December 06, 2004

Fresh Patents Served Weekly

You can search for newly published patent applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but if you want the latest patent applications served to you by RSS syndication and email alerts, you'll need to visit Industry list RSS feeds filtered by USPTO class number are particularly valuable. The content is crawled and indexed by Google as well.

Browse for new patents by industry category or do a keyword search. For example, if you browse USPTO Class 715, Data processing: presentation processing of document patents you'll notice that it has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to for updates. That makes it easy to find new applications such as application #20040221226 "Method and mechanism for processing queries for xml documents using an index" applied for on November 4, 2004 by inventors Wesley Lin, Yasuhiro Matsuda, and Garrett Kaminaga.

Sign-up for free email patent application monitoring service which will send you a weekly email with new applications that match the keywords you select.

This site is one of those rare examples in which even if you subscribe to the feed, you'll want to routinely visit the website. The site provides searches by keyword and provides lists of patent applications by location (state and city), agent and law firm name, city of the agent, and inventor name.

Posted by Ray Matthews at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2004

HubMed is PubMed on Steroids

At the Internet Librarian's Conference, Steven M. Cohen demonstrated many real cool RSS applications including HubMed. Not being a health sciences librarian, I wasn't yet familiar with this relatively new alternative search of the familiar PubMed medical literature database. If you're one who monitors the latest news about a drug or treatment, or if you're doing serious medical research, you'll absolutely love the assortment of alerts and exporting features HubMed provides.

You won't appreciate any of this until you do a search. So go ahead, look for something of interest. I have a niece just diagosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma so I'll do a search of that. HubMed allows users to perform a search, click on the orange "feeds" button in the right corner of the search results, and save it as an RSS feed. When new articles have been added to PubMed, HubMed will send you this information notification as an RSS feed.

So from the page of the search results I click on the orange button and now I see a page with the urls for query based feeds in both RSS and Atom formats. You can simply drag this button into a RSS news reader like NetNewsWire Pro (Mac) or NewzCrawler (PC) . Myself, I click on my Bloglines brower bookmarklet, and bingo, I'm into Bloglines where with one more click I'm subscribed to this feed for Hodgkins's Lymphoma. Now, Hubmed will keep checking the literature and deliver to me everything new it finds. Three clicks, literally. This is better than a dog that brings the morning paper.

If you are subscribed to a HubMed RSS feed, you can also post directly from your aggregator using the Blogger API at Biologging, is a community weblog for biomedical researchers. It allows you to create your own annotated store of abstracts, and to browse the logs of other users. You can create an account and submit posts to your personal weblog within biologging by using the 'Blog This' or 'Make A List' buttons in HubMed.

But wait, there's more. So much more, in fact that Matt Eberle at Library Techlog calls Hubmed "The Swiss Army knife of PubMed interfaces." If you go back to your search results, you'll see for each result a number of links to things like Abstract, Fulltext, SFX, Clip, Citation, Related, TouchGraph, and References.

A click on the SFX link (a library link server) connects you to a look up of the resource in the holdings in your local library's catalog. It supports Innovatic Innopac, BIBSYS, Dynix Horizon, Endeavor VOYAGER, SIRSI Unicorn catalogs. You can also ook up holdings in other catalogs (such as MELVYL and Library of Contress, and OCLC WorldCat), request the document be sent to you using your library's document delivery service or another (such as ILLiad and Infotrieve), download the bibliographic record for importation into your software (Refworks, Endnote, Procite, Reference Manager), save the citation, capture it using the wonderful award winning Windows utility NetSnippets, and more.

My compliments to Alf Eaton and the creators of HubMed. "I have used HubMed for a while now," writes Steven, "and have been absolutely thrilled with the results. This is one of those tools that awes the crowds at some of my presentations, and rightfully so."

I agree and only wish that HubMed had more in the way of tutorials to help novices like myself get the most out of this wonderful service. Have fun exploring it!

Speaking of the health sciences, look for the syndication of more and more publications from federal agencies. I saw recently, for example, that the National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) is publishing Network News, their bimonthly Newsletter from the South Central Region, as a RSS feed. Thank you, Greg Bodin, for offering this.

Posted by Ray Matthews at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2004

Blog Revolution in China

While the government may not be enthusiastic over offering RSS news feeds, the Chinese people themselves are embracing Internet communications with gusto and particularly RSS news syndication in the form of blogging.

According to China's biggest blogging service provider, the number of subscribers has soared from 10,000 in June last year, to more than 500,000 now.

A couple of years ago technology writer Fang Xingdong at his site coined the Chinese term bo ke to mean blogger. He encouraged his readers to try blogging by registering on “Blogging is a true revolution,” he wrote. “One needs zero technology training, zero institution and zero cost to become a blogger.”

The number of Chinese online has quintupled over the past four years. Duncan Clark, managing director of BDA China, a telecommunications and technology consulting firm based in Beijing, said in an email message to the to Tom Zeller, Jr. of the New York Times, "China's rulers are bent on putting communications, mobile phones, Internet access and the new growth area, broadband, into as many hands as possible."

"China is already the largest mobile communications subscriber market in the world," reports the Internet Herald Tribune, "with more than 320 million subscribers." Internet users, who numbered fewer than 17 million in 2000, are now estimated to be somewhere near 90 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre, the government's clearinghouse for Internet statistics. China is second only to the United States in the number of people online."

Beijing has an uneven record of late in allowing citizens access to Google English News headlines giving Chinese searchers access to uncensored news from all over the world. According to Reporters Without Borders, China is censoring Google News to force Internet users to use the Chinese version of the site which has been purged of the most critical news reports.

Similarly, the government is also ambivalent about how allowing its citizens to freely blog. Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California at Berkeley runs the China Digital News blog and is monitoring the pulse of blogging in China.

Qiang reports that by January 2003, China had about 2000 bloggers when, without warning, the Chinese government blocked all access to, the server that hosts all blogs registered on According to Qiang:

[The] crackdown in 2003 closed websites and internet cafes and saw the arrest of dozens of online commentators.

Yet this is not proving enough to stifle the pluck and ingenuity of China’s bloggers. The rise of the blog phenomenon was made possible by blog-hosting services. Just as companies like Yahoo host email accounts, sites like, based in the United States, host blogs.....

Blog services are now sprouting all over China. By the end of October 2004, China had more than 45 large blog-hosting services. A Google search for bo ke will return more than two million results, from blogs for football fans to blogs for Christians.


Posted by Ray Matthews at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2004

California a Dollar Short, a Day Late?

State CIO J. Clark Kelso wants to make government more accessible to the citizens of California. In an interview with Information Week's Eric Chabrow, (Nov 22, 2004), Kelso announced, "We need to start changing the inefficeinent way we provide services." The state spends between $2 billion and $4 billion annually on IT.

Kelso is the author of the "California State Information Technology Strategic Plan" (PDF), a 5-year plan presented this month to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Plan follows a more lengthy report issued in August by the California Performance Review Commission. The Commision was charged by Gov. Schwarzenegger with figuring out how to make state government work better and cheaper. Among the ideas in the panel's $32 billion cost-cutting recommendations: favoring open-source software over proprietary alternatives for new IT purchases.

The report, titled Government for the People for a Change, is a 4-volume study with recommendations including recommendations to "Explore Open Source Alternatives." "The state should more extensively consider use of open source software," it recommends, "which can in many cases provide the same functionality as closed source software at a much lower total cost of ownership."

The CIO's most recent plan to bring efficiency to California Information Technology promotes six strategic goals including three that could be facilitated by open source RSS syndication:

  • Make Government services more accessible to citizens and State clients.

  • Implement common business applications and systems to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

  • Lower costs and improve the security, reliability and performance of the State's IT infrastructure.

The report also identifies needs and priorities important to most or all California agencies including "the ability to easily access information and services while ensuring that such access is allowed only to those intended," "efficient and cost saving means to deliver services," and the "need to respond and transact quickly" [p.8].

Unfortunately, there is no mention of RSS news feeds or xml syndication anywhere in the plan.

California prides itself as the world's fifth largest economy, but in the world of providing syndicated news and services, it lags behind Rhode Island and Delaware. Social Commentator Jamais Cascio writing in WorldChanging wryly observes, "Some states that you'd think would be technologially on the ball (California, for example) have few if any feeds, while other locations are swimming in them."

Posted by Ray Matthews at 12:41 AM | Comments (0)

Blog -- Dictionary Word of the Year

Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster's reports that "Blog" tops their list of the 10 words of the year. Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks," was the most looked-up word on its Internet sites this year.

The list is compiled each year by taking the most researched words on its Web sites and then excluding perennials such as affect/effect and profanity. The company said most online dictionary queries were for uncommon terms, but people also turned to its Web sites for words in news headlines.

Source: Reuters

Posted by Ray Matthews at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)