  Ah – there was so much promise 10 years ago in the Internet supporting learning  – and then junk happened.