Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Document Reader Par Excellence : Docstoc Document Sharing, Downloads and Embedding in Blogs and Websites

Docstoc (beta) at, as reported by Frank Gruber, senior product manager of myAOL at AOL, at his blog Somewhat Frank, was launched on October 30, 2007 as a "a user generated community for sharing professional documents" which we think may become popular as people become aware of its potential.

Docstoc permits the sharing of documents of all descriptions (legal, business, financial, technology, educational and creative).

Docstoc's most important feature in our view is the ability it gives to embed documents on blog and website pages by means of shockwave-flash as a "flash include" so that the embedded document functions quasi like its own widget. As a sample of what Docstoc does, we have embedded below three documents from Docstoc.

The first is a "Patent Outline" by Jason Peterson, CEO of GoDigital Media Group & Symbolic Entertainment (use the slider to resize the text):

PATENT OUTLINE - Get more free documents at Docstoc

The second is a popular document, a Web Development Contract Agreement, as uploaded to Docstoc by Jason Nazar, CEO of Docstoc. Embedded documents can be customized by height and width, so that this is only one of many possible formats (we have made this format narrower and shorter than the one above - use the slider to resize the document):

Web Development Contract Agreement - Get more free documents at Docstoc.

As one can try by experimentation with the above document, embedded documents can be searched using the search box at the top of the document, the size of any viewed page can be changed within the quasi-widget format by a slider at the top of the page to a minimal decrease of 25% and a maximum increase of 250%, the pages to be viewed can be specifically selected by the page-selection box (or one can use the integrated slider button or scroll bar), and there is a print option and also a special button allowing the quasi-widget format to be converted to widescreen (full screen) presentation. Any page can be moved up, down, left or sideways with the hand icon enabled and the mouse arrow held down and moved (this only works if the document view has been resized, e.g. if you have made the document larger and want to look e.g. left and right at something). The search function highlights the found word or phrase and moves to that first found occurrence of that word or phrase - and in the case of multiple hits, pressing the magnifying glass button viz. icon takes you from one hit of the word or phrase sought to the next. Try those all out on the third document below, of which we are the authors (at the time of posting this document was not yet available, as it is a tough format to convert, so I hope it shows up soon):

Writing Origins : Pharaohs, Moderns and Dyslexics
Get more free documents at Docstoc

Document-finding menu options are provided at the Docstoc website, e.g. under the menu item "legal" to cover all docs, contracts, employment, family, forms, incorporations, IP, M&As, Real Estate and Wills and Trusts. Each of these is again subdivided into additional menus. IP for example offers a separate menu selection for copyright, international, license, other, patent, sole proprietorship, trade secrets, and trademark . Nevertheless, we found the subdivided menu attribution to be incomplete and we got much better results with the general Docstoc search box, e.g. our search for "Patent" also gave a completely different set of results than "Patents".

IMPORTANT: The documents which are shown upon selection of any menu item correspond to the item marked in the "master menu" selection in the left column of the Docstoc website, where documents as a whole are highlighted for selection either as most viewed, most downloaded, most commented, most recent, or highest rated.

There is also a "mouse over" feature so that documents can be viewed briefly and do not have to be opened.

Free registration at Docstoc enables the user to have a profiled account.

For enthusiasts, there is the Docstoc blog....

Tal Siach at Docstoc sent us the following information about Docstoc:

"Docstoc is a community of users sharing their professional documents, and we have thousands of legal and business documents that can be downloaded for free.

Here are some highlights about docstoc:

1) 55,000+ free legal forms, business documents, excel templates, free real estate forms, sample business plans.
2) Backed by the co-founders/investors of MySpace, Baidu,, and

3) Launched about three months ago and have 30,000+ registered members and are ranked by in the top 14,000 most visited sites.

4) Selected as one [of] the presenting companies and most promising start ups for the TechCrunch40 conference by (Selected out of 700+ applying startups)

5) The premier online community for professional content

For additional information feel free to check out these links:

Bloggers have also found our embed feature very helpful - you can embed documents into your Blog after uploading them to docstoc. You can read more about it at our post here:

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to take part in our community at and share your own documents on our site. Once submitted, you may place a link to your own personal website or service in order to use our platform to drive more traffic to you. Furthermore, your uploaded documents get indexed at the top of search engines like Google and Yahoo, so it provides you key visibility.

You can register here and can upload your documents by following this link".

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Citation Machine by David Warlick & The Landmark Project

The Son of Citation Machine is a free citation machine (registration required) which produces citations in various styles (MLA, APA, TURABIAN, CHICAGO).

We tried it out on our book Stars Stones and Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths (hardcover, softcover) and here are the results.

MLA: Kaulins, Andis. Stars Stones and Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths. 1st. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford, 2003.

APA: Kaulins, A. (2003). Stars stones and scholars : The decipherment of the megaliths. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford Publishing.

TURABIAN: Kaulins, Andis. Stars Stones and Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford, 2003.

CHICAGO: Kaulins, Andis. Stars Stones and Scholars : The Decipherment of the Megaliths. 1st ed. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford, 2003.

Library Architecture : Library Design, Construction, Addition and Renovation

Whether institutions or communities are considering building a new library or adding to or renovating the library that already exists, library architecture and design are of primary importance. As written at the Whole Building Design Guide:

"... Internet access, electronic media, computer technology, and other forms of modern-day advancements have had a profound effect on the function and design of libraries. As a result, library design must take into account all of the issues that may affect its use in the future. Incorporating flexibility and adaptability in the design, planning, and construction of libraries is essential in order for the library to serve the immediate and future needs of its community."

Some of the most interesting library architectural projects that we have seen are designed by Clark Enersen Partners of Lincoln and Kansas City, who have been featured in American Libraries magazine for their Peru State College Library renovation. Take a look at their website under the menu heading Experience/Libraries to see some of their innovative library projects.

Library Journal has a nationwide Directory of Architects for libraries.

The Architecture Studies Library at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas libraries, has an Architecture and Building database compiled by Jeanne Brown, University of Nevada Las Vegas Architecture Studies Library, with a special section on Libraries and ... architecture, design, planning, landscaping and more.

The UC Berkeley Environmental Design Library has Library Design Resources which consist of a guide to the literature on the design of libraries, compiled by Susan Koskinen. The guide covers:

  • Search Terms to locate books & articles
  • Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
  • Finding Books search terms
  • Indexes for Articles
  • Journals - selected
  • Research Guides
  • Design
  • Human Dimension / Ergonomics
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation
  • Projects / Sites
  • Links
  • Libraries & Consumers Enjoy a Valuable Resource in Google Book Search

    Google Book Search is developing into a very interesting information tool, also for librarians, because it provides a quick means for librarians and consumers to determine whether a book should be acquired or not, as one can quickly check out the general nature of the book layout, the table of contents, and index (if any) - which is important for library-acquired books, etc.

    One example of the useful features integrated into Google Book Search is the ability to find one's own authored books in the Google Book Search database and/or to find books in which one's own name has been mentioned together with the ability to include books of choice into one's own personal library, here as an example, MyLibrary.

    Google Book Search now shows numerous page selections from books but always leaves out a page or two here and there so that the entire book is not accessible, but it provides enough information for a potential buyer or researcher to determine whether the book is of value for purchase or research.

    Take a look at the way Google Book Search presents our book Stars Stones and Scholars. We are very much in favor of this approach because it really is a great way for people to determine what books they should buy and is not much different than leafing through a book at a bookstore or book shop.

    But there are some important and useful differences. For example, once one has selected a particular book, one can click the menu item "About this book" at the top of the right-hand column. The resulting page provides general library information about the book, including ISBN number and the general subject category to which a book is assigned, a list of key words and phrases in the book, a few selected pages (in the case of Stars Stones and Scholars, 3 pages with illustrations), a search box for entry of key words to be found, popular passages (it would be interesting to see the algorithm that is used to determine this), links to reviews of the book, references to the book from web pages, references to the book from other books, references to the book from scholarly works, links to related books, and a map of places mentioned in the book, followed by a selection of some of those places together with short excerpts from the book about them.

    One problem that can arise in looking at some Google Book Search scans is that the text can be virtually too small to read. Internet Explorer 7 has a magnifying glass icon/button in the bottom right hand corner of the status line at the bottom of the IE browser page whereby the size of the page can be substantially increased, making even the smallest text readable. The Sandy Berger Blog points out this feature is also available in Opera and is a godsend in both Opera and IE for screen-bleary tired eyes. Our browser of choice, Firefox, up-to-now has not had such a feature, but Firefox 3.0b2 (beta 2) does integrate full page zoom, although Firefox 3.0 still needs substantial improvement before we will use it, especially since it knocks out the Google Toolbar, which is a capital error.

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