Author: Michael Upshall Page 1 of 3

Should scholarly publishing be more like Wikipedia?

Not a day passes without someone suggesting a way to reduce the inefficiency of the scholarly publication cycle. There is an interesting article in Scholarly Kitchen by Tim Vines, about Michael Eisen, the new Editor-in-Chief of eLife, suggesting ideas for the future of Peer Review. …

The state of knowledge management today

City University

The biannual ISKO-UK conference held this year at City University, London, should be a good opportunity to assess the state of things in knowledge management. Of course, it’s not possible to summarise all the sessions, nor would I want to. Instead, I hope …

Giving career advice

Image by Roger Carvell, CC BY 3.0,

What advice would you give people starting a job in publishing? What gets people thinking about their careers? I was invited to participate in a panel for a major publisher, organised to present ideas about careers for their …

Boolean search and how humans think

Boolean Search
Boolean Search

You might say that Boolean is designed for humans, so the title of this post is a misnomer. In this post I hope to show that Boolean search is not a magic bullet. If humans miss terms, then Boolean will miss them as well. Adding …

Misunderstanding a dictionary

Some dictionaries are designed to explain what words mean. Some dictionaries, like the Oxford English Dictionary, aim to record changes in the the meanings of words over time, and attempt to identify the earliest use of each word (or if they have multiple meanings, …

Evaluating systematic reviews

The European Association for Health Information and Libraries (EAHIL) annual meeting included a number of fascinating workshops. These workshops were revealing perhaps for unintended reasons. What do health librarians do? On the basis of this conference, they largely carry out systematic reviews of clinical trials. …

The Cochrane PICO Finder: how not to trial an interface

At the EAHIL Conference in Basel today, a team from Cochrane gave a workshop entitled “PICO Search: Unlocking the Cochrane data vault”. The PICO principles are a four-fold way of interpreting a clinical trial:

  • Patient, population or problem (what are the characteristics of the patient

Learning about health informatics in Cardiff


Nye Bevan, one of the founders of the UK’s National Health Service, and hence a very appropriate public figure for a healthcare conference, although looking here as if he was the inventor of the shopping centre.

This week I was at the Healtac 2019 conference …

New Trends in Information Retrieval

This year’s annual European Conference on Information Retrieval (Cologne, April 2019) was remarkable for me in that it showed a dramatic renaissance of the world of search. Conferences labelled “enterprise search” have been running down or closing in the UK and the US for several …

UKSG 2019: what are scholarly conferences for?

From the picture above, UKSG looks like any other conference. Yet it remains something of an oddball, the odd man out of conferences. It is a large event – several hundred attendees, which means it is always held in a large-scale venue that is usually …

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