By Glenda: First published in Online Currents – Vol.18 Issue 5, October 2003
Living in the Blue Mountains, and working from home, I rely heavily on the Web for specific information and as a way of keeping up-to-date with the fields that interest me – indexing, library and information science, and information technology in general. I am impressed by the number of sites that offer free quality publications, with contributions ranging from short news snippets to fully-fledged journal articles. Online sources usually have less delay between writing and publication than print sources, so are particularly useful for keeping up with the latest developments.
Below is a selection of some free Web-based periodicals on information management that I have found useful. The list includes e-mailed newsletters, as well as journals that you can seek out on the Web. Most of these sites also offer useful archived information. I have tried to identify the country of origin. This is often not obvious, as a .com ending does not necessarily indicate a US publication, and most sites do not identify their source. It matters little, as the Internet is a global resource, but it can affect the emphasis the writing gives (e.g. to software packages that are not well supported in Australia), the relevance of legal information, and cost and availability of services offered (e.g. a $5 advertising charge in $US translated to $AU, with bank charges added, becomes AU $30).
You can subscribe to Woody’s Office Watch, Woody’s Windows Watch and other newsletters at http://www.wopr.com . As an example, Woody’s Office Watch on 2 April 2003 (v.8 n.10) contained brief information (with links to more) on Wordmail bugs, accented and overstruck characters, XML, and using more than one version of MS-Office on the same machine. Woody Leonhard (the author) has also started a new newsletter specifically for Office 2003. Woody’s portal seems to be US-based, although he notes thatWoody’s Office Watch is ‘another product of Woody’s far-flung network of friends, edited, assembled and distributed by Peter Deegan in Australia’.
IT&Society (http://www.ITandSociety.org orhttp://www.stanford.edu/group/siqss/itandsociety/v01i03/ ) is a relatively new scholarly journal on the social impact of information technology, with an emphasis on quantitative survey analysis. It is published by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, and comes in PDF format, with a link to a site that will convert PDF to HTML. The Winter 2003 issue (v.1 i.3) focuses on Web navigation, with articles grouped in the categories ‘User behaviour and frustration’, ‘Web site design’, and ‘Browsing and evaluation tools’.
Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen from The Internet Tourbus offer to help you ‘avoid the pitfalls of the Web, master the search engines, debunk urban legends, and more’…‘with a dash of humor, in a FREE twice weekly email newsletter’. They ask: ‘Why surf when you can ride the bus?’ You can subscribe to the US-based HTML e-mailed newsletter and look at the archives at http://www.TOURBUS.com . Pieces that I have found useful include one on Froogle (Google’s new price comparison search engine) and one on Google Labs. You can search the archives by title and date, but the titles are not always useful for selection – ‘Buying Stuff Online’ is fine, but ‘Macaroni Clean Out The Icebox’ is rather obscure.
Figure 1: The Internet Tourbus Home Page
Internet Information Research and Sources
FreePint is a UK-based online community of information researchers. Members receive a free newsletter twice a month, with tips on finding business information on the Internet. The newsletter publishes lists of favourite Web sites, job advertisements, seminar announcements, book reviews and articles. The 1st May 2003 issue (no.136) has articles on ‘Risk management: an additional axis for information professionals’ and the UK Freedom of Information Act. In addition there is a ‘bar’ in which you can discuss tricky reference questions with fellow information workers. You can subscribe to the newsletter and read the archives athttp://www.freepint.com .
The Librarians’ Index to the Internet (LII) provides a categorised list of selected quality Web resources of relevance to users of public libraries. It is voluntarily maintained by librarians and is funded by the Library of California and Institute of Museum and Library Services in California. LII publishes a weekly newsletter called lii.org New This Week, which comprises a list of up to thirty of the sites added to lii.org that week. You can subscribe athttp://lii.org/search/file/mailinglist .
First Monday (http://firstmonday.org/issues/) is a ‘peer-reviewed journal on the Internet, solely devoted to the Internet’. It provides in-depth research articles on a range of information issues including scholarly publishing, online journalism, Linux, copyright, museums, and accessibility. Articles in the 7 April 2003 issue (v.8 n.4) include ‘Consumers on the Web: identification of usage patterns’ and ‘The impact of cybercafes on information services in Uganda’, while the 5 May 2003 issue (v.8 n.5) contains selected papers from the Fourth Annual Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World. The name First Monday comes from its planned frequency, with issues appearing on the first Monday of every month. You can view the current and all back issues at the Web site, or subscribe to the Table of Contents service at (http://firstmonday.org/join.html ); this provides you with a monthly e-mail with abstracts and hyperlinks to the articles. First Monday was started by Munksgaard in Copenhagen, and is now hosted in the US.
Search Engine Watch (http://www.searchenginewatch.com ), edited by Danny Sullivan in the US, is a great starting point for learning about search engines. It offers a free daily and monthly newsletter (Search Engine Report), and a paid subscriber-only bi-monthly newsletter with more and longer articles. Search Engine Report #77 has pieces on search engines and blogs, and privacy issues with Google. The e-mailed newsletter contains a summary with a link to the article. They also have great information at their Web site, which has been named a Top 100 Web site for computing by PC Magazine.
Search Engine Guide (http://www.searchengineguide.com/subscribe.html ) publishes the US-based weekly Search Engine Marketing Newsletter which provides ‘coverage of articles on using search engines to market your Web site’, including ‘search engine optimization, managing paid listings, link popularity [and] directory submissions’. As with Search Engine Report, this is an e-mailed newsletter containing titles and brief summaries, with links to the articles. Search Engine Guide also provides a daily (Monday to Friday) newsletter, which is a ‘digest of new articles from a variety of sources’ on ‘all aspects of the search engine industry’.
The Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) (http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/ ) is a ‘news magazine concentrating on issues affecting the information field; management reports; opinion; and news of people and events in ASIST and the information community’. Articles of up to 1,500 words are published. The April/May 2003 issue focuses on the semantic Web, including W3C activity, metadata and ontologies. The Bulletin is presented in PDF format, which makes it rather slow to load and difficult to transfer to a PDA (issues are about 30 pages long).
The table of contents and abstracts of JASIST (the journal of ASIST) are available at http://www.asis.org/Publications/JASIS/jasis.html . Full text is available online to students and members only.
Information Today Publications
The US-based Information Today home page links to lead articles from its journals; these articles then have links to the tables of contents, from which you can go to many free full text articles (although not all are available to non-subscribers).
In addition, Information Today publishes a weekly e-mail newsletter, ITI NewsLink, which ‘is designed to highlight the information that both users and producers of information products and services need to do their jobs as effectively as possible’. Each issue notes the latest industry happenings inNewsLinks NewsBreaks. Once a month, the newsletter includes articles on industry news, trends and details of upcoming conferences and newly-published books. NewsLink also provides links to selected articles from the Information Today publications discussed below, which means you have easy access from one source to articles from all these publications. The April 2003 issue (n.42) has a snap poll on using subscription agencies after the RoweCom problems and an article titled ‘Update on OCLC’s Digitization Services’. Subscribe athttp://www.infotoday.com/newslink/default.htm .
Information Today is aimed at ‘users and producers of electronic information services’. The lead article in the April 2003 issue (v.20 n.4;http://www.infotoday.com/it/apr03/poynder.shtml ) is on strategies used by Aslib to halt its financial decline, including the controversial sale of its books and journals (‘the family silver’). Other full text offerings in this issue include newsbreaks, an article on peer review, product news, and the Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture. The May 2003 issue (v.20 n.5;http://www.infotoday.com/it/may03/hane2.shtml ) has an interview with Tim Bray of Antarctica Systems on ‘Visualizing Online Information’.
Figure 2: The Information Today Home Page
The format of Online, Computers in Libraries, Searcher, Multimedia Schoolsand Intranet Professional is similar (although Intranet Professional is classified as a newsletter not a magazine). The March/April 2003 issue ofOnline (v.27 n.2;http://www.infotoday.com/online/mar03/index.shtml ) has a lead article on usability, and links to free articles on patents and legal information, while the May/June issue (v.27 n.3) has an article on the LexisNexis Media Analyzer (http://www.infotoday.com/online/may03/kirkwood.shtml ). The May/June issue (v.6 n.3;http://www.infotoday.com/IP/may03/index.shtml ) of Intranet Professional has ‘An interview with Jakob Nielsen on designing Web sites for the intranet’.
KMWorld Newslinks and EContent Xtra (see below) are also published by Information Today.
TOUR, The One Umbrella Report is published by the Australian employment agency, The One Umbrella Group. It publishes brief articles on industry-related issues. The April 2003 issue (http://www.oneumbrella.com.au/newsletters/tour/newsletter_v4n1.html) has information on knowledge sharing at BHP Billiton, improving teamwork, and employment issues in the UK information industry.
D-Lib Magazine publishes articles and shorter pieces on digital library research and development, including new technologies and social issues. It is published 11 times a year, and the current issue and all back issues are available free at http://www.dlib.org . It is produced by CNRI (Corporation for National Research Initiatives) and is sponsored by DARPA on behalf of the Digital Libraries Initiative funded by the National Science Foundation in the US. The February 2003 issue (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/february03/02contents.html ) focuses on digital reference, the March issue has articles on digital newspapers and educational e-books, and the April issue (v.9 n.4) features an article on ‘The Learning Curve’, which presents material from the United Kingdom National Archive.
Destination KM (http://www.destinationkm.com/articles ) publishes the US-based KM Communicator, which provides information on knowledge management, collaboration and e-learning once a month (subscribe athttp://www.destinationkm.com/newsletter/ ). The 11 May 2003 issue has a report on the Knowledge Management Challenge conference hosted in Melbourne by Standards Australia.
KMWorld NewsLinks is a twice-weekly e-mailed newsletter, published by Information Today, with ‘updates on what’s happening in the field of KM, in-depth feature articles, hard-hitting opinion columns and pointers to the best KM sites on the Net’. The 10 April 2003 issue has news on software releases and an article on business intelligence at the International Monetary Fund. It also includes links to 15 free IDC research publications on topics such as collaboration, content management and e-learning. Much of the content is related to specific products. Users can subscribe athttp://www.kmworld.com/newslinks.
Boxes and Arrows is a US-based Web site and electronic newsletter started one year ago by a number of information architecture enthusiasts (http://www.boxesandarrows.com ). Subscribers receive an e-mail with summaries of articles and links to the full text. Articles in the 7 April 2003 issue included ‘Card-based classification evaluation’ and ‘Creating a controlled vocabulary’; while the May issue has ‘Building a metadata-based Web site. After initial publication as a newsletter, it appears that articles are then classified on the Web site with others on similar topics, rather than being kept with those with the same publication date.
Content Wire (http://www.content-wire.com ) has a striking purple and green neon look. Users can subscribe at bottom right (a long way down) toCM (Content Management) News (including Taxonomy Software News), and other newsletters. This UK-based site is good for short updates on company information.
EContentmag.com is the Web counterpart to EContent Magazine, a US-based ‘monthly B2B print publication delivering trend and strategy analysis in the Internet and enterprise content industry’. It provides information on content technology, tools and trends, with news and in-depth articles. Categories of archived information on the Web site include Content Creation/Digital Publishing, Content Management, Intranets & Portals, and KM & Collaboration. EContent Xtra is a weekly e-mail newsletter fromEContentMag on news and events relating to content syndication, pricing, broadband, content management, aggregation, rights management, Web search, wireless and more. Pieces in v.2, i.24 include ‘eMeta unveils eRights suite’ and ‘Refresh Software offers hosted Web core content management service.’ You can subscribe at:http://www.econtentmag.com/Newsletters . It is produced by Online, a division of Information Today.
JEP: the Journal of Electronic Publishing (ISSN 1080-2711;http://www.press.umich.edu/jep /) is published by the University of Michigan Press to examine the challenges faced by publishers, librarians, scholars, and authors in this new field. The emphasis is ‘on the broader issues that should shape policy, and on professional, scientific or academic publishing, both books and journals’. The periodical is intended to be a test bed in which to experiment with new ideas. The core of each issue is a set of short invited contributions on a particular theme (similar to a newsletter), supplemented by some longer pieces (more like a journal) and regular columns. For example, the August 2002 issue (v.8, i.1) has two articles on peer review and its alternatives, and one titled ‘The Effects of Computers on Traditional Writing’. The journal will be moving to the University of Columbia, and there is a gap before the next issue – expected in the US Spring 2003. (In this global publishing environment, continuing to date periodicals by season is surely inappropriate!).
Indexing, Editing and Writing
The Australian Society of Indexers’ Newsletter(http://www.aussi.org/anl ) contains society news and short articles. The March 2003 issue (v.27 n.2) includes a review of Syntactica (an automated indexing package). Issues from 1999 onwards are available on the site in HTML format; printed issues are sent to AusSI members.
Selected articles only from A to Z: the newsletter of STC’s Indexing SIG(from the US-based Society for Technical Communication) are available athttp://www.stcsig.org/idx/articles.html .
The Canberra Editor: Canberra Society of Editors Newsletter(http://www.editorscanberra.org ) contains society news and short articles. The March 2003 issue (v.12 n.2) features an article on XML document structure. Issues from 2001 and 2002 are also available on the site.
Jean Weber, an Australian technical writer and self-published author, provides a free e-mailed newsletter on technical writing and editing (http://www.jeanweber.com/news/tenews70.htm ). The March 2003 issue (i.70, 10) includes articles on editing for accessibility, and visual accessibility problems. Content from the newsletter is included in the site index (a true book-style index). Users can subscribe using the signup box on the left of the page, or by sending a blank e-mail message to email@example.com.
The Informed Librarian Online is a terrific service from Infosources Publishing (US). It ‘aims to help library and information professionals keep up with their professional reading in particular, and their profession in general’. Each month subscribers receive an e-mail with:
- a comprehensive list of all the library and information-related journals, e-journals and e-newsletters that have become available during the month
- selected articles from these issues
- selected new books, with tables of contents where available.
You can view the list of the 250 titles covered athttp://www.infosourcespub.com/ilojnltitles.cfm and subscribe to the service at http://www.infosourcespub.com/ilofreesubscribe.cfm . The journals include publications from many countries (e.g. South African Journal of Information Management;http://general.rau.ac.za/infosci/raujournal/ and selected articles frominCite; http://www.alia.org.au/incite/ ), publications by individuals (e.g. Ex Libris; http://marylaine.com/exlibris/ ), and publications on special fields within librarianship (e.g. collection development; law and medical librarianship).
To read the journals in the list, click on the URL. Many are free, and some offer selected free articles, while others (particularly those from Ingenta, Emerald Insight, Blackwell Publishing and Science Direct) require a subscription or one-off payment, or only provide a table of contents and abstract. Because the service is provided monthly, each e-mail may include a number of issues from one publication, or none at all. Using the Informed Librarian Online you should be able to select a number of highly-relevant free articles to download.
Disinformation – Caveat Emptor
Before we get too carried away by the wealth of information available to us, a reminder from the first issue of disinfojournal(http://www.disinfojournal.net/content.htm ), published by IEIBI, that ‘About 5 percent of your intranet information is malicious or wrong’ (article by Alan Springer).
It is, of course, important to evaluate Web-based information carefully. Some of these online journals have well-established print counterparts; others have been set up with the same scrutiny and peer review that has been traditionally used in scholarly print journals (which is still not a full guarantee). Yet others are the handiwork of individual enthusiasts – there may be no institutional guarantees, but most of those listed have stood the test of time (as far as they can do so on a medium that didn’t exist 15 years ago!). Whether you get information from print or online sources you still need to read widely, and to carefully analyse what you read.
All sites and newsletters were current on 12 May 2003.