Updates to: William Badke, Research Strategies: Finding your Way through the Information Fog, 6th ed. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.com, 2017.

Tim Berners-Lee, architect of the World Wide Web, in Fall 2019 released his Contract for the Web in response to rampant problems of the spread of hatred and falsehood, limitations of Web access, and so in. It can be found at https://contractfortheweb.org/?mc_cid=f1b8963a92&mc_eid=a8e8c48e40

A study in mid-2019 shows that almost half of Google searches result in no further clicks on website links. Why? Google's Knowledge Graph and its provision of brief information about the topic being searched are clearly visible on the results page, so users see no need to look further. Potential problems: You are getting only Google's vision of the information you need, and Google is become more like a one-book "library" rather than merely a search engine.

The Google Books platform has been redesigned. For more information, see https://www.blog.google/products/search/15-years-google-books/.

In Fall 2019, Google announced the use of BERT technology (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) in its search Engine. BERT addresses the vexing problem with Internet search engines that they do not understand context and thus cannot unerringly take a searcher to the right concept the searcher is seeking. BERT supports searching by phrases and sentences by discovering the context of the concept the searcher is looking for. It's not perfect, but it is an attempt to address a significant search problem. See https://www.blog.google/products/search/search-language-understanding-bert/.

There is a new non-tracking search engine in town, OneSearch (https://www.onesearch.com). Introduced by Verizon in January 2020, this search engine offers, “No cookies, no personal profiling, pure - unfiltered results, and keyword encryption.”

Elsevier, the large academic publisher, on May 16, 2017 issued a lawsuit against SciHub and LibGen, the two largest illegal academic download sites, calling for an injuction and $15,000,000 (that's 15 million dollars) in damages. Elsevier alleges that these sites cause injury to Elsevier's business and that the "Defendants acted willfully, because their actions and statements demonstrate that they both are aware of Elsevier’s copyright rights and have consiously chosen to disregard those rights." In June, the court awarded the $15,000,000 in damages as requested by Elsevier. But, since the SciHub creator lives outside the US and has no US assets, there is a very slim chance that Elsevier will ever collect its money. For a useful analysis of such lawsuits, see http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/Elsevier-and-Other-Scholarly-Publishers-Target-Content-Pirates-119390.asp. In November 2017, a US judge issued a final injunction relating to American Chemical Society's (ACS) lawsuit that bars pretty much any Internet entity from providing access to Sci-Hub. In part, the injunction says:

“Ordered that any person or entity in active concert or participation with Defendant Sci-Hub and with notice of the injunction, including any Internet search engines, web hosting and Internet service providers, domain name registrars, and domain name registries, cease facilitating access to any or all domain names and websites through which Sci-Hub engages in unlawful access to, use, reproduction, and distribution of ACS’s trademarks or copyrighted works.”

A new planned (and legal) site for posting open access scholarly papers is Scholarly Hub. For more information, see this November 2017 news story. In September 2019, ScholarlyHub announced that it is shutting down due to lack of funding.

Humanities Commons is an open access site where scholars can deposit academic articles, etc. in the humanities.

Plan S is an initiative of research funding bodies and other organizations, primarily in Europe, dedicated to providing open access copies of all funded research on publication.

For a very insightful study on the history and current state of academic publishing, see Aileen Fife et al. "Untangling Academic Publishing," May 2017.

An increasingly important factor in the evaluation of information is fact-checking. See this site for multiple tools to enhance your fact-checking ability: http://researchguides.journalism.cuny.edu/c.php?g=547454&p=3756526.

After Beall gave up his list of suspicious and predatory journals in 2016, there has been a gap that has now been filled by an anonymous group that has revised and is updating the list. See https://predatoryjournals.com/journals/  

JSTOR is offering a new search option: JSTOR Text Analyzer (http://www.jstor.org/analyze/) which allows you to input a large amount of text (for example, a full text article) so that the Analyzer's algorithm can make use of its terminology to identify related JSTOR articles. On the results page you will see the main words from your supplied text that were used in the analysis. You can click on any word to put it in a priority list, thus modifying the results to suit your needs. You can even modify the weight given to each prioritized term, and you can specify that you want recent results. This search function is similar in concept to EBSCOHost's SmartText Searching. In January 2018 JSTOR announced that the Text Analyzer will also work with texts in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, [English], French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish, to find related material in English.

JSTOR now has a platform to search only its open access content (no login needed). This includes open access journals (older articles), book chapters and open access books: http://www.jstor.org/open.

Elsevier is now offering a sign-up feature that recommends articles from the ScienceDirect database based on recent searches you have done: "When you are signed in to ScienceDirect, our state-of-the-art adaptive algorithm analyzes the type of research you do, the articles you view, and the papers you download. This analysis enables us to find articles and papers relevant to your research that you may not have considered. We will email you a list of a 3-5 recommended articles."

The SSRN Biology Research Network offers several hundred thousand articles that are preprints, postprints, etc. in free full text: https://www.ssrn.com/link/BRN.html.

Dimensions from Digital Science is a new tool for academic citation searches across millions of articles and books. It offers a lot of filters (like date, field of study, etc.) and the ability to save citations. Dimensions results include altmetrics and paths to full text for open access items. This is a clear rival to Google Scholar.

Several organizations including the Internet Archive and the British Library have banded together to produce a new open access journal database called Impactstory using artificial intelligence to annotate and summarize articles as well as providing article interlinking. See this site for more. Impactstory as of May 2019 has a new search engine, which at this point accesses mostly biological and medical resources

From ERIC (March 2017): "Our latest video and infographic describe ERIC identifiers and walk through how to use them in a search." A July 2017 video helps users find descriptors (subject headings) for searches. A January 2018 video shows how to cite various ERIC resources.

Some of us struggle with over-researching, ever looking for just one more source that we know is out there. Joli Jensen's post, "The Myth of One More Source," offers some sage advice: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1777-the-myth-of-one-more-source?cid=VTEVPMSED1.

While I don't generally endorse pricey tech tools, reMarkable (https://remarkable.com/) is a remarkable one. It's a read-write tablet-like gadget that simulates paper (you can write all over it by hand) while allowing download of documents for reading, annotation, and so on. Very cool product, though the $700+ price (with initial 30% discount) may be daunting.

CamScanner (Research Strategies, 9.31) a camera to PDF scanning device in August 2019 was found to contain malicious malware (InfoSecurity). If you have it, you can judge whether or not you want to keep it.

The MLA Style Center is the authorized site for explanations, examples and further instruction on MLA style.

The bibliographic manager Zotero has created Zoterobib, a citation creation tool. Enter a URL, ISBN, DOI, PMID, XiV ID or title for a book or article, and get a citation in one of several possible formats.

Last updated: January 17, 2020