Subscribing to Journals with your institutional Subscription

There are some journals and magazines that you want to read every article in. However, in the institutional subscriptions that most academic libraries use, there are a lot of tiny (less than 150 word) articles that clutter up email alerts and RSS feeds.

This is a strategy to create smart RSS feeds and email alerts with only the larger articles.

Because I’m using some less-documented features, I’ll show you how to do this in two of the largest vendors, EbscoHost and ProQuest.

ProQuest

At the University of Toronto, we have access to Rolling Stone through CBCA Complete.

You can generally find the internal ProQuest ID’s of journals and magazines by clicking on the journal name in any generic search result, or through your OpenURL resolver.

The Rolling Stone internal ID on ProQuest is 47797

You can search for Rolling Stone in your ProQuest subscription by using this search string.

PUBID(47797)

You can create an alert within the ProQuest interface for every article, but as mentioned earlier a lot of tiny articles will clutter up your alerts. ProQuest uses the operator WC to allow you to limit or place a lower limit the number of words in your search results.

The WC operator uses > (greater than) and < (less than) in front of the number of words. To only get longform articles from Rolling Stone, you can use this search string.

PUBID(47797) WC(>500)

ProQuest search results should be sorted by the ‘Most Recent first’. With this search string and sort option, you can then create the alerts inside ProQuest.

Gale

At the University of Toronto have access to International Affairs through our Academic OneFile subscription

Gale uses the Publication Title operator to identify individual works. You can find International Affairs with this search.

Publication Title (“International Affairs”)

Gale uses the Word Count operator to limit word counts, and uses the > or < in front of number of words..

To get only longform articles from International Affairs, use this search string.

Publication Title (“International Affairs”) AND Word Count (>500 )

Ebsco

At the University of Toronto we have access to the National Review through our subscription to Corporate ResourceNet.

Ebsco uses the JN operator to identify individual works. You can find the National Review with this search.

JN “National Review”

Ebsco does not use a word count operator, instead offering a page count limit. Put a page-count limit of Greater Than 1 and create a search alert inside the Ebsco interface.

 

All three interfaces allow both RSS and Email subscriptions to alerts with these search options.

 

Insights from Have MLIS, Will Travel

I’ve been running my experiment in library job sharing for a month now. This is very, very early preliminary data. It excludes some jobs that were not logged properly by by logging function.

In the cleaned up data set, I have 579 jobs for the month of March.

HMWT - 1

61 of those jobs are in Canada

HMWT - 2.PNG

As you can see from the images, three types of jobs predominate. Management, Liaison/Reference and Youth Services

Here’s a map of jobs posted in the month of March.

https://batchgeo.com/map/e63c0338ed78ace8558981cbe9f6c155

I’m going to start excluding school librarian positions from the jobs I’m sharing. I’m happy to share an RSS feed of those jobs to anyone interested in starting their own job board for school librarians.

I can also offer an RSS feed of the library technician positions.

Improvements to work on

  1.  fix the logging function.
  2. start excluding school librarian postings (as of April 1)
  3. Combine the Liaison and Reference job ‘types’
  4. duplicate detection

 

 

Have MLIS, Will Travel – Quick note

I’ve been slowly working out the kinks on my new job-sharing site, Have MLIS, Will Travel. While it is not quite ready for general use right now, it is looking very promising

In my test phase, since the API calls to the Google Places API contain so much data, I’ve been saving and logging the Latitude/Longitude of the city for each job posting. I’m attaching a quick visualization for a small selection of the data collected over the last month.

https://batchgeo.com/map/d4dbd9868697acca508ca651a0dbdc54

 

Advanced Information Management for Job Searching

This post is a collection of tools and a workflow I used for my latest job search.

Sources

My job search was focused on the Greater Toronto Area.

Indeed.ca – is a job search tool. It has it’s good points and it’s bad points but the best part of Indeed is… RSS feeds!

My Indeed.ca feeds were searches for –

  • Every college and university in the GTA as the ‘Employer’
  • Librarian
  • Knowledge Management
  • Document Management
  • Records Management
  • Instructional Designer

INALJ.com Ontario Great job aggregator tool, but no RSS feeds.

University of Toronto iSchool Job Board – Great job aggregator tool, and it has an RSS feed

The Partnership Job Board

Code4Lib Job Board

McGill SIS Job Listserv

IFLA LibJobs Listserv

Tools

Feedly

Instapaper

Google Documents

LinkedIn

Page2RSS

Feed43

Zapier

Gmail

 

Setup

At CNA-Q, I’ve been operating under contract-based employment for all six years I’ve been here, so I’ve kept my ear to the ground about jobs in Canada. I signed up for the McGill SIS Jobs Board early on, and I push all of those emails into a folder in my Gmail labelled ‘Job Listings’.

As I started actively planning for my move from CNAQ, I went to Indeed and set up all of my RSS feeds for jobs. I knew that I was looking for an academic library job, so I set up alerts for every college and university in the Toronto area. I then created general searches for

  • Librarian
  • Knowledge Management
  • Document Management
  • Records Management
  • Instructional Designer

I put all of these searches in to my RSS reader. I like Feedly, and use it to monitor a lot of news and library blogs. I added all of these searches into a folder called ‘Job Search’

The U of T job board has an excellent RSS feed, so it was added to Feedly too.

I knew of INLJ, but it has a frustrating interface. More importantly, it has no RSS feeds. I started using the Page2RSS service to grab daily changes to the INLJ Ontario page, but that got annoying after a while and I started looking for an option that would allow me to identify individual jobs that are posted. At this point, I came across Feed43. Feed43 setup is a little beyond the scope of this post, but it allows you to identify sections of repeating HTML on any webpage and turn that into a properly formatted RSS feed.

I keep both the individual job Feed43 feed and the Page2RSS feed live in Feedly.

I then subscribed by email to the IFLA job board, the Partnership job board and the Code4Lib Job Board

This put me in a situation where I was checking two locations. I’m always on Feedly, but I don’t check my email as often. I went looking for a tool to turn Email into an RSS feed and I found Zapier. If you’re familiar with IFTTT, then you grasp the basic idea of Zapier.  Zapier provides you with a very simple graphical way to connect services that wouldn’t otherwise talk to each other. Zapier allowed me to create an RSS feed for my Gmail jobs folder. That feed was plugged into Feedly.

Workflow

Every morning, I’d read through the postings from all of these RSS feeds on Feedly. I’d make very quick decisions on whether to look further at a job, and skipped the majority of the posts that came up.

When I decided to look closer at a job posting, I’d open it up and read the post briefly. If it looked reasonable and matched my skill set I saved it to Instapaper using the share function on my iPad or the plugin in Chrome, depending on where I was reading it.

Once a day, after work was over, I’d review the selection of jobs I saved to Instapaper. Using this method, I found myself finding between 2-5 reasonable jobs per week that matched my skill set and experience. I applied for about 95% of the jobs I saved to Instapaper. I often printed these out and highlighted key words in each job application

Writing Cover Letters

 The University of Toronto has a standard job application format where you email a single file containing a cover letter, resume and references. While each institution  has their own standards for how to receive documents, the University of Toronto standard application format has some real benefits to the job applicant.

  • It keeps your customization within a single document.
  • It provides a way to collect information in one place if there are any special requirements
  • It limits the number of files you have to look at

I do all of my word processing in Google Docs. The U of T format allowed me to have application ‘packages’. If the potential employer was using a particularly stringent format, I could print single pages to PDF and then upload them into the individual Applicant Tracking Systems.

The standard advice for job hunting is to customize your application for every employer. That is wise advice, but if you try to write each application from scratch, you will find yourself without any other time (even at 2-5 applications per week).

I started by very carefully applying for jobs, and re-writing my application for each position. I then approached some very wise friends, including someone who works as a recruiter and a friend at the University of Toronto. These people helped me refine my resume and cover letter to something short, effective and well developed.

After I had a ‘template’ for my cover letters down with input from working librarians and my recruiter friend, I started customizing my letters slightly less. I would start with a previously-written application package for a similar position, then customized each cover letter and resume based on keywords.

Here are some of the things I did to minimize errors.

  • I only used the name of the institution and the name of the job position in the first line of the application package
  • I read through the completed cover letter forward, then backwards
  • I minimized customization to my resume to only ‘critical’ requirements for the job. ‘Optional’ requirements were covered in my cover letter.

Any extra documentation, like salary requirements were placed on sheets after the completed ‘package’. I could tell with a glance if the application package had this extra documentation because it was more than 4 pages.

Please contact me @brettlwilliams if you’d like to see examples of my application “package” format, or if you would like to use the RSS feeds I created for INLJ Ontario.

 

 

 

 

Dawn Alarm Clock & Workflow

I’ve been trying out the new app Workflow, and I’ve been enjoying the features this app brings to IOS 8. I’ve consolidated all of my social media sharing into a single workflow, and I’ve set up a workflow to create Do Not Link links for sharing controversial blog posts on forums

This is the most complicated workflow I’ve created, an app that adds a calendar entry for dawn tomorrow, based on your location and the Sunrise Sunset API

This is a first draft, if you have a way to improve it, let me in know!

Dawn Alarm Clock

ASM Handbooks EZproxy Stanza

After searching a number of different places, I had to write my own EZproxy stanza for the ASM handbooks.

The ASM website is put together in a simple way, which makes this basic ASM Handbook stanza appropriate. If you have a better stanza for ASM, please let me know.

T ASM International Handbooks
U http://products.asminternational.org/hbk/index.jsp
D asminternational.org

Answer to How does a reference librarian know where to look for sources for a topic she may know nothing about?

Try to get back to the member, rather than searching in front of them.

2. Use Google Scholar and branch your searches to get an idea of what the member is looking for.

3. Once you have a gist, use Wikipedia and Creedo Reference/ dictionaries/encyclopedias to get a basic outline of the structure of the question.

4. Dive into your regular databases.

Example: I had a prof email me about finding the “igen code for an author” that would tell him how reliable a work was. Google Scholar helped correct the spelling problem (Eigenfactor, not code) and the misunderstanding about what it was useful for ( journals, not authors)

By using several different search terms in Google Scholar and going down multiple pathways in my searches I was able to figure it out. You will pick this up really fast, especially when you get comfortable with the e-resources at your institution. A lot of difficult questions can be answered by knowing how information is structured within the particular field, so it’s good to note how papers, books and the eresources are put together and published. I’m new in the field myself, so shoot me a question if you’d like more help.

 

Originally answered on Quora

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