Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Evernote's PDFs

I'm a big fan of Evernote as a research tool to use alongside EndNote. They are both databases. Evernote is good for keeping track of the messy stuff you start with, whereas EndNote is good for the accurate detail you need at the finish.
Evernote has just improved its PDF functionality: Search results will be highlighted inside of PDFs, you can easily drag PDFs out of Evernote, and you can even copy text.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

lexis is back

Links from the Library's pages seem to be working again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

New-look LegalTrac

The more web-like LegalTrac is here. So what have we got? Open it now and have look.
But first, a reminder about what LegalTrac does. It indexes journals related to law, since 1980ish. Although it has some full text, it is chiefly bibliographic, based on a beautifully crafted set of subject headings. So you use it to work out what you want, and get the article somewhere else, usually via the handy Article Linker button that sits within LegalTrac.

Advanced Search: key things to note
I'll start here, as this is where the links from the Law Subject Guide take you. If you have used LegalTrac before, this will be reassuringly familiar.
  • Search Assist. This second-guesses what you want. I was looking for things on Lange v Atkinson so typed in: lange. Search Assist offered lane change; Lange, Jessica; Lange, David and a few others, but did not suggest the case. Search Assist got in the way and got on my nerves, so I turned it off. Choice is good.
  • Limit results. By default LegalTrac will limit your results to documents with full text and to peer-reviewed publications. Most of LegalTrac is bibliographic (i.e. not full text) and a lot of valuable material is not classed as peer-reviewed (think, New Zealand Law Journal), so I recommend removing those limits. Do this via the Preferences option (via the Tools menu) and your changes will apply until you quit. There are other limits too, some more useful than others - limiting by date is potentially useful, but chances are you will never need to exclude circus reviews from your search results.
Search Results list: key things to note
  • The left-hand side bar has options to refine your search i.e. to search within those results. In this context, the Related Subjects (i.e. the subject headings) will narrow your search.
  • The main window shows the search summary (greyed out at the top) and lists the records. If you want to go straight to the full text, you get either a PDF icon or the Article Linker link (if there is no full text in LegalTrac).
Document view: key things to note
  • The left-hand side bar shows you Related Subjects. In this context, the Related Subjects (i.e. the subject headings) will expand your search - you can link to all other LegalTrac records with those subject headings. It's worth thinking about this for a moment, and comparing it to the Search Results view, where those same Related Subjects headings can be used as limits.
  • The main window shows the bibliographic record itself - not much there, really. But you can use the links to find other articles by those authors, or to find other articles in that journal. And you can use the Article Linker button to look for the full text, if there is no PDF.
  • The right-had side bar has options for printing, downloading, exporting to EndNote (that's via the Citation Tools link).
 Enough for now. The Advanced Search is not that different, but it is still good.

A lexis web-like experience

We're having problems accessing the lexis.com site - that's big Lexis, not the NZ site. There is a Plan B, which involves going directly to lexis.com and signing in with a special username and password. We can give you that special username and password, but we can't publish it to the blog, so you'll have to ask. Sorry!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A more web-like experience

LegalTrac is changing tomorrow, to deliver you a more web-like experience. And when I say LegalTrac, I mean the whole Gale/InfoTrac family, which includes Academic OneFile and Expanded Academic.
This is mainly a look-and-feel thing - look out for hot topics, popular article links, intuitive 'search assist' features.
But it will affect people who have set up personal accounts with Gale: All URLs and search alerts will convert seamlessly, however, named user accounts and saved documents will not. New user profiles will need to be created on the new interface.
More on this as it unfolds.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gving it heaps

Back at work after a glorious break - Dunedin's weather at its finest - in which I made a compost heap. This has happened before: a wonderful holiday and all I have to show for it is a steaming heap. But that heap is the result of happy pottering in the garden, weeding and shredding, an armful of comfrey, a handful of free-range chickenshit, and a beautiful morning collecting seaweed. I am hoping that my broccoli will carry some of the taste of summer with it, even in winter.
So there it is, a compost heap. Just like my day job, really - lots of dry, brown stuff with the occasional high-nitrogen boost; stir it all up a bit; let it mature; spread it around, and hope that somehow it will help other people's intellectual fruits to flourish.
As it happens, a lot of the dry, brown stuff from work (statistics, old strategies, visions and revisions) has been shredded and is in my compost heap: the word about to become vegetable. So one way or another, I'll be eating my words this year.
Anyway, here's to a productive 2012, at home and at work!