The Greening of Office LifeCompared to Pit Green, an indestructible cubicle golf game, that basketball hoop tacked to the wall of your office is mere child’s play. In a feat of clever design and ingenuity, the German company Rutan came up with an inspired time-waster: a “high-precision micro golf” set made of tough glass fiber that includes “pebble-sized balls, clubs the length of toothpicks, a hexagonal putting green and a five-inch figurine,” writes Brendan I. Koerner. At 69 euros (about $94) for the basic version, it’s a bit steep, but you never know what can be written off as an “expense” until you try.
Academia's big guns fight 'Google effect'
Academic search engines may be more discriminating than their commercial counterparts, but they often lack user-friendliness
big fish/gun/noise (US big shot/wheel) INFORMALa person who has an important or powerful position in a group or organization:She's a big gun in city politics.He's a big shot in advertising.
discriminate was found in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary at the entries listed below.
discriminate (TREAT DIFFERENTLY)
discriminate (SEE A DIFFERENCE)
user-friendly Show phonetics
adjectiveIf something, especially something related to a computer, is user-friendly, it is simple for people to use:a user-friendly interface/printera user-friendly instruction manual
user-friendliness Show phoneticsnoun [U]
A digital treasure trove of information is out there for the taking, but only if students have a means of discovering the way to find it - a search engine that is both academic and user-friendly.
Scores of academic search engines provide a heavyweight alternative to the commercial ones and work against what Brighton University's professor of media- Tara Brabazon has termed "the Google effect" - a tendency towards mediocrity.
The challenge they face is to make themselves sufficiently user-friendly to attract and retain a generation of students reared on commercial search engines.
The Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) funds several. The Archives Hub provides descriptions of archive collections from 140 UK universities and colleges; the Copac academic and national library catalogue offers access to the catalogues of 24 university libraries, plus the national libraries, and can indicate the availability of books. Jstor is a comprehensive collection of archived journals; and Zetoc, the British Library catalogue, gives details of its 20,000 current journals as well as offering some 16,000 conference proceedings per year and an email alert service.
Intute, part of the Mimas national data centre at Manchester University, is an interesting service that has tried to address students' lack of information literacy by providing access to a quality controlled set of free resources and virtual training courses - a kind of training lane in the information highway. Begun in 2006, it has recently launched a new UK university research papers service.
The host website is getting 2m searches a month, says director Caroline Williams. "Commercial search engines are not discriminating. We tackle that by making sure our information is of sufficient quality for academic work. Whatever you're studying, you can come to one place and find what you need."
Intute, which is also Jisc-funded, is now looking at how it can make itself commercially viable.
Edina, the UK's other national data centre, based at Edinburgh University, both hosts data - scholarly publications, documentary films, and images and maps - and is easier to use. Edina's forte is in adding value to information and finding new ways of using it - its "digimap" service was a world first, says director Peter Burnhill.
Some sites are discipline-specific. Cornell University's well-regarded science site, arXiv, contains an extensive collection of quality-controlled papers on physics, maths and computer science. Eric is a free index of subscription articles on education, sponsored by the US department of education.
There is, increasingly, a crossover between the academic and commercial worlds. Google's Google Scholar site is welcomed by some academics as a pragmatic option for students already loyal to the brand. Google Scholar is "a tremendously valuable tool", says Sheffield University's Sheila Webber. Its international dimension is commended by Tara Brabazon, although results can be too broad . The "advanced search" option discriminates better.
Academic publishers are launching their own online journals sites. Blackwells, for example, publishes 850 journals on the web in disciplines ranging from business to veterinary medicine. Oxford University Press has created Oxford Scholarship online, providing access by subscription to its titles. Meanwhile, Bloomsbury is behind Bloomsbury Magazine, a database of its own reference books, a rich source of material on myth, art and literature.
University libraries' online catalogues have been criticised for being non-intuitive and difficult to navigate. UCL's Ian Rowlands says they have much to learn from supermarkets about setting out their contents in accessible and logical ways. "Stores are laid out by type - fresh fruit, wines, cheese. Library catalogues offer jars, cartons, loose stuff," he says, referring to the way material is grouped according to its form rather than its content.
But library computer software is not a mass market proposition, says Webber, and so its development has not attracted the same commercial interest. "Librarians do what they can to make links easier for students but it's a little bit clunky."
Those working on making high quality information accessible to students recognise they have lessons to learn from sites like Amazon - where people will be invited to look inside books, offered reader reviews and informed of what other people with similar interests have bought, as well as being notified of new publications in areas where they have shown interest.
Caroline Williams, of Intute, describes this process as "aggregated personalisation ... These are the things we're testing out behind the scenes."
Oxford University Press:
noun [C] n. 小像.
a small model of a human, usually made of clay or porcelain
The Home Depot Recalls Holiday Figurines Due to Lead Paint HazardWASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: Holiday Figurines
Units: About 64,000
Importer: The Home Depot, of Atlanta, Ga.
Manufacturer: Creative Design, of Hong Kong
Hazard: Surface paint on the holiday figurines contains lead.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
Description: The recalled holiday figurines are painted plastic snowmen and bears. The SKU number is printed on the bottom of the product.
|Holiday Bear Door Greeter||17” x 16”||894-825|
|Snowman with “Let it Snow” Sign||Tabletop item||894-893|
|Three Snowmen with “Joy” Sign||13” x 17”||898-964|
|Snowman Votive Holder||7.5” x 7.5”||967-467|
Sold exclusively at: The Home Depot stores from October 2007 through November 2007 for between $10 and $20.
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the holiday figurines and return them to any Home Depot store for a full refund.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact The Home Depot at (800) 394-2064 or visit the firm’s Web site at www.homedepot.com