[nabs-l] research techniques and databases

Rania raniaismail04 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 25 18:40:26 UTC 2009

I didn't know we could do that with g mail. Pritty cool!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Arielle Silverman" <arielle71 at gmail.com>
To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list" 
<nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: [nabs-l] research techniques and databases

> Hi Ashley,
> A couple of points not mentioned:
> Most newer articles are going to be accessible PDF's. If you use
> Gmail, you can save the PDF to your computer, email it to your Gmail
> account and then select the "View attachment as html" option. This
> only works for nonscanned PDF's, but as I said before, most newer
> articles are not scanned PDF's. If you do get a scanned PDF which says
> "empty document" when you try to open in Adobe, run it through
> OpenBook, Kurzweil or Omni Page.
> Psyc Info is accessible, as well as Academic Search Premier
> (Ebscohost). These are the two databases I use the most. Ebscohost
> also has a lot of articles in full-text html, which is easier to
> navigate through than PDF.
> I rarely use readers for research unless I have to select hard copy
> books. For articles, I usually just read the abstract and if I like
> that, read the first couple pages of the article before deciding
> whether or not it's helpful. Sometimes even if articles themselves
> aren't exactly topical, they will lead you to good references, so read
> the reference section too. And, by all means, take notes on some kind
> of Braille device while reading with JAWS.
> HTH,
> Arielle
> On 6/25/09, Joseph C. Lininger <jbahm at pcdesk.net> wrote:
>> Hash: SHA256
>> Ashley,
>> I don't claim to be any expert on research. I'm quite bad at it in fact
>> unless it happens to be about something to do with computer security,
>> software algorithms, cryptography, or some other completely geeky topic.
>> However, I've given my thoughts on some of your questions below. Your
>> question is quoted, followed by my thoughts.
>>> 2. How do you use those PDF files?  What can you do in Openbook to 
>>> access
>>> them?
>>> Many full text articles were PDF rendering them inaccessible without 
>>> using
>>> a scanner.
>> The fact a document is in PDF format doesn't automatically mean it can't
>> be read. If you do come across one you can't read, the problem is most
>> likely that you've got a PDF which simply contains a scanned image of an
>> article instead of the actual text. The tell-tail sign of this is if you
>> are told the document is empty when you open it in Acrobat. Many of the
>> OCR packages out there can take such a PDF and run the image through
>> OCR, thereby producing something you can read. I believe Openbook has
>> this ability. I know for certain that Omnipage does since it's what I 
>> use.
>>> 4. What do you do to determine if an article is relevant?  So far I
>>> thought of reading
>>> the abstract and/or intro.  Sometimes I read entire articles only to 
>>> find
>>> them not
>>> as useful as I thought they would be based on the intro.
>> I've never done research in the way you're thinking of, but in my
>> occupation I do often have to thumb through books, magazine articles,
>> the occasional journal article, white papers, etc. to see if there is
>> anything useful to me in them. I've found the following techniques to be
>> helpful.
>> 1. As you suggested, read the abstract or introduction.
>> 2. If the article is divided into sections, read the section titles, and
>> possibly the first paragraph of each section to see if it yields
>> anything promising. I'll give you an example of the process I might use.
>> If I were looking for information on network intrusion detection
>> systems, which is a topic I have needed to research. I might find an
>> article on network monitoring, network defense, or remote exploitation
>> of interest. From there, let's say I found a section called, "using
>> encryption to protect against sniffing". Well, obviously that has
>> nothing to do with anything I am interested in in this specific case.
>> But let's say later I see something like, "detecting outside scans of
>> your network". Well, since I know intrusion detection systems are used
>> as one tool for that, that's a section I might want to take a closer
>> look at. These titles are very boiler plate and hypothetical I know, but
>> they illustrate the point.
>> 3. If you know something about the content of the article, and you know
>> what you're looking for, you might try searching the article for
>> specific keywords. Continuing the previous example, I might look for
>> things like: "intrusion detection", "network intrusion", "ids", "nids",
>> "port scan", "exploit", "vulnerability" or "alarm". If I were on the
>> other end, trying to sneak into someone's network unnoticed, I might be
>> interested in keywords like, "elude" "eluding" "decoy" "evade" "evading"
>> "penetration test" or "pen-test". This one requires you have a fairly
>> good idea of exactly what you're looking for in order to form keywords
>> or strings of keywords that will yield good results. In my case, it also
>> requires a spell checker since I can't spell and a keyword search only
>> works if you spell the keywords right. LOL
>> Hope this helps.
>> Joe
>> Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (MingW32)
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