A Short Manual on Searching Academic Literature in the Internet (in Russian)

Finally finished my short HOWTO on searching academic literature in the Internet.  The text is based mostly on my own experience: my main work at the Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences is to analyse the new publications on Soviet history, including foreign ones, and it would be really difficult to do this work without Internet as only a small part of Western research papers and monographs is available at Russian libraries.

Download the full text (PDF, 9.5 Mb, in Russian).

The Hunting of the Books: How to Search the Foreign Academic Literature in the Internet: a report (in Russian)

My report at Veskon-2015 convent on Tolkien studies and role playing games in Moscow, with an overview of three instruments for searching the academic literature in the Internet (LibGen, Sci-Hub, Academia.edu).  It can be useful not only for specialists on Tolkien, but for any other students as well, whatever problems they are interested in. Continue reading ‘The Hunting of the Books: How to Search the Foreign Academic Literature in the Internet: a report (in Russian)’ »

Bibliography on World War I

In the fall of 2014 we finished our bibliographical database on history of Russia in World War I, it didn’t function for a while after the fire, but they have just restored it from a backup.  It’s available at http://www.inion.ru/I_publ.html and contains information about books and articles from the library of our institute, that is, about almost everything published in Russia and also about some foreign publications.  We’ll probably be able later to add information about books available at some other major libraries as well.  The interface is only in Russian, but it’s quite simple.  Search by author, title, annotation and keywords is available, there’s also a subject directory.  Each reference in the search results has a list of tags, each of them is a link to the list of corresponding references.  My role was mainly the communication to the programmers.

Learning How to Use Tor

Censorship in the Internet has still only a limited scale in Russia, but the message ‘The Web page you are requesting has been blocked according a court decision’ has already appeared in the window of my browser several times, so I decided to find a solution for this problem before it becomes really serious and learned how to use the Tor network.  The technical details are described in Wikipedia, and the best way for a quick start is to visit the official Web site of the Tor project and to download the so called Tor Browser which includes a set of programs to work with Tor and a copy of Mozilla Firefox with a special configuration (and with the Adobe Flash Player plug-in being turned off as it can undermine your anonymity).  To my surprise, it really turned out to work ‘out of the box’, without any manual configuration; all the Web pages I tried to read opened fast enough and with no errors, including the pages that are blocked in Russia.  Thanks a lot to the developers and to the numerous Tor volunteers—owners of the Tor nodes!  Hope the Russian government won’t prohibit the Tor itself as it has been done in China and Iran.  Anyway, at least now, the Russian users who prefer to choose their sources of information by themselves have got a real opportunity to do so.

Sci-Hub: How to Download Articles from Academic Journals Free of Charge

Piracy in the Internet is ineradicable.  Just a few days ago my colleagues showed me a new Sci-Hub online service for downloading articles from academic journals.  The site is available at http://sci-hub.org/ (two other URLs that can also be found in the Web, http://sci-hub.info/ and http://sci-hub.site50.net/, don’t function now).  The interface is in Russian only, but you can try it nevertheless, it’s in fact very simple.  Just type your search request (for example, the title of an article, or the DOI) and press Enter.  You will receive a list of available links.  The service uses its own network of proxy servers to gain access to protected commercial databases.

While working with Sci-Hub, one should remember about its limits.  The downloading of the articles, especially in PDF format, can last rather long—from fifteen seconds to two minutes.  Not all the articles are available in PDF, sometimes only HTML version can be found.  Not all the articles are really available; be ready to get an error message instead of the text you are looking for.  If a button Поменять прокси (‘Change the Proxy’) appears at the right side of the page, try to use it; sometimes it can help.  If you need the whole book or a journal issue, you must download the articles or chapters randomly, changing the proxy server after each article and making a break for at least 45 minutes after each three or four articles.  Otherwise Sci-Hub may be banned and it’ll take time for its developers to regain access to the server you are interested in.

UPDATE: The new address of Sci-Hub is http://sci-hub.cc/. The old addresses are not available.