Keep up-to-date with new pulications in your area

At the beginning of this month I posted about a helpful and time saving current awareness tool, email alerts, and how to set up a search alert in an article database. Today I want draw your attention to another current awareness tool, Table of Contents (TOC) alerts and to JournalTOCs, an excellent aggregating service that allows you to get TOC alerts for specific journals. JournalTOCs contains the latest Tables of Contents of over 20 000 scholarly journals, 4 400 of which are Open Access.

By setting up an account for free (simply a username and password) you can search or browse for the journal titles you want to follow, then JournalTOCs alerts you when new issues of your followed journals are published. You can save and import your selected journal titles into your favourite RSS feed reader, set up TOC email alerts, or both. There are other customization options to explore as well.

Visit the website, sign up, and give it a try. One way to look for journal titles in your discipline is to go to Browse > Subject and then scroll through the alphabetical list. Once you select a subject, you can view those subject-specific journal titles as well as how many followers that title has. You can also see whether the journal listed is subscription-based or Open Access.

JournalTOCs has made it simple to go into your account and deselect journal titles you no longer wish to follow, and to add new ones. So don’t be shy and start experimenting with some of these tools that help to keep you on top of the latest research in your field.

Image from

Beagle – the €9.90 e-reader

A tiny e-reader, called Beagle, only five inches and 128 grams, was introduced by Txtr at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. It has no Wi-Fi embedded, and it needs to work with smartphone to add e-books.  “The main selling point is its low price – €9.90 ($12.88 USD)”. Read more at here.

At McGill University, you actually can borrow an e-reader from the Library. To find an e-book, you may explore this page or search in the e-book sub-catalogue.

Did you feel the earthquake?

I felt the earthquake last Wednesday night and I only realized that it was an earthquake after it had happened.  The Government of Canada has some safety tips on its website about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake.  Natural Resources Canada also has an Earthquake Database that you can search to obtain data about earthquakes in or near Canada since 1985.  Details about last week’s earthquake are available (use the “Report details” menu on the left-hand side of the page to look at the different sections of the report).

Image from Microsoft Office Clipart

Open access textbooks downloadable for free –

If you would like a quality and free e-book on a topic of your studies, might be a place to go. It provides more than 800 free textbooks in PDF format for everyone to download, even without registration. Topics cover from economics, statistics, IT, engineering, to natural science. Don’t think free things are always in poor quality. Actually, most titles on were written by authoritative authors in the field. Find a book that you are interested in at

Gault Nature Reserve

This is a great time of year to get outdoors in a big scarf and take a walk, listening to the crunching of the leaves under your feet. You don’t have to venture too far outside Montreal to get a nature fix and find some nice hiking trails. Close by, in Mont Saint-Hilaire, you’ll find the Gault Nature Reserve, a private Reserve affiliated with the Faculty of Science of McGill University. From their website:

Gault Nature Reserve of McGill University is a private Reserve which protects 1000 hectares of natural primeval forests of the St. Lawrence Valley. Situated at Mont-Saint-Hilaire approximately 40 km from Montreal, this panoramic natural landscape is ideal for discovering nature, teaching and university research. The public sector with 25 km of trail network is open 365 days per year for visitors’ enjoyment.

Affiliated with the Faculty of Science of McGill University, the Gault team offers support to research and teaching of natural sciences while providing a wide range of services to the university community and the general public.

Image from

Science & technology research in Canada

The Council of Canadian Academies recently released a report entitled, The State of Science and Technology in Canada, 2012.  It reveals the 6 research fields in which Canada is among the best.  These are:

  • Clinical Medicine
  • Historical Studies
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
  • Visual and Performing Arts

For more information, read the report or watch the video below:

Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine Symposium at McGill on Friday and Saturday

Carrie Derick, Canada's first female full professor

Carrie Derick, Canada’s first female full professor

If you’re coming to McGill for Homecoming next weekend, you might want to check out the Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine Symposium (WISEMS) 2012, on Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13 in the Redpath Museum Auditorium.

“As part of McGill Homecoming 2012, this first Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine Symposium (WISEMS) marks the centenary of the university’s first geneticist, Carrie Derick, being appointed as Canada’s first female professor.”

Have a look at the full schedule for this free symposium, which will look at the history, current status and future of women in STM fields.

Previously: We’ve come a long way baby, right?

Image: by Smithsonian Institution (from flickr Commons)

No plans for the long weekend? Why not catch some zzz’s?

This is one of my favourite TED Talks from Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep. It was recorded live at TEDWomen in December, 2010. She knows something about the value of sleep, having fainted from exhaustion and broken her cheekbone on her desk. If you feel exhaustion creeping up, this short pep talk may be just the thing.

Schulich Library will be closed this Thanksgiving Monday so I plan on taking her advice and getting the most out of the long weekend with a few good sleeps.

Sweet dreams!

Now in the realm of the possible: the 10-dollar robot has a story about the winners of the AFRON “10 Dollar Robot” Design Challenge, run by the African Robotics Network (AFRON). The object of the contest was to see what sorts of design ideas would arise, in the hope of creating really affordable robots for educational use in Africa (and elsewhere), similar to what Raspberry Pi aims to do for computing.

“The contest had a few simple restrictions, including the loose $10 target; entrants from around the world had to build a prototype, offer instructions on a website, and make the whole plan open-source, software included. The winners were little, an inch or two in size and up, never more than a foot long. They were sourced from cardboard, old cell phones, and circuit boards. They performed simple tasks: navigating, following lines, even communicating with each other.”

Kilobot from Harvard University, introduced in the video below, was the winner in the Traditional (Roaming) Category.

[Video link]

These $10 Robots Will Change Robotics Education

2012 McGill University Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Conference

This event will take place on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the lobby of the Arts Building. It is a great opportunity for everyone to see the outstanding research work done by some of the Science undergraduate students and get inspired by the creative ideas behind each poster. Viewing of student posters starts at 10 am. Please arrive before 4 pm for the prize ceremony and a keynote address by NSERC President Dr. Suzanne Fortier. Please click here to learn more about this event and its schedule. You may also read this article published in McGill Reporter for further information.