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Shaping our Future with Open Data

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We live in a period characterised by a continuous process of data creation. There is, however, a specific type of data known as open data, which is available to everyone and can be used for your own (and commercial) purposes. You can share open data, disseminate it, build your projects on it and provide various services using it without restriction.

We live in a period characterised by a continuous process of data creation. There is, however, a specific type of data known as open data, which is available to everyone and can be used for your own (and commercial) purposes. You can share open data, disseminate it, build your projects on it and provide various services using it without restriction.

We live in a period characterised by a continuous process of data creation. There is, however, a specific type of data known as open data, which is available to everyone and can be used for your own (and commercial) purposes. You can share open data, disseminate it, build your projects on it and provide various services using it without restriction.

Google #Searching (4): How to Reach FTP servers

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In this instalment of our series on more effective Google searching, we will turn our attention to exploring FTP servers, which often contain very interesting and sometimes sensitive information. For this, we will learn how to use the advanced operator “inurl:“.

DOAJ: Thousands of Open-access Journals in One Place

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Open access in the sciences is undoubtedly a highly discussed topic at the moment, but it’s also a phenomenon that makes scientific and research information accessible to anybody. However, given the overwhelming amount of information available in the present time, it’s fair to say that without a knowledge of verified sources it’s difficult to distinguish a quality open-access journal from a predatory one. At first glance, these predatory journals appear to be professional periodicals, but their indexing level in reputable databases is practically non-existent, and the indexing information from predatory journal websites is usually fake. It is also very common for the people operating these predatory journals to demand significant sums of money for ‘publishing’ an article. So, what can be done about this?

Alerts: How to Create a Personal Information System (about anything)

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The massive increase in the quantity of published blogs, articles, tweets and other sources of information is causing a wide range of problems for more than just the companies that are trying to monitor their surroundings. Even forty years ago, firms were struggling to cope with the uncontrollable flood of information coming their way, and how to analyse it.

Igor Ansoff determined that traditional management primarily faces the following problems (Ansoff, 1980):

  1. The signals that the market broadcasts often remain unnoticed. In particular, there is a lack of timely warnings, and this leads to  situations in which companies face unexpected surprises.
  2. Senior management suffers from a flood of information and a lack of professional capacity to analyse it and to find any possible connections or relationships for the company.
  3. If key information about activity in the market does reach the company, it will still often not get to the relevant employees.
  4. There is no attempt (or sometimes no capability) to gather information within the company and generate positive outcomes for the decision-making process.

This flood of information doesn’t just affect companies, but also individuals, as most of us are similarly overwhelmed these days.

An important tool for filtering and refining the data we need to solve our information problems are the so-called alert services, or notifications. These are mostly designed to send a message immediately some item of information is indexed in an online environment. You can choose whether you want the message sent via e-mail, an RSS reader, or some kind of dashboard. If you start using alert services, you are well on your way to solving some of the basic problems connected with the explosion of information in recent years and the difficulties in judging the relevance of this information.

Google Alerts

Let’s take a look at one of the most well-known alert services: Google Alerts. After you enter a relevant question or term, this informs you whenever any new items of information appear.

You can set a number of different criteria in Google Alerts

Google also allows us to custom refine our alert according to the following characteristics:

  • Use Google advanced operators when creating a search question.
  • Choose daily, weekly or real-time notifications.
  • Choose sources from news, blogs, the web, video, books, discussions, finance or just leave everything to Google.
  • Select the language.
  • Select the geographical region
  • Choose whether Google will send all the results or whether it will rank them by quality.
  • Choose the delivery method (e-mail, RSS)

Note that the function of the alerts goes further than just a general update of an RSS feed on e.g. a news server. It is personalised data that can be of significant help when classifying information, as well as those situations when you simply need to monitor any changes related to a certain topic. You need to be aware of this difference, but also follow it through later when implementing real alerts.

Other sources

For science and research there are Google Scholar alerts, or alert services from the open-access WorldOfScience.org.

Try to set a specific information requirement of your own on these platforms and have the results sent directly to your e-mail (it’s perhaps a good idea to create a new e-mail address or alias for this experiment).

If you are looking for a good RSS feed reader, we can recommend Feedly, but there are many others available too.

Let us know if you have any tips for a good alert service.

Použitá literatura:

ANSOFF, H. I. Strategic issue management. Strategic Management Journal. 1980, vol. 1, pp. 131-148.

Photo by Erwss, peace&love

AND, OR, NOT: Boolean Search Operators

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Boolean logic has its own long history behind it — it is first mentioned as far back as the mid-19th century. Even so, it is absolutely crucial in the modern information world. In this article we will explain the basics of Boolean operators and their use in searching.

Google #Searching: First Tricks for Better Searching

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In this article we will begin a series on the best, most accurate and most effective search methods on the world’s leading search engine, Google (and on others too). The methods we will discuss are a little more advanced, and as we should be improving our information literacy every day the best approach is to try out some good search practices immediately.

Google #Searching: Hundreds of Contacts including Phone Numbers

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Google bots can index files of all types. In today’s episode of our serial on advanced Google search techniques we’ll take a look at the possibilities for finding interesting information hidden in Excel (XLS) files.

MeSH: An Excellent Medical Thesaurus

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If you need to carry out searches in the field of medicine for research or scientific purposes, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is an essential tool. It allows us to specify in detail and to refine the set of keywords we’ll use to solve whatever our information problem is. In 2016, MeSH contained around 28,000 descriptors and 90,000 terms (synonyms). MeSH also contains the Supplementary Concept Records database containing approximately 230,000 entities in the field of chemistry, diseases and pharmaceuticals.

Using MeSH when indexing medical journals

MeSH is used extensively by the National Library of Medicine of the USA for indexing scientific papers, which are then made available in the PubMED and MEDLINE databases.

Let’s take a look at the basic connection between the thesaurus entries and the bibliographic records for medical papers. We’ll choose a general topic: papers related to the middle ear. The basic prerequisite is identifying the main descriptor. In our MeSH search, we enter the generic term middle ear. As we can see, the main descriptor for this term is defined as ear, middle. At the same time, we can see that MeSH offers us other possible related input terms such as the key term middle ear that we originally wanted, as well as tympanic cavity and tympanum. Another aspect that is very important for us are the Qualifiers, which determine the medical areas that relate to middle ear issues.

MeSH
MeSH record
Kvalifikátory
Qualifiers for the term ear, middle, we focused on the “surgery” qualifiers

Let’s try a test search within the PubMed medical database to get an overview of articles on middle ear topics.

We enter the following syntax into the search field:

ear, middle[MeSH Terms]

Using MeSH descriptor

Our query allows us to obtain bibliographic records of articles that contain the MeSH ear,middle descriptor. If we now look at the record of the first article within the MEDLINE structure, we can see that the article relates to the surgery (qualifier) of the middle ear (descriptor).

Bibliographic record in PubMed.
MEDLINE records.

 Links:

Conclusions:

  • MeSH is the biggest thesaurus for medicine.
  • It helps to create and debug search activities in this field.
  • It is linked to the PubMed and MEDLINE databases.