Invaluable: Research Blogging Portal. Researcgblogging.org aggregates blogs and their posts produced by academics. Where else could you easily find, Why Justin Timberlake Should Avoid Transitive Verbs.
I track a lot of subjects which interest me. This effort is subject to the shortcoming of my extroverted intuition, for which the acquisition of data can come to be one-sided, and at the expense of actually dealing with, or taking the data ‘in.’ If you possess a similar typology you might then agree that the internet is both boon and bane.
When I scroll back fifteen years, my basic discovery modes were aimed at three resources: the library and its card catalog, book stores and their shelves, and a precursor to the internet, various article databases on CD-ROM and microfiche. I became acquainted with the WAIS, Wide Area Information Server, and Gopher search, and Jughead, a few years before I came online in 1995, but this initial internet combination wasn’t very efficient, compared to searching, (after my move back to Cleveland,) through article databases on the old CD-ROM system or on distributed databases at Lakewood Public Library. Interestingly, those archaic database-oriented routines generated data very slowly because the final phase of data capture involved printing the article out on a dot matrix printer–slooow; click clack click.
Before Google search became king around 2000, I used Inktomi and Excite. Google changed everything. Then, in 2005, while working in the tech center of a library, I sometimes was called to assist patrons who couldn’t find what they were looking for using Google. Although Google’s advanced search is grand, most times it was enough to enclose search terms in quotation marks, and stick a plus sign in front of the primary term to solve their riddle. My modest expertise at ‘search’ was often received as wizardry.
I read academic research in all those fields to which I am a wanderer. My number one search tip is, in Google, using the subject folk psychology as an example:
inurl:edu filetype:pdf “folk psychology”
inurl:edu filetype:doc “folk psychology”
Bingo, a goldmine. This search string drills down to the ‘edu’ domain, and finds mostly articles, and usually the articles are attached to the CV or bibliographic page on a scholar’s academic home page. Of course once you have the url, you can back off it to all sorts of repositories. Chapters from books can be found and plucked too:
inurl:edu +chapter “folk psychology”
Conference portals are also great resources. Speaking of Adobe Acrobat pdf,
Beyond the PDF Wiki conference, January 19-21, 2011 University of California San Diego. Jodi Schneider’s report at Ariadne (“Ariadne is a Web magazine for information professionals in archives, libraries and museums in all sectors.”)
To me, the main appeal of an iPad would be being able to use it to read journal articles without a ‘top’ on my lap. Almost needless to say, Apple has made it difficult to import PDFs. Still, I’m imagining such a day for myself.