Full feeds versus partial feeds

The full feeds versus partial feeds is an old debate. Have a look at the 2.7 million Google hits for this simple query. Most of the debate however, concentrates on the presumed effects on visitors to the actual blog and -missed?- advertising revenue.

This afternoon I was having an interesting discussion with a representative from a library organization and we were discussing the theme of findability and accessibility of scientific information. My point of view was that blogging about science and scientific articles would at least increase the findability of these articles. However, this is only true when the feeds of the blog are full feeds. The discovery of very new, young or even premature information on the web should be complemented nowadays with searches on blog search engines and news search engines. These search engines are on most occasions not exactly what their name suggests. In most instances they are rss feed search engines, i.e. they only index rss feeds.

The consequences are simple. When a blog is using partial feeds only the headline is indexed by blog search engines. Have for instance a look at the Technorati results for the IAALD blog,  or from Google Blog search, or at Ask blog search. These represent the top three blog search engines at the moment. The discoverablity of content with these search engines for content from the IAALD blog is miserable, whereas it has some excellent content.

Where the discussion of full text feeds versus partial feeds so far has concentrated on arguments of pro-bloggers who are worried about their advertising revenue. For scientists, the argument of discoverablity is far more important and they should always opt for full feeds to syndicate their content as widely as possible.

It sounds strange but a lot of people have not yet realized this.

Transforming Knowledge Services for the Digital Age : Redefining the Research Library

Peter R. Young, Director of the national Agriccultural Library in the USA is the keynote speaker during our opening congress of the Wageningen UR Library.

He starts out to describe the current role of the National Agricultural Library, which services 110,000 employees of the USDA and also plays an important role in servicing the American Public. Most interesting is the way he sketches the developments in Agricultural research in the USA. Actually research in general. Research becoming more interdisciplinary, more team based, data intensive and multi-source channels. As a research library they need integrated services, and cyberinfrastructure and digital archival, preservation & curatorial services.

The challenges for agricultural research that need to be addressed are global climate change research, access to clean water and sanitation, Animal and human infectious diseases and at last Human nutrition of course. Subsequently he goes into detail in the the challenge of feed, fiber, feed and fuel where he presents some scary statistics with respect to predicted meat production in 2050.

Via the modelling approaches for researchers and their data intensive practices he arrives on the subject of resource discovery. It is an interesting way in which he presents some of the differences between the print and digital possibilities in saerch and discovery tools, content resources, knowledge services and lists the transformational opportunities in a very long list of adjectives of what a library should represent, such as visible, innovative, integrated, evolutionary, diverse, authorative, cooperative, etc.

Towards the end he borrows heavily on Lorcan Dempsey‘s personal learning landscape, and goes into the developments of Web 2.0. He highlight LibraryThing and Twine which ties all together. The latter is still in closed testing.

He posses some challenges of Web 2.0 for libraries:

  • Why do libraries need to catalog and create metadata records?
    • Why not use social networking tools to provide tags?
  • Why worry about access and demand when Google Scholar and Books are so popular?
    • Why should we be concerned about preservation and stewardship of archival digital content?
  • Will research libraries be marginalized, or is a new paradigm emerging?

His main lesson from Web 2.0 is that we need to ocus on the library in the user environment rather than the ser in the library environment.

New 3TU data repository, but is it open?

The libraries of the three cooperating technical universities in the Netherlands have started a data repository for long term archiving of digital data sets. In their combined press release they state:

The world of technical science is to have its own data centre for digital data sets. The 3TU.Datacentre will ensure well-documented storage and long-term access to technical-science study data. This will guarantee the long-term availability of the Netherlands’ entire technical-science heritage.

The 3TU.Datacentre will provide storage of and continuing access to technical-science study data. After all, data sets often remain highly valuable even after a study has been completed. They may be reused in a new study or used to verify the original study. The long-term storage of test data also enables studies to be held over a long period.

A very good initiative, but I am missing out on one point. Is it open? One might expect soo, but the press release does not make a mention of this fact. In my opinion there is no use in having a repository when we don’t have open access to it. But it’s perhaps too obvious to mention.

Let’s hope so.