Friday, 26 February 2010

Recommended Website of the Month - Great PDF

Posted by Andy

GreatPDF is a pdf search engine for PDF ebooks, manual, catalogs, sheets, forms and documents. I've tried a few test runs with various search terms, qualitative health research' for example and turned up hundreds of results.

Sadly it does fall down in one or two areas:
  • Firstly, that there is no clear evidence of how many results your search finds, as there are no page numbers.
  • Secondly, there is no advanced search function, hopefully this is something they will rectify in the short-term.
  • Thirdly, there is no additional information in the search results, meaning you have to click on the link to see the paper.

So on that evidence, I would use this for searching for specific PDFs that you know exist, or as a last result when searching for a topic that turns up poor results.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Research Funding Update - Projects and Programmes

Photo by cometstarmoon
Posted by Andy

The latest issue of the Research Funding Update can be viewed by following this link.

Previous editions of the update can be viewed here

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Cool Tool #5 Dropbox

Posted by Andy

Dropbox has been around for some time and I've been meaning to set it up on my PC for much of that time. The main reason for not using it was that I wasn't too sure that it actually offered any thing more than from what I'd been using for the past few years with the likes of Mediafire, Divshare and Rapidshare to name but a few. Oh how I was wrong...

In the days of mobile and home working, it's essential that you have the ability to move and share files easily. Not so long ago we would have been moving our tiny word files about the country on floppy discs, then burning CDs, which initially was very expensive and eventually using USB sticks. All of these are open to a few common 'human' flaws, that we can leave them on the train, lose them in our homes and offices, or even have too many that we cannot remember what is on each one. Even with encrypted memory sticks, we still run the risk of losing them from our key rings, or even forgetting our password. Saying that, there is still a strong need to use these, especially when moving sensitive data, how many stories have we read in the media about sensitive files getting lost? There's also the issue of memory sticks corrupting. I remember last semester when one of our Masters students lost his dissertation and other files when his stick corrupted, luckily he had a version two weeks younger on his home PC.

How Dropbox works differently is that it installs a tiny program on your PC and creates a folder, in which you drag any files you want to share or transfer. Then you simply install the program on any PC you wish to access the files, easy-peasy. In fact I was that impressed that I dragged two mp3 files, about 18 mb into my Dropbox folder at home and turned my PC off a minute or two later. When I arrived at work the next day, the two files were sitting in my folder at work and were totally playable.

In terms of situations where you may benefit from using Dropbox, I would suggest PowerPoint presentations, large documents, non sensitive data, in fact anything you're working on or wish to share across PCs.
Remember to apply common sense when using these tools when applied to sensitive data.

If you want to learn more, watch their video and read about the features below.

Dropbox Features

File Sync

Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.

  • 2GB of online storage for free, with up to 100GB available to paying customers.
  • Sync files of any size or type.
  • Sync Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
  • Automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected.
  • Work on files in your Dropbox even if you're offline. Your changes sync once your computer has an Internet connection again.
  • Dropbox transfers will correctly resume where they left off if the connection drops.
  • Efficient sync - only the pieces of a file that changed (not the whole file) are synced. This saves you time.
  • Doesn't hog your Internet connection. You can manually set bandwidth limits.

File Sharing

Sharing files is simple and can be done with only a few clicks.

  • Shared folders allow several people to collaborate on a set of files.
  • You can see other people's changes instantly.
  • A "Public" folder that lets you link directly to files in your Dropbox.
  • Control who is able to access shared folders (including ability to kick people out and remove the shared files from their computers).
  • Automatically create shareable online photo galleries from folders of photos in your Dropbox.

Online Backup

Dropbox backs up your files online without you having to think about it.

  • Automatic backup of your files.
  • Undelete files and folders.
  • Restore previous versions of your files.
  • 30 days of undo history, with unlimited undo available as a paid option.

Web Access

A copy of your files are stored on Dropbox's secure servers. This lets you access them from any computer or mobile device.

  • Manipulate files as you would on your desktop - add, edit, delete, rename etc.
  • Search your entire Dropbox for files.
  • A "Recent Events" feed that shows you a summary of activity in your Dropbox.
  • Create shared folders and invite people to them.
  • Recover previous versions of any file or undelete deleted files.
  • View photo galleries created automatically from photos in your Dropbox.

Security & Privacy

Dropbox takes the security and privacy of your files very seriously.

  • Shared folders are viewable only by people you invite.
  • All transmission of file data and metadata occurs over an encrypted channel (SSL).
  • All files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES-256) and are inaccessible without your account password.
  • Dropbox website and client software have been hardened against attacks from hackers.
  • Dropbox employees are not able to view any user's files.
  • Online access to your files requires your username and password.
  • Public files are only viewable by people who have a link to the file(s). Public folders are not browsable or searchable.

Mobile Device Access

The free Dropbox iPhone app lets you:

  • Access your Dropbox on the go.
  • View your files on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Download files for offline viewing.
  • Take photos and videos and sync them to your Dropbox.
  • Share links to files in your Dropbox.
  • View interactive photo galleries.
  • Sync downloaded files so they're up-to-date.

A mobile-optimized version of the website is available for owners of Blackberry phones and other Internet-capable mobile devices.

Find out about the system requirements to run Dropbox.

Table of Contents

Posted and photos by Andy

As previously mentioned by Sonia Rizzo via email, we have a new meeting table in our beloved library. "A new table" I hear you all say? You're probably thinking that it's not that newsworthy, but considering the lack of meeting spaces within ScHARR and the popularity of the existing ones, it probably is.
What is so special about this new meeting space?
  • Well it's very informal, not all meetings have minutes you know, although you can have minutes at ours :-) .
  • It has wireless access, so bring down your laptops, as many as you can carry...and a plug adapter if you want to use more than a couple, wall sockets are a premium.
  • There is an extensive collection of books and journals at a finger touch away, from statistics to quality of life, PharmacoEconomics to SPSS guides. Great if you want to meet with your students and suggest any resources.
  • Plus a member Information Resources team is always somewhere close if you need a quick answer to a quick question.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Latest Research Funding Update - Fellowships and Studentships

by Dave McLear

Posted by Andy

You can download the latest Research Funding update by going to our Research Funding page or you can view it directly here.

For more information please feel free to contact The Information Service @ ScHARR Library on 0114 2225420 or by email

Thursday, 4 February 2010

IR Baby No.4!!

Here he is....Jude Dylan Ryan Rees! Born on Thursday 28th January 2010 weighing in at a 'bonny' 9lb 13oz. Congratulations to Angie, Sam and big sister Joni!

Posted by Sonia
Photo by Samuel Rees

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Cool Tool #4 Readability

Posted by Andy

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you're reading.
Using the tool is incredibly easy, all you need to do is drag the Readability button to your web browser tool bar.

I've tried it on several websites and it works really well, I can see it being the perfect weapon when reading heaps of text on screen, and a great alternative to printing something that you may not want to keep.

Below is a video showing you how to use Readability.

Readability - Installation Video for Internet Explorer from Arc90 on Vimeo.

If you're not sold on the idea - just look at the before and after I tried using a Department of Health news page.

Click on the images to make them larger.



Undergraduate Library Flash Mob Rave

Posted by Mixmaster Andy

Maybe we could organise a similar event for ScHARR Library? Collaboration on the dancefloor anyone?

Do Libraries Meet Research 2.0?

Posted by Andy

Many thanks to Guus for mentioning our own ScHARR Library Netvibes portal in his very interesting presentation on Web2.0 and libraries.

Guus van den Brekel is the Coordinator of Electronic Services, Central Medical Library (CMB) The CMB is a medical library in the north of the Netherlands, part of the University Medical Center Groningen

You can view more of Guus's presentations at

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

February Edition of Take Five

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

To join the Take Five distribution list please contact me, Andy Tattersall by email or phone 0114 2220702

You can view it here