By Stephen Downes
December 9, 2004

Google Scholar Beta
The subject line in the email read "Google Scholar roasted by Péter Jacsó" - and this is an understatement. What follows is as thorough a baking, broiling, slicing and dicing of a website as I have seen. The author makes his points, though, and has done his research, delving through the collection using undocumented search features to reveal, among many other things, that Google Scholar, while it claims to index Blackwell, lists only ten percent of the publishers 437,451 records in 755 journals. Many journals - especially open access journals - are not indexed at all. The artistry of this item is delightful, the indictment damning. I'd say it's back to the books for Google. By Péter Jacsó, Péter's Digital Reference Shelf, Nopvember 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Firefox Spread Leads to Design Scrutiny, Built-In RSS Feeds
Good review of the new Firefox web browser with a balanced assessment of how the experience differs for those used to using Internet Explorer. Firefox is forcing web site designers to code to standards, argues the author (of course, if you do this then you have to fix the site to adjust to Internet Explorer's breaking of those standards). Also contains a short review of AOL's version of the Mozilla browser. Oh, and Online Journalism Review now has an RSS feed. By Mark Glaser, Online Journalism Review, December 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

CIDER is Born
The Winter, 2004, issue of IRRODL is out. I list three items. In this first item, Terry Anderson uses his editorial space to introduce the Canadian Institute for Distance Education Research (CIDER), "a portal or doorway to Canadian distance education research." I'm not so sure about the gestational analogy, but I like the CIDER website (even though it's pretty empty at the moment). By Terry Anderson, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Stealing the Goose: Copyright and Learning
Regular readers of OLDaily won't find a whole lot that is new in this article, but it pulls together nicely many of the major arguments surrounding copyright and its abuse. By Rory McGreal, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

WebCT: A Major Shift of Emphasis
You have to read all the way to the end of this summary of changes introduced in WebCT Vista to get to the zinger: "With so many comparable open source softwares emerging for course management, containing more varied features than WebCT, one has to wonder: how long can such costly proprietary products survive? In the case of WebCT, the short answer to this is - possibly two years." By Barbara Morningstar, Jeremy Schubert and Kristine Thibeault, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Designing Courses: Learning Objects, SCOs, IMS Standards, XML, SGML
Nice comprehensive list of resources related to learning objects. The author flags Canadian resources (with a little flag) but readers should note that many Canadian resources (some by Rory McGreal and Norm Friesen stand out, among others) are not flagged as such. Have a look at the site's main page as well - be prepared for a lot of pink. By Anonymous, Pink Flamingo's Resource Lists, November 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Quality Matters: Inter-Institutional Quality Assurance in Online Learning
Personally, I think that quality is best managed by a system of reviews and recommendations. This is because, as the article notes, everybody sees quality differently. That said, the authors here suggest that people "might not even know what to look for in assessing quality" and so have created a rubric of 40 elements alongside a quality management program. As I read, I found myself more interested in the online presentation of this newsletter, Ray Schroeder's 'Hot off the Blog' section on page 6, the PDF output. Wondering what it took to put this newsletter together, how could it be automated. The mind wanders. By Kay Kane, Sloan-C View, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS: Show Me the Money
More on the ongoing commercialization of RSS. This article looks at RSS advertisements, something that will be a tricky proposition for advertisers. The difficulty is, readers choose the content they want to read, which means it's a lot harder to put an ad in front of them. Too many ads, and the reader simply tunes out. That said, I'm still more concerned about the ripple effects of RSS ads. Thus far, what we have seen is, every time advertising gets into a medium designed for sharing, the first casualty is the sharing. I see no reason to expect this to be different in the case of RSS. By Adam L. Penenberg, Wired News, December 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

[Refer] - send an item to your friends
[Research] - find related items
[Reflect] - post a comment about this item

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[About This NewsLetter] [OLDaily Archives] [Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2004 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.