thing i wish i had…

…and/or wish I had the skills to make for myself:

So I downloaded the BookBurro Firefox extension last night. When you are looking at a page about a book, a little panel pops up and if you click the panel, it does a search of multiple online book vendors and libraries near you to see where the book is available and for how much.

I don’t think I’ll keep it because it is slightly intrusive. You can’t configure it to only pop up when you click a button on the toolbar, for instance. I already have easy-to-use Firefox search engines for (the buying option) and Worldcat (the library borrowing option) installed. If I’m actually interested in acquiring a book I am looking at online, those are very simple to use. I generally know whether I want to purchase a book for my own use and abuse, or whether I want to borrow it for a limited time, so I don’t really need these two combined.

I also don’t like how the BookBurro results are configured — they cannot be sorted by price. Also, in setting up the extension one is presented with an enormously long list of libraries to choose from. It is a non-alphebetized list. These are really basic things done wrong.

But enough criticizing.

WHAT I WANT is something like BookBurro and/or and/or that will allow me to put in a list of ISBNs* that the tool will save. A wishlist of sorts. Behind the scenes, the tool would do a daily search of one of these price comparison sites. Then, I could see this working in various ways…

– Upon click, present me with a list of the X lowest priced copies of each book on my list
– Let me put in a dollar value for each book. The tool will notify me with a popup window or glowing icon or something when one of the books on my list has become available for that price or less.

Basing the tool on ISBN would allow pulling in some functionality from ThingISBN or xISBN to automagically broaden search to other editions.

Of course, inside the tool, it should represent the books by title/author for ease of managing the list.

There. Go. Take my idea and make yourself rich and/or famous. Just let me know when the thing is ready so I can use it.

Or, if this already exists and I just don’t know about it, please enlighten me.

treasures of random link clicking.

The Academic Word List (AWL) – developed by Averil Coxhead at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. 570 word families that appear frequently in academic texts, but are not in the most frequent 2000 English words. Divided into 10 sublists based on frequency.

Effective Use of Microsoft Word for Academic Writing – This looked helpful for a moment. I’m always up for learning better ways to wrangle Office products. And then I noticed it is a 1 hour, 24 minute video presentation. Which makes me want to run screaming.

I do not like information transfer regarding skills via “presentation.” You cannot skim over what you already know. The speed at which humans can speak and take in speech is frustratingly slow for this kind of information. It isn’t dense enough.

I am freshly irritated about this because I recently attended a 4 hour class in which I learned a small amount of content I could have sucked up myself in less than an hour. But I wouldn’t have gotten the practice at putting what I learned to use. Or so I have been telling myself.

But back to the topic at hand… this Word presentation is on, which I have never seen before, as I don’t do TV (can’t sustain interest in any one show over a season).

Remarkable speakers, researchers and scholars present revolutionary thoughts and discoveries on ResearchChannel. The University of Michigan, the University of Washington and the National Science Foundation are just a few of the world-renowned institutions that participate and whose programs are featured.

Despite my frustration with presentation-watching, this may come in handy for keeping my brain occupied while I am exercising.

The Martini Method for finishing a PhD – Ha! No really, this blog––looks like it might actually be good. Because the key to academic productivity is another blog to read… but no really! Look! The Interruptron is going on my computer tomorrow because since I’ve stopped tracking all of my time by the minute in a spreadsheet (and outputting pretty pivot charts to show how much time I spent brushing my teeth versus folding clothing), I haven’t been as good at maintaining a work/rest schedule and productivity has slipped a little. The Interruptron makes graphs. I love it already.

And now back to taking notes from the book I need to return to ILL tomorrow.

continuing my obsession with indexes

I wish each entry of a bibliography in any book or paper contained the page number(s) on which said entry was referenced or cited.

I seriously love books that have indexes of cited authors (footnotebegin) though you then have to look for the specific paper by that author (footnoteend) or include this information in the general index.

Sections of notes at the back of the book are somewhat more useful in this sense than a bibliography, but so difficult to quickly skim.

I started this entry because my curiosity was killing me:
What part of Radar Handbook by Merrill I. Skolnik cites “A Mother Goose for Antique Collectors by Alice van Leer Carrick?

But then I realized I had just been the victim of a Google Books mistake. The front cover, back cover, and two pages of Notes from Hobbies: Leisure and the Culture of Work in America by Steven M. Gelber are tacked onto the end of the book scan of Radar Handbook.

I’m currently reading Hobbies: Leisure and the Culture of Work in America, which is where I saw the Mother Goose thing cited. So this really doesn’t get me anywhere.

Anyway, I’m absolutely loving this book and I want to scribble notes in it everywhere, so I’m ordering my own copy. Yes.

i predict the bids will be extraordinary.

Daniel Ruzo de los Heros, a Peruvian attorney and businessman with a passion for the esoteric, devoted most of his adult life to researching Nostradamus and his writings, assembling the finest private collection on the subject and laying the groundwork for contemporary Nostradamian scholarship.

His library will be auctioned on 23 April 2007. I wish I could paw around in that collection for a while.

via Luxist