What a long way scholarly communications has come in the past 25 years! In 1990, scholars often relied upon conversations with colleagues as well as footnotes in selected publications to locate information on a desired topic. When this was not enough, or a broader search was needed, researchers used print indexes and abstracts to find articles published in relevant literature, often having to consult multiple volumes of several titles for a desired period of time.
Moving forward to the new century, the Internet facilitated email communications between scholars all over the world. While print indexes and abstracts were still being used, online databases had replaced the individual print index titles. A little over ten years later, we have discovery tools (such as ASU’s U-Search), which can search multiple databases at the same time. And that is just the beginning of the scholarly communications, to say nothing of the other phases (such as writing, analysis, publication, and assessment) phases of the scholarly communication process.
Innovations in Scholarly Communications has a very interesting chart emphasizing open access tools for engaging in scholarly communication. It also reveals important developments in research workflow phases, as well as giving examples of potentially useful services. The aforementioned library services, databases and discovery tools, can be thought of as occupying the first categories of the traditional and modern discovery phase, in that order. How many of the other services do you use? A link from the aforementioned page to “Survey on real-world tool usage (open until Feb 2016)” may help reveal where you might incorporate some of these services into your scholarly communication process. You don’t even have to submit the survey, but can just mine it for resources that may be useful to you. Links to databases of these tools are also available.