Women as academic authors over the years, 1665-2010

Infographics are visually appealing and effective ways of representing statistics, knowledge, and data, both qualitative and quantitative. Some are static and others are interactive, like this infographic showing the percentage of academic papers published by women over the last five centuries.You can interact with the infographic by selecting which time period you would like to see represented and you can also sort the information in a few different ways. Be sure to read more about the data and how it was gathered, examined, and ultimately represented. This infographic comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education and the data was drawn from JSTOR, a digital archive of scholarly papers, by researchers at the University of Washington.

Image courtesy of www.bestcollegesonline.com

Watch the growth of Walmart and Sam’s Club, 1962-2010

Sometimes you just have to “see” the numbers to believe them. Walmart has to be one of the most ubiquitous big-box stores in North America. When it comes to how many retail outlets there are, there’s really no number that would surprise me. But if you translate that statistic into a cool data visualization map, I’m blown away. Check out this video from FlowingData where you can watch Walmart “spread like wild fire” across the US.

Image from www.neoformix.com

“Unlike humans, the Earth never sleeps”

Words are hardly necessary here because the image says it all. When I first saw this I thought it was fake or enhanced in some way. I was wrong. It’s actually “[a] global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite, [and it] shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across Earth in greater detail than ever before.” Read more about this image and how it was created here.

Image courtesy of www.science.nasa.gov

Zip it!

I just recently retired my bike for the season. It’s true, the roads are not icy or covered in snow…yet. So I do feel like a bit of a wimp for walking and taking the Metro when I could be cruising to work in 15 minutes on my trusty Peugeot. However, I will have to get used to the longer/less convenient commute, because I’m not the girl who gears up with goggles and snow pants and shreds through downtown Montreal mid-January! I want to be though. So with that in mind, I started researching cheap and easy ways to winterize my bike for next year (I need substantial time to get used to the idea) and I came across this great little invention: zip tie snow tires! Fritz Rice, the man behind the zip tie snow tires idea, has this to say: “I can accelerate, brake, and corner with aplomb, even on the vile snowpack/sheet ice mix the plows leave in the bike lanes. The zip ties dig nicely into the hardest packed surfaces, but they’re thin enough not to bounce the bike around at low speed or on short pavement sections.” Simple and effective. A great combo. Read more here.

Image courtesy of ca.gizmodo.com

The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)

Here at The Turret we like videos a lot. We assume our readers do too. What if I told you that there was a peer-reviewed (scholarly) video journal that publishes biological, medical, chemical and physical research in a video format? Check out The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) through McGill’s journal subscriptions if you don’t believe me. McGill has select access to three of the six sections covered in JoVE: General, Neuroscience, and Immunology and Infection. It’s worth mentioning that each “video article” is accompanied by a textual equivalent with abstract, discussion, step-by-step instructions and a materials list. JoVE also won the “Best Original Content” award from the Library Journal earlier this month. Librarian approved!

Image from the JoVE website www.jove.com

Ladies, get editing!

Last month, in sync with Ada Lovelace Day – an international day celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math – a group of 20 or so volunteers gathered for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the library of the Royal Society in London. Not surprisingly, there’s some gender inequality on Wikipedia so the mission was  to edit and create Wikipedia entries on women who have made significant contributions to the STEM fields. “Making women more visible is a huge job that’ll take a long time. This is a spark. It has awakened a lot of interest,” – Uta Frith, a neuroscientist at University College London and one of the leaders of the event. It certainly awakened my interest and I hope yours too. To learn more about the edit-a-thon, including who got involved, and some of the entries that were added or expanded upon, read this news article from Nature.

Image from www.mindingthecampus.com

May the Force be with you

Last week it was announced that George Lucas sold his company, Lucasfilm, to the Walt Disney Company. This means that Disney now owns the Star Wars franchise. Disney plans to release a Star Wars movie every two to three years, starting with Episode 7 in 2015. With a rabid fan base, this is good news for Star Wars devotees. Next we’ll be keeping our ears open for news of who plans to direct. In the spirit of this announcement, here’s a link to a short video that explains light beam technology.

Image from www.nasa.gov

Scientific and technical writing

I recently attended an information session for civil engineering students enrolled in a one credit technical writing course. The students must write a fifteen page technical paper on a civil engineering topic of their choice. They will be graded on content, organization, paper presentation, and quality of writing. The benefits of being able to write well cannot be overstated. Students who are preparing for a career in a technical profession might not appreciate how important writing skills are. Without strong writing skills, it will be difficult to advance in your career. McGill Library has a great selection of writing and style guides, specifically for science and engineering students. Below are some examples:

1. The ACS style guide: effective communication of scientific information 

2. Making sense: a student’s guide to research and writing : engineering and the technical sciences

3. Pocket book of technical writing for engineers and scientists

4. Style and ethics of communication in science and engineering (eBook)

And be sure to visit the McGill Library webpage, Writing tools, where you will find links to resources on topics ranging from grammar to academic integrity.

Image from www.blogs.discovermagazine.com

McGill Library’s Open Access Workshops

McGill Library is offering two fantastic workshops this month, in celebration of Open Access Week. Sure, the workshops are next week, but we’re flexible like that. Mark your calendars and join us for one or both of these informative sessions:


1. Open Access Sources: your key to accessing free and reliable research beyond the university gates
Workshop ● Monday, October 29th ● 12:00 -13:30 ● Redpath eClassroom

Are you wondering what will happen after you graduate and you no longer have access to your McGill subscriptions to online research materials? Come to this hands-on workshop and learn how to:

  • Access reliable research once you’ve graduated from McGill
  • Find and use a variety of Open Access resources that are available for free online

2. Connecting with reliable, open access health information on the Web
Workshop ● Tuesday, October 30th ● 15:00 – 16:30 ● Redpath eClassroom

Do you and your family members have questions about health and wellness? Come to this workshop and learn how to:

  • Find reliable and free online consumer health information to answer your health and wellness questions
  • Assess the information and determine if it will be useful to you, your friends and your family
  • Access a collection of  books, available at McGill, written specifically for consumers on health and wellness topics

To learn more about workshops offered by McGill Library, click here.

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 www.journaltocs.ac.uk