iPhone Apps for Research and Collaboration

If you’re like me, much of the time spent away from your laptop is spent checking your phone for news, email and new xkcd comics.  If you’re spending that much time on your phone, you might as well do something useful.

Check out the following free apps to help you search the literature, cite your sources, and organize your work.

iPhone Apps

iPhone apps for research and collaboration

Ebsco Databases – Ebsco provides access to a large number of databases via one app (ERIC, Georef, American History and Life, MLA International Bibliography, Business Source Complete, Academic Search Complete and lots of others).  Because access to these databases is paid for by the library (with your tuition dollars), you need to log in to Academic Search Complete via the library website first.  At the bottom of the screen you’ll click on a link that will send an email with an activation code.  After downloading the app, open your email on your phone and click on the link.  You will then have 9 months of access.  I’ve found this process to be pretty simple and easy – no need to log in every time.  The app will connect you to full text articles within the Ebsco databases, and even Geneseo’s “Get it” service for articles found elsewhere.

SciVerse Scopus Alerts – A search app for the interdisciplinary database Scopus.  This app can do keyword searching, citation tracking, and alerts for the science and social science literature.  Scopus is an outstanding database, but the app has some issues.  The biggest problem is getting it to work.  You need to remember your Scopus username and password (not your Geneseo username), and even then there can be trouble.  While the tech support is responsive, it just isn’t as easy to get started as the Ebsco app above.

Evernote – I recently started using this piece of software on my computer for note taking during meetings and lectures.  I am in love with its simplicity and universal usefulness.  Take class notes on your computer, then download the iPhone app to access them anywhere.  Record voice notes on your phone and automatically sync them to your laptop.  Take pictures with your phone and insert them into the notes you’ve already started, or start a new note.  The iPhone app syncs with the desktop application so that you never have to guess where a certain piece of information is.  Share notes with others via shared notebooks or simple weblinks.  I love this app.

Dropbox – Along with the Dropbox website, this tool allows you to easily share files among friends (with shared folders), or between your computer and phone.

EasyBib – An app from the popular website.  This app allows you to scan the barcode of a book and create a formatted citation (which you will, of course, check against the style manuals for accuracy).

Merriam Webster Dictionary – There are lots of dictionary apps out there.  This one is free, and has a nifty voice search function.

Mendeley – This app works with Mendeley Desktop and the Mendeley website.  It allows you to store and organize your PDF journal articles and book chapters.  It’s like iTunes for journal articles: Mendeley will organize your folders for you and you can create folders (playlists) of articles.  You can share those folders with others to help you collaborate on group projects.  The desktop version integrates with Microsoft word to help you cite your sources.  This mobile app allows you to access the journal PDFs you have synced to the web, as well as the ability to search your personal library.

Since I don’t have an Android phone, I can’t comment on the availability or usability of these apps on that platform.  Perhaps in another post.

What apps do you use to get your work done?

The New York Times website goes behind a pay wall

Photo by Flickr user JFINGAS

On March 28th, the New York Times implemented a new subscription plan for consumers of its online newspaper. Readers who enjoy visiting the Times’ website will now have limits imposed on their free access to content of the site. Visitors will be able to read 20 free articles from the Times’ website per month, but on the 21st attempt, they will directed to a page asking the user to subscribe to one of three digital subscription options for the website, mobile app or tablet app. Subscriptions start at $15 for four-week access to content on the New York Times website.

Students, faculty and staff still have full access to the New York Times current content through several Milne Library databases:
• From 1980-present in:   Lexis Nexis Academic and ProQuest National Newspapers
• From 1985-present in:   Academic OneFile, Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Gale General One File, InfoTrac Newsstand, and Newspaper Source Plus
• From 6 months ago-present we have a print newspaper subscription; today’s copy resides in Books’n’Bytes café

For those students and faculty who use the New York Times Article Archive, the articles previously available from pre-1923 and post-1986 on the New York Times website will be subject to the 20 article per month limit.  Milne Library owns the microfilm of the entire run of the New York Times back to 1857 for those interested in articles pre-1923.

Photo by: Flickr user sjsharktank

At this time, there is no site license available for an institution-wide subscription to the digital content of the New York Times website, but the publisher indicated they are working on a licensing model for institutions such as colleges and libraries, to be introduced in the near future.

Readers who use search engines such as Google or Yahoo and are directed to content on the New York Times website will be limited to reading 5 free articles per day, but if you are in Facebook, on Twitter or visiting other social media sites such as blogs, you will be able to view and read articles for free. These will not count toward the monthly limit.

For more information, visit the New York Times’ blog, “The Learning Network” and read their post about the new digital subscription plans: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/a-note-to-our-readers-about-digital-subscriptions/.

CSA databases are moving to the ProQuest interface, including PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and more

Users who have become familiar with the CSA interface for the following databases will expect some changes over the next month or so:

  • ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts)
  • ERIC
  • PAIS
  • PILOTS
  • Physical Education Index
  • PsycARTICLES
  • PsycINFO
  • Social Services Abstracts
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts

CSA purchased the ProQuest family of databases in 2007 and is finally moving all their interfaces to the new ProQuest platform so all databases  have similar layouts, help menus and navigation.  At the end of March 2011, CSA will be discontinuing the search interface through its CSA Illumina website and only using the ProQuest platform.  We want to inform you of the upcoming changes with enough time to  give all users experience testing the search capabilities of this new platform.  All “old interface” links to the listed databases will be available through the end of March.   If students or faculty encounter problems with the new search interface, please inform library staff immediately and we will troubleshoot any problems.

The new interface for PsycInfo and other databases listed above

For more information about the new search interface, go to the ProQuest website.

Or, please contact Kate Pitcher, Head of Technical Services and Collection Development at pitcher@geneseo.edu or by phone at 245-5064 for further details.

Scopus and ScienceDirect will be down on Saturday, February 26

The databases Scopus and ScienceDirect will be down for a planned outage all day on Saturday, February 26 (8am to 8pm).  This also means that most access to journals from the publisher Elsevier will not be available.

The company that produces Scopus announced a planned outage for February 26

Students who have upcoming research projects can browse our subject guides to find alternative databases for their topics.  For alternative access to journals, use our journal finder to locate individual titles.  Research help is available at the service desk any time the library is open, and a reference librarian will be on duty from 12noon to 5pm on the day of the outage (2/26).

Additional information about the scheduled outage is available from the company here.

New Research Guides for Classes and Subjects

Our research guides are now easier to use, with more resources and multimedia content.

Milne librarians have been working over the intersession to implement a new system for connecting users to important resources: LibGuides. The new system allows for easy creation of subject and class-related guides. It also allows librarians to incorporate a wider array of content than our previous system, including images, video and RSS feeds to provide subject-specific news and research headlines.

LibGuides pages replace the Resources by Subject pages previously used to help identify scholarly materials.

Users can browse the guides by subject or guide title, or search the guides for specific resources.

On some pages, users can provide feedback or suggest possible links for inclusion into guides.

Importantly, the system allows the librarians check links and to track which guides and links are being used. This helps us keep the guides up to date with content that users actually need.

Have a look at our new guides for Citing Sources and the topical guide about Haiti and the recent earthquake.

Access to ScienceDirect and Scopus databases will be unavailable on Saturday, Jan. 23rd.


Due to scheduled maintenance, library users will not have access to our the ScienceDirect and Scopus databases from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 23rd. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Alternative databases for each subject can be found in the library’s new Subject Guides.

Our New Beta Catalog Launches with Improved Features

The main search box on the library homepage has been updated to make use of a new Beta Catalog developed by libraries in the IDS project.

This search engine allows users to search for books and media here in Milne, in IDS Project libraries (these items can be delivered in less than 3 days) or in libraries around the world (these books may take 7 to 10 business days to arrive).

New and improved features include:

  • Spell checking for misspelled search terms
  • Estimated time of arrival for items not held in Milne Library
  • RSS feeds for searches
  • The ability to export items to citation software (like EndNote or Zotero)
  • A quick link to create citations for each record.

Our new Catalog is still in a Beta testing phase, so please provide us with any feedback about your searches.

WorldCat Local – your better alternative to Google

The Quicksearch box on the library home page now uses WorldCat Local. This search tool quickly finds books, articles, and materials held in Milne Library and in other libraries across the country.

Unlike Google which searches billions of web sites of unknown authority, WorldCat Local (containing 55 million articles) provides items from reputable databases that the library subscribes to. Search results can be narrowed to specific databases and refined by author, format, year, language, and content. Items not available in Milne or online are easily obtainable using Get Text/IDS service.

Post written by Rich Dreifuss.

Access to paid databases will be unavailable on Thursday, August 20th

Due to an upgrade of our authentication system, off-campus users will not have access to our subscription databases during the day on Thursday, August 20th.

On campus users will still be able to access databases if the “EZProxy” portion of the database URL is removed. Popular resources can be reached via these links:

If you need access to additional databases or have questions about access, please contact the reference desk (245-5595).

Access should be restored by 6pm.

Easier Access to Chemical Information: SciFinder is now on the web

SUNY Geneseo students, faculty and staff can now access chemical information via SciFinder on the web.

In order to use the new version of SciFinder, users must first register. Once registered, users can easily access SciFinder via any web browser.

This new web version of SciFinder has the same robust search features, including the ability to find chemical substance information, search for chemical literature, and search for chemical structures.

New features include the ability to save searches and get email alerts when new items matching a search are added to the database.

The client (stand alone) version of SciFinder will still be accessible through early October, at which time our access will be cut off.

Please contact Bonnie Swoger (585-245-5593) if you have any questions about accessing or using the web version of SciFinder.