I’m reposting this today as I’ve got a session with our 2nd years on information literacy this afternoon. We’ll be covering Web of Science searches along with other hints and tips for wrangling the scientific literature.
First published February 9th, 2009 on v2.0…
It has just gone 8.30am and on this snowy Monday morning I have reached my desk, set my shoes to dry on the office radiator and booted the computer. Before I make my first cup of tea of the day, I’m blogging. Procrastination? Actually, no, let’s call it a plea for help.
The first thing I do on Monday mornings is log into Web of Knowledge and search for ‘dendrimer’ with Latest(current)week setting. I know, you’re thinking that there is nothing unusual about this. Perhaps you’ve seen my profile and noticed that part of my research is to do with these dendrimer things. It is only natural that I’d search for recent papers published that may be relevant. No, the problem is that I do this every Monday morning that I’m at a desk with a computer, and I have done this ever Monday morning (except for holidays and brief unemployment) since the turn of the millennium.
It has never occurred to me to automate this search in any way, shape or form. It has, if I may suggest such a thing, become a research related ritual. The difference this morning is that it struck me as odd.
As keyword searches go, it is pretty lousy. One lonely keyword spanning a whole subfield of chemistry. No specification for biomedical applications, or environmental metal stuff, no acknowledgment that other keywords may yield relevant results (for example: polymer, hyperbranched polymer etc), and that combinations of them may be quite efficient.
It doesn’t work, yet I do it weekly. One task for today: find a better way! Will update later…