November 13, 2006

Google Accelerator and Library Resources

Google Web Accelerator (GWA) is a product from Google Labs that uses the Google network to allow one to surf the Web faster than before. This sounds like a good idea at first. Recently, staff in the University Libraries have discovered a downside to using Google Web Accelerator while using library-licensed resources such as electronic journals and online databases.

GWA creates a dynamic IP address for any of its users within the Google IP range. Therefore, if you are trying to access an e-journal via GWA, it will appear to the journal provider that you are coming to this resource from Google and not from the University of Minnesota's IP range. Consequently, you'll be denied entry into this library-licensed resource.

According to the GWA's FAQ, there are ways to disable GWA or to tell it not to "accelerate" a particular website, but in practice we've found this to be problematic. For the near future, we recommend not using GWA when using the University Libraries' licensed resources.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 3:14 PM

October 23, 2006

Health Sciecnes Libraries Open House

Please visit the Bio-Medical Library, Tuesday, October 24th from 10:00-2:00 for our Open House ( Enjoy refreshments, learn about library collections and services, and meet your librarian liaison.


Jim Beattie

Posted by Kevin Messner at 11:32 AM

July 12, 2006

New Version of SciFinder Scholar for Mac OS X Available

There is a new version of SciFinder for Mac OS X now available for download at

CAS didn't specify a date for ending support of the previous version, so to our knowledge anyone using the Mac version that came out last fall should be fine for now.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 4:28 PM

July 11, 2006

Libraries subscribing to Nature Protocols

The U Libraries are now subscribing to Nature Protocols, a new resource from Nature Publishing Group. Nature Protocols is an online resource for experimental protocols, primarily in biology and chemistry, including authoritative, peer-reviewed 'Nature Protocols' and an interactive 'Protocols Network'. The two create a dynamic forum for scientists to upload and comment on protocols.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 9:09 AM

May 11, 2006

Trial Subscription for Faculty of 1000 Biology, Medicine Underway

The Libraries are currently conducting a trial of BioMedCentral’s "Faculty of 1000 Biology" and "Faculty of 1000 Medicine" products. These literature tools "highlight and review the most interesting papers published in the biological sciences and medicine, based on the recommendations of a faculty of well over 1000 selected leading researchers in each field." Currently 24 U of M faculty are F1000 reviewers. The trials are available at and through June 8.

Current users have found the Faculty of 1000 products useful in prioritizing their reading of the literature, particularly researchers entering interdisciplinary areas where they may be less familiar with "what’s important" in the crossover field. The products can also be a valuable tool in graduate and undergraduate education, helping to steer students towards high quality and/or novel articles for journal club presentations, class research papers, and other needs. The reviewer comments can also be helpful in demonstrating the peer review process, traditionally out of view of students and trainee scientists until they author papers.

In addition to searching for articles on the F1000 web sites, PubMed can now be set up to activate F1000 linkouts for articles which have been reviewed by F1000. For example, see this sample record. Use this link to PubMed to activate the F1000 links during your search session:

Please take a look at and from on campus, and let us know what you think. Comments can be submitted to Kevin Messner at

(One access caveat – there have been some troubles accessing our trial of F1000 through a VPN over U of M wireless. Certainly this is something that would be hammered out if we purchase the product; for now, though, you may save yourself some trouble by accessing the trial site over a hard line on campus.)

Posted by Kevin Messner at 1:03 PM

March 28, 2006

New Online Access to 140 Biochemistry Journal Backfiles

The U Libraries recently purchased several online journal backfiles (volumes prior to the start of our online subscriptions) in biochemistry. A package of 140 journal titles from Elsevier were purchased. The titles include Analytical Biochemistry (back to 1960), Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (back to 1955), Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (back to 1962, depending on the subtitle), Gene (back to 1976), Genomics (back to 1987), Journal of Molecular Biology (back to 1966), and many more. (A complete list of titles in the package is available.)

We hope that this additional access to these titles will be a useful convenience when conducting literature reviews and using the older bioscience literature.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 9:10 AM

Agricola, CAB Abstracts Databases now on OVID Search Interface

This month the University Libraries switched our access to two bibliographic databases, Agricola and CAB Abstracts, to the OVID web search interface. Many users in the life sciences are familiar with OVID through searching MEDLINE and BIOSIS.

This is an exciting development, particularly for researchers in the plant and agricultural sciences. Agricola and CAB Abstracts are two of the key literature databases in the plant and ag sciences, and having the preponderance of our resources acccessible through one familiar interface has obvious advantages. Notably, the OVID interface allows "metasearching" across several databases at once. So plant scientists may choose to simultaneously search Agricola, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, and MEDLINE, instead of taking the time to conduct separate searches of these individual databases.

To search more than one database in OVID, simply enter any of the OVID databases (e.g., Agricola) through our Indexes list, and click the "Change Database" link at the top of the search screen. On the Choose a database page, select the databases you wish to search, click "Continue," and start your search! (Do note that subject heading searches are not available when searching multiple databases, since the vocabulary systems are different in each database.)

If you'd like some assistance searching with OVID, feel free to contact Kevin Messner, or the Magrath Library reference desk (; 4-1212), or the Bio-Med Library reference desk (; 6-3260).

Posted by Kevin Messner at 8:47 AM

New Bio-Medical Library Web Site

The old Bio-Medical Library website has been recently been retired; please check out our new site at the same URL,! We at the Library are confident that the new site will better provide straightforward access to our services and resources, and better serve your library needs; however, we recognize that transitioning to a new site may initially be a nuisance for those familiar with the old site.

To this end, we have taken several measures to help smooth the transition to the new Bio-Medical Library website:

1. an online survey to gather your suggestions, comments and concerns. We take your suggestions very seriously; please let us know how we are doing.
2. a simple transitional guide (pdf) to help you find items from our old site on our new site.
3. a "Top Ten" List (pdf) of featured items on our new site.
4. We will maintain our old site through the end of the semester here:

Posted by Kevin Messner at 8:37 AM

March 16, 2006

"Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics" now available

By popular request, the U Libraries are now providing access to the Encyclopedia of Genetics, Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics from Wiley. Online access is available directly at this link:, or through the Libraries catalog, MNCAT (do a "browse for" search on the title). I'll also be adding the Encyclopedia to subject-oriented pages such as this page for Molecular Biology.

This on the Encyclopedia from the publisher:

"The focus is on studies based on the human and mouse genomes, but other important model eukaryotes, as well as pathogenic bacteria, are given in-depth coverage. With articles written by established leaders in the field as well as by rising stars, this work will be an essential reference tool for all members of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and bioinformatics teams, from students, to post-docs, to senior scientists, and a 'must have' for university and research institute libraries. It will also provide a valuable resource for pharmaceutical and biotech companies that have an interest in this important and rapidly developing field.

"For readers approaching new fields, there is a comprehensive Glossary that explains over 500 terms in a clear and concise way."

Posted by Kevin Messner at 9:29 AM

February 6, 2006

SciFinder Scholar for PC: Install New Version by March 31

If you use SciFinder Scholar for PC and haven't yet upgraded to the 2006 version, please make this upgrade in the next few weeks. It's just about two months until SciFinder Scholar 2002, 2004 and 2004.1 versions for Microsoft Windows will be retired. You have until March 31, 2006; after this date the older versions will no longer work.

Upgrade instructions are available at

Posted by Kevin Messner at 9:34 AM

January 29, 2006

Current Contents Cancelled

If you have used the database Current Contents previously and have wondered what happened to it recently, my apologies. Our subscription to this database was cancelled at the end of 2005. While we contacted users we identified as having CC search results sent automatically by email, some other regular users (i.e. those with saved searches in the system without email updates) were not directly contacted.

We cancelled Current Contents in order to subscribe to ISI products including Essential Science Indicators (see an article on this at The publisher of both Current Contents database and ISI Web of Science has related to us that all content available in Current Contents is also available in Web of Science; hence, the decision was made to rely on Web of Science for current awareness searches. The Bio-Med Library has a brief guide to setting up Current Contents alerts.

For many users in the biosciences, PubMed covers the needed literature and provides an easy to use alert system, MyNCBI. Again, Bio-Med has a guide for setting up this service.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you're having difficulty setting up an alert in our literature database systems.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 1:06 PM

January 27, 2006

Interested in Faculty of 1000?

Do you have a personal/laboratory subscription to BioMedCentral's Faculty of 1000 Biology or Faculty of 1000 Medicine service? If so, please drop me a line at Currently, we do not have a campus-wide subscription to these titles, and we would like to assess current use and interest on campus for this literature recommender service.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 12:17 PM

January 26, 2006

Why We Don't Have Access to (Part of) Genome Biology

BioMedCentral ("The Open Access Publisher") is probably familiar to most of you, as they have established several promising "open access" journals in the biosciences over the last couple years. Genome Biology is emerging as one of BMC's more prominent open access titles.

Except that this journal isn't open access. At least, not all of it.

While marketing itself as an open access publisher, BMC chose to considerably muddy the publishing-model waters in its creation of several titles like Genome Biology, publishing these partly under an "author pays, open access" model, and partly under a subscription-based model. In particular, review articles are only available by subscription to the journal.

In past years, this was not a completely unworkable issue, because the print version of the journal was available by subscription for a few hundred dollars. We could readily justify paying a few hundred dollars to get this access to the review articles. Unfortunately, as of 2006, Genome Biology is no longer being published in print, and an online subscription for an institution our size is approximately $2800.

Genome Biology published 6 review articles and 28 minireviews in 2005. At $2800, a subscription would cost us $82 per article. (There is other "subscription-only" material in Genome Biology -- meeting reports and the like -- but it is not the kind of literature that many researchers are primarily interested in, or that we would pay a premium for.)

Compare $82/article to four top (by impact factor) genetics review journals: Nature Reviews Genetics is listed at approximately $40/article, Trends in Genetics at $14/article, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development at $13/article, and Annual Review of Genetics $8, for an average of $19/article.

The pricing of Genome Biology is clearly out of step. Frankly, $2800 wouldn't be so out of line, if we were purchasing the whole journal (primary research as well as review articles) by subscription. But the primary research articles in Genome Biology are published in the open access model, and the U of M Libraries already support BioMedCentral's open access publishing to the tune of $10,000. Beyond the financial consideration though, there just seems something disingenuous about a heavily marketing a journal under the idealized "open access" model, when the journal is only partly open. It seems that Genome Biology is trying to have its cake and eat it too.

We will certainly keep looking at the status and track record of this journal. If Genome Biology decreases its price, or markedly increases the amount of review content for the current price, such that it is in line with other review journals, we'll certainly look at subscribing again. Otherwise, unless it becomes apparent that Genome Biology is an indispensible research tool even at its hyperinflated price point, we will unfortunately be unable to deliver this title.

1. Cost/article figures taken from the Journal Cost-Effectiveness Search website:

Posted by Kevin Messner at 12:57 PM

January 24, 2006

SciFinder Scholar for Macintosh now available

SciFinder has (finally) released their Mac OS X version! If you're not familiar, SciFinder Scholar is the major bibliographic database for chemistry, including journal literature, conference literature, patents, and more. The resource is available for U of M students and staff. Download links and instructions are available at You can read more about its features at

Posted by Kevin Messner at 2:43 PM

January 18, 2006

U Libraries Now Have Access to "Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology"

By popular request, we now have access to the Berkeley Electronic Press journal title, "Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology." This journal "seeks to publish significant research on the application of statistical ideas to problems arising from computational biology." More info on the title is available at

Our access extends to volume 1 (2002). As with other e-journal titles, you can access these via the Libraries E-journals web page or through MNCAT. Unfortunately, "SAGMB" is not yet indexed by either PubMed, Inspec, BIOSIS, or even ISI Web of Science. The math and stats database MathSciNet does index the journal. I also found a smattering of citations for articles in the journal using Google Scholar.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 1:25 PM

January 13, 2006

ISI Essential Science Indicators, Other ISI Products Now Available

The U of M now has access to several additional segments of the ISI Web of Knowledge bibliographic information service. In addition to the Web of Science cited reference database and the Journal Citation Reports journal assessment tool, U of M faculty, staff, and students can now use the Essential Science Indicators,, and CrossSearch resources. The Web of Knowledge site is available through the Libraries' Indexes web page.

Essential Science Indicators: This tool provides access to several indicators of the research output, or productivity, of individual researchers, institutions, national rankings and journal rankings. Analogous to Journal Citation Reports Impact Factors, ESI tracks both total citation counts and cites per paper scores. The former indicates gross influence while the latter shows weighted influence, also called impact. Authors are selected for listing based on a cumulative citation count threshold. (Note that data in Essential Science Indicators are limited to Thomson Scientific-indexed journal articles only. Books, book chapters, or articles published in journals not indexed by Thomson Scientific are taken into account.)

Additionally, a number of editorial features help the user track current and historical trends in science. ESI includes lists of research areas called “Research Fronts,? algorithmically derived topics reflecting research intensive and breakthrough areas of current science. An additional commentary feature called “Special Topics? gives special description to selected areas of research.

(Incidentally, in a PNAS article, Jorge Hirsch at UCSD has also recently proposed another algorithm for ranking one's research performance, using ISI data: This web site gives research professionals working in a variety of occupations a tool to identify individuals, departments and laboratories that have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of science and technology in recent decades. Selected researchers in 21 broad subject categories in life sciences, medicine, physical sciences, engineering and social sciences are highlighted, representing the most highly cited within each category for the period 1981-1999, and comprising less than one-half of one percent of all publishing researchers.

CrossSearch: This tool allows simultaneous searches of the ISI Web of Science database, along with several other literature sources, including Agricola; All arXiv ePrint Archives (e.g. ArXiv Computer Science, Mathematics, Quantitative Biology); the Educator's Reference Desk ERIC Database; Popline Reproductive Health Literature; and PubMed. While only records from Web of Science contain cited reference information, CrossSearch may be of benefit to users in some disciplines in finding additional publications not in the Web of Science database.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 3:20 PM

January 12, 2006

New Current Protocols Titles Available

The University Libraries now have access to a total of nine of the Current Protocols titles. Current Protocols is a series of standard, authoritative guides to laboratory methods in the life sciences. The U of M now subscribes to CP in: Bioinformatics, Cell Biology, Human Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Protein Science, and Toxicology.

Posted by Kevin Messner at 11:34 AM

February 14, 2005

U Libraries purchases subscription to EcoSal

EcoSal is the online successor to the print text, "Escherichia coli and Salmonella: Cellular and Molecular Biology," from American Society for Microbiology Press. It is the premier reference source on the biology of the enteric bacterial cell. The online book encompasses the text of the second print edition, and is now continually expanded, updated, and revised by the editorial board.

The University Libraries now have a license for access to this important bacteriology resource. It is available through the Libraries' catalog, MNCAT, or at

Posted by Kevin Messner at 1:02 AM