Validating scientific research

The New York Times reported earlier this year that the number of published scientific articles that were retracted by journals has increased over the years.  The articles were withdrawn due to false claims or errors in research data.

The Reproducibility Initiative was recently launched to improve the quality of preclinical biological research.  According to its website, “the Reproducibility Initiative is a new program to help scientists validate studies for publication or commercialization. Simply submit your study, and we’ll match you to one of our 1000+ expert providers for validation. Validations are conducted blind, on a fee-for-service basis.”

Image from Microsoft Office Clipart

An electronic copy of your textbook

Now you know that you can find your textbook by searching the Course Reserves Catalogue. Many students who attended the library orientation or dropped by at the library service desk asked a same question – “Is there an e-copy available for my textbook?” The answer is “it depends”. There are a few steps that you could take to find it out by yourselves:

1. Look at your course syllabus to see if there is an indication of an e-copy.

2. Search the Course Reserves Catalogue by your course number, course name, instructor etc.

3. Check the Library E-books Catalogue by your book title or author.

4. For a book published recently by Springer or Wiley, it is worthwhile to go to SpringerLink Books or Wiley InterScience Online Books to check the availability of an e-copy.

5. The library service desk staff and your liaison librarians are always willing to help you out.

Shopping for a laptop

Do you need to purchase a new laptop?  Are you debating whether to buy a Windows PC or a Mac?  For advice from technology experts, see “PC or Mac? The experts weigh in.”

If you would like a test drive, you can borrow Windows or Mac laptops for 48 hours at the loans desk of almost all of the McGill Library’s branches.  A number of iPads are available to borrow for a one-week period.

Image from HippolyteBayard

Another piece on stratospheric albedo modification

Carnegie Mellon University’s geoengineering expert, Jay Apt, and his group have recently put up with a price on the plan of spraying aerosol into stratosphere in order to reflect more solar radiation back into space. In fact, this proposal has been controversial for a long while. Other than the issue of expense, the environmental and political risks that will be produced by this plan remain unsolved. The following documentary entails the story.

Read more at Cost analysis of stratospheric albedo modification delivery systems

Welcome / Welcome Back!

For those new to McGill, welcome, and for those returning for another year, welcome back!

It’s a busy time of the year, as students scramble to find their classrooms, course reserves, student service centres, etc. You can take solace in the fact that McGill Library has organized fun and informative orientation activities that demystify library loans and research and help you get the most out of the library. You will learn about all the collections and services and how to find everything you need.

Schulich Library is leading tours and giving workshops everyday for the next couple of weeks and they are all on a drop-in basis. To see a schedule and to read more about Library Orientation at Schulich as well as at other library branches, click here.

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Course reserves now on 2 day loan

Reserve book on 2 day Reserve loanCourse textbooks that were once shelved behind the Loans desk at the entrance to Schulich Library have now moved to the regular collection of books on the different floors. Search the Course Reserves Catalogue for your course number, course name, instructor, etc., to see if a reserve book is available. Once you find the book on the shelf you can borrow it at one of the auto-loan machines located across from the elevators on the main floor.

Rather than having course reserves for 3 hours at a time, they now have a 2 day loan period, indicated by stickers on the spine and the cover (see image), with no renewals and no holds. Extra copies of textbooks can be found on Level 5 in room 513 for in-library use only, shelved alphabetically by author.

Don’t forget that Schulich Library is open for study 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. You can check out reserve books all hours of the day and night. Just be sure to have your McGill ID card on hand.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on the course reserves move – let us know how we are doing!

Image by Rebecca Nicholson

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s a paper plane!

Paper planes that crossed the distance line

Some of the planes that made it across the line

Last weekend, while at the Montreal Mini Maker Faire, I received some advice on constructing paper airplanes, including why one might want to add ailerons (straight flying) or an airfoil (slower, longer glide) to improve the performance of their folded-paper gliding machine. And I recently found this conference paper, “On the aerodynamics of paper airplanes,” when we heard that we were going to have something of a paper airplane distance contest happening in Schulich Library of Science and Engineering. Finally on Thursday, I was on hand – now well equipped – to referee the Schulich Library leg of the Amazing Library Race.

As part of Library Orientation (on now!) over 40 students  took part in the Amazing Library Race last Thursday afternoon, which involved participants racing between various branch libraries and completing tasks before moving on to the next location and task. At Schulich Library the new students’ challenge was to build and “fly” a paper airplane a prescribed distance – the distance was kind of arbitrary, but I would estimate it at about 5 meters – before receiving their next clue. Whether or not the planes had ailerons, most of the successful models were similar to the classic dart-style plane discussed in the paper above. Regardless, all of the groups were eventually able to get their plane to cross the distance line with their paper-plane-engineering savvy!

Orientation activities at Schulich Library and across the Library system continue this week and into the school year. Come check it out now and save time later on!

Previously: Ready! Set! Get Oriented!

Image by Rebecca Nicholson