Thursday, October 9, 2008

RefAware

A wonderful piece of information in the mailbag, from Dissertator-On-High, Katie:

Hi scholarly friends,

I went to a presentation yesterday on the libraries' new utility: RefAware.


Basically, it's a way to sign up for regular updates on publications on topics of your choice. For instance, if I want to be made aware of any new publications that deal with Paul's letters in the New Testament in a feminist way, I could set up a search strategy for that, and RefAware would email me daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly--or never, and I justlog in periodically to get my results.

So here's how it works. At libraries.claremont.edu, you go to Quicklinks>RefAware. You have to create an account WITH A CLAREMONT COLLEGES DOMAIN in your email address. So not your Gmail account, e.g. Those of you at other institutions, see if you can access it, too! Then you create a "search strategy" you can give it a name, define the discipline(s) that you want to hear from, and give source criteria. The search is boolean, so you can do "ands" and "nots". NOTE that each line is logically separated by an OR, not an AND. So if I had a search strategy for the topic I suggested above, line one might be "Paul and Bible". (I don't want articles about any old Paul!) The next line might be "Paul and New Testament", since maybe not all the articles will say "Bible", but they might say "New Testament." Does that make sense?

You can also set up a search strategy for an author you want to keep track of. And you can make multiple strategies, obviously. You can check to see if any given publication/periodical is listed, as well. Sounds like the database is just growing and growing.

So I hope this might be helpful for you. I periodically wonder if my own work is still relevant and worry that someone else has come up with my ideas, too. This should put those concerns to rest, and keep me educated in my field, as well.

Cheers!
Katie

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