Friday, 26 June 2009

Recommended Website of The Month

Posted by Andy

I came across this site on an electronic music forum of things and was instantly taken by it, I did see it again at this year's EAHIL Conference. In a world where technology is doing more and more things for us and as a by-product making us feel that little bit more dumber, it was nice to come across a site that is so simple yet diverse in its offerings. That said, it potentially does a bit too much for us and certainly will be a life-saver for students and object of distrust from academics, especially those who increasingly see Wikipedia sneak into their classrooms and essays more often.

From what I've seen of it, it works really well and looks nice, you can work out everything calories to math formula to stocks and shares. The best way to understand it is to try it out for yourself - but below is Wolfram Alpha's own description if you want to hear about it from the wolf's mouth.

Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels. Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come. With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement. © Wolfram Alpha 2009

NEW: Research Funding Update Projects and Programmes

Photo by madmoiselle lavender
Post by Anna

Research Funding Update: Projects and Programmes

For more information about the funding service please visit our Research Funding page or contact me on 0114 2220894 or by email

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Posted by Andy

I've come across this interesting video on two seperate conferences and find it really thought-provoking. I'm sure there are parts you'll agree with and others you won't - apart from then he's talking about university professors!
Seriously though, I think despite Sir Ken focussing his talk on schools and children, the reality is that school leavers turn into university undergraduates. It is important that those who enter our doors arrive with the right mind set and skills and that we nurture these skills and contribute to them. The education plateau has shifted, there is a generation of students who cannot remember a world before The Internet. We need to work together with the prize of mutural creativity and therefore an output which adds value.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

ScHARR Library Blog - so far

Posted by Andy

Here is a tag cloud of our Delicious Links for the ScHARR Library so far - have a click and see where serendipity takes you :-)

Friday, 12 June 2009

Latest: Research Funding Update: Fellowships and Studentships

Photo by J
Post by Anna

Research Funding Update: Fellowships and Studentships

For more information about the funding service please visit our Research Funding page or contact me on 0114 2220894 or by email

Friday, 5 June 2009

Dublin Calling, Dublin Calling!

Photo by by testdriverone

Posted by Andy

I did set out with the intention of being all Web2.0 savvy and writing daily updates from the EAHIL Conference in Ireland, but if I’m truly honest I’ve not had time or been able to find a free laptop to plonk myself down in front of. So here I am in the makeshift Internet cafe consisting of a dozen or so laptops and a lot of wires – it’s all very much like what you’d see at a sporting event with journalists all filling copy to their various editors – except here it’s librarians and information bods checking emails, Ebay and EAHIL.

I was going to Twitter like a few of the people here, but a person like me usually needs more than 140m characters to say what I mean.

This morning’s plenary presentation on 'Supporting the Researcher of the Future' by myself and veteran conference speaker Andrew Booth went very well, and will no doubt lead to further presentations for the latter presenter. Already Andrew is booking flight tickets to Sweden and Portugal, such is the established brand.

As for me, It seems that a combination of sitting in the hotel bar last night reading my slides whilst mulling over a Coke, my wife’s Bach Flower Remedies and her prayers have seen me through my first ever presentation at a conference in front of about 180 people, although I wasn’t counting them.

I think the conference was really good, and following the feedback from various attendees it seems the presentation went down well. My startled rabbit impression before I spoke was only noticed by a couple of fellow University of Staff based in Information Studies, so I may well do this again sometime. For me personally the fact I made it through with no swearing, or inappropriate jokes was a result in its self.

I’ve seen little of Dublin expect the area around the castle and Temple Bar, although a nice walk along the river to the Dublin Zoo and Phoenix Park to meet my family last night was quite enjoyable – there’s no doubting the vibrancy in such a wonderful city – despite how much it costs to exist here.

Well the storm clouds are gathering as I prepare to take my family 45 miles down the road for a week or so in Wicklow, but being English I should be used to Island weather, in fact several people warned me of Ireland weather, so I should have expected it. Considering it had been sunny for the whole of this week and for the one previous to this – according to my taxi driver this morning – makes me feel somewhat better – not! A holiday is a holiday and I doubt a few rain showers will spoil it.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

NEW: Take Five

Photo by fortinbras
Post by Anna

Read the June edition of Take Five

The latest edition of Take Five is packed full of current awareness, training courses, research funding opportunities and new websites.

To join the Take Five distribution list please contact me, Anna Cantrell on 0114 2220894 or by email

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

LATEST Research Funding Update: Projects and Programmes

Photo by Richard aka Dave
Post by Anna

Research Funding Update: Projects and Programmes

For more information about the funding service please visit our Research Funding page or contact me on 0114 2220894 or by email

Monday, 1 June 2009


Oooooh, excuse the pun, a bit on the cringe-worthy side I know but I just could not resist it. So it's off to the Emerald Isle for EAHIL 2009 at Dublin Castle for myself and Andrew Booth to give a presentation titled ‘Supporting the Health Researcher of the Future’ later this week.

In essence, we will be focussing on the use of Web2.0, in particular Web Portals such as Netvibes and our very own ScHARR Library Portal. Details of the paper and presentation should follow in a later post on this blog.

It’s going to be case of ferries, planes and automobiles as Andrew hits the airport and I drag my family across to Holyhead and then cross the Irish Sea by their swift hovercraft, although I’m not sure whether two hours constitutes as being swift.

Our plenary presentation takes place on Friday morning in the main hall of Dublin Castle and after attending the final afternoon of the conference we will be heading down country to Wicklow for a week or so of rest and rehabilitation. It’s a shame that I’m tee-total as I gather the Guinness Factory Tour is pretty good, maybe my wife can go for me.

Photo by Jim Linwood

Posted by Andy