Category Archives: Data & Databases

Microsoft’s Windows Live Search Engine Indexes Academic Content

Microsoft has beta released a new search engine for academic journal content called Windows Live. According to a press release, the initial beta release will target the subjects of computer science, electrical engineering and physics, although they plan to bring new subjects online in the near future.
It seems that Microsoft, like Google Scholar, has an arrangement with OCLC to integrate WorldCat content into Windows Live thereby indexing scholarly content, such as articles and books, which is available at a local library. Marketing libraries is a good thing.

LexisNexis Academic Investigating Metasearch

For those academic librarians, like myself, who thought that LexisNexis Academic would never be metasearchable, I share the good news that they do have an XML gateway in production.
According to an email received by a UW-Madison Library staff member from a product manager at LexisNexis Academic: “We are at different stages of implementation with several federated search vendors. We are working with Ex Libris but have not begun the configuration and testing process with them yet.”
Metasearching is hot on college campuses. Being able to combine multiple databases from different vendors with one Google-esque search box certainly does have its appeal. For law students, however, this was never terribly attractive since few legal databases were metasearchable – until now.

EBSCOhost Offers RSS Alerts & Visual Search

It looks like EBSCOhost is offering a couple of new search enhancements: RSS Alerts for saved searches and a visual search interface. EBSCO has some great medical and business databases, many of which are available freely to Wisconsinites via Badgerlink.

Visual search: This type of search is great for the visual learner. Search results are grouped in circles within circles using Grokker technology. See the screen shot – a picture is worth a thousand words.
To access, click on the “visual search” tab on the main EBSCOhost screen.

RSS Alerts: I’m a big fan of setting up alerts so that I’m automatically notified each time content that interests me is added to a database. Several other databases, including Westlaw and Lexis, do this by delivering results via email. EBSCO has done it one better by offering delivery via RSS. Very nice.
I warn you that setting up an alert in EBSCOhost is not for the novice. First you will need to sign up for your own account. Just click on the “Sign into MyEBSCOhost” under the logo at the top left. You’ll be prompted to register.
Then run a search using Advanced Search. In the search results area, click on the “Search History/Alerts” tab. Here you will see a list of your searches. Below the tabs, there is a line of links. Click on the one that says “Save Searches/Alerts” Complete the form selecting “Alert” in the “Save Search As” section. This will give you the option to save it via RSS. Clicking save will bring up a new screen with the URL for the alert’s RSS feed.
I’m not sure why they made it so difficult to set up, but it’s nice that it is there, nonetheless.
Source: The Distant Librarian

Nothing Special About Google Finance

According to MarketWatch’s Bambi Francisco, Google’s newest service, Google Finance, gets a thumbs-down from some hedge-fund managers.

Launched Tuesday, Google’s (GOOG) latest, Google Finance — with its perfunctory quotes, news headlines, charts and the like — is not terribly impressive, partly because it looks so much like other finance sites created years ago, notably Yahoo Finance…
To be fair, there are some interesting features, like a very cool chart and news mash-up. In it, Google has taken its charts and news and integrated them so that readers can see where the stock was trading as particular news hit. People do this all the time — look at news, and the time it hit, and then go to a chart and pinpoint the time. But it’s eliminating the interim steps that makes Google stock charts instantly appealing.
But besides an interactive chart, there is nothing innovative or certainly spectacular about the new service. Where are the real-time, live quotes? Where’s the related video? Where are the open application programming interfaces, or APIs, so that techies can add maps and other neat tools that Google hasn’t thought of?

High Tech, Circa 1986

In going through some files, I found an old issue of Westlaw Password featuring this photo, circa 1986. Bring back any memories?

I think that my parents got our first home computer around that time. It was an Atari which used our TV as a monitor and cassette tapes as storage media. Those were the days.

Wisconsin Briefs Database Incorporates New Docket Number Format

Last April, the Clerk of Supreme Court’s office changed to a new case management system. As part of this change, the docket number format for Supreme Court and Court Appeals cases has changed. The new docket format contains the year, followed by the letters AP (appeals) and the case number. For example, docket number 99-1234 will now be displayed as 1999AP001234.
The Wisconsin Briefs database, created by the Wisconsin State Law Library and hosted by the UW Law Library, has now incorporated the new docket number format. When searching the database, you may use either the old (eg 992588 – no hyphens) or the new, expanded (eg 1999AP002588) docket number format.
To date, the coverage of the Wisconsin Briefs database includes published cases from 173 Wis.2d to 279 Wis.2d and unpublished cases from 173 Wis.2d to 280 Wis.2d.

Diplomatic Papers Added to Foreign Relations of the U.S. Collection

Tthe University of Wisconsin Digital Collections group has announced the addition of Diplomatic Papers, 1944-1945 to its Foreign Relations of the United States Collection.
The Foreign Relations series is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication. The series is produced by the State Department’s Office of the Historian and printed volumes are available from the Government Printing Office.