Search Engines

Another Q&A App Launches. U Jelly?

Jelly is a new app that lets you share pictures of objects you cannot identify. People you know are then asked to identify the objects for you. Is this an inefficient, narcissism-enabling way of obtaining information, or yet another revolutionary killer app? At what point should your library get on board?

DuckDuckGo Benefits From Internet Searchers Wanting Privacy

Online search engines that protect users' privacy are seeing a spike in traffic after the NSA surveillance revelations. DuckDuckGo, which does not track users at all, says it's seen record-breaking traffic.

Listen to story here.

See search engine -- https://duckduckgo.com/

Can a small search engine take on Google?

Duck Duck Go is a small search engine based in Pennsylvania that is, according to Google at least, a Google competitor. OTM producer Chris Neary talks with Duck Duck Go founder Gabriel Weinberg, SearchEngineLand's Danny Sullivan, and a dedicated Duck Duck Go user about the site. Also, each of the OTM producers try Duck Duck Go, and only Duck Duck Go, for a week.

Full piece:On The Media

Sabbatical in Guatemala? Asturias Academy Seeking a School Librarian

The Asturias Academy in Quetzaltanango, Guatemala is looking for a School Librarian for the 2013 academic year. The ideal candidate has Spanish language skills and experience/interest in school librarianship. This is a volunteer position. A stipend of up to $2400 is available to the successful candidate to help cover living costs in Guatemala, provided by Librarians Without Borders (www.librarianswithoutborders.org). Working alongside the school’s permanent librarian, the volunteer librarian will be responsible for planning library activities for students ages 4-18, in addition to maintaining the library. Duties include: keeping records of books borrowed and returned, building a collection “wish list” for further expansion, leading library instruction sessions for students, working with Librarians Without Borders to set up a circulation system, and working with teachers to incorporate the library into classroom activities. The volunteer librarian will also help train the permanent librarian to lead the management and operations of the library. For a full job description and application instructions, please visit the Librarians Without Borders' website.

Power Searching with Google

Google is offering a "community-based course" on Power Searching with Google. At this point, it's unclear exactly how advanced the course will be. Examples on Google's search blog include things like "search for and read pages written in languages you’ve never even studied" and "identifying that green-covered book about gardening that you’ve been trying to track down for years".

Here's the course schedule that appears after registering:
Pre-class assessment
Class 1 - Introduction [ available July 10 ]
Class 2 - Interpreting results [ available July 11 ]
Class 3 - Advanced techniques [ available July 12 ]
Mid-class assessment
Class 4 - Find facts faster [ available July 17 ]
Class 5 - Checking your facts [ available July 18 ]
Class 6 - Putting it all together [ available July 19 ]
Post-class assessment

So now Google is the expert on information literacy?

A friend sent me this article. The subject line of their email was - So now Google is the expert on information literacy?

Update: ‘Google Search Education’ (Chronicle of Higher Education)

A Revamping of Bing in the Battle for Search Engine Supremacy

A Microsoft-Facebook alliance plans an overhaul of Bing in an effort to loosen Google’s grip on the search engine market.

Full article

Google Changes Search Algorithm, Trying to Make Results More Timely

Acknowledging that some searches were giving people stale results, Google revised its methods on Thursday to make the answers timelier. It is one of the biggest tweaks to Google’s search algorithm, affecting about 35 percent of all searches.

The new algorithm is a recognition that Google, whose dominance depends on providing the most useful results, is being increasingly challenged by services like Twitter and Facebook, which have trained people to expect constant updates with seconds-old news.

It is also a reflection of how people use the Web as a real-time news feed — that if, for example, you search for a baseball score, you probably want to find the score of a game being played at the moment, not last week, which is what Google often gave you.

Read more

A Google A Day

Librarian Bill Drew just reported on receiving an email from Google about a new feature they wanted him to try out called A Google a Day. Here's the gist of it:

What is a Google a Day?
A Google a Day is a daily trivia question where searching isn't just allowed, it's encouraged. Through daily questions on a diverse array of topics, we delight the curious with exciting new facts. Questions are featured daily on www.agoogleaday.com and above the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Why is it cool?
A Google a Day is a great new way to discover fascinating information about the world around all while learning how to use the wealth of the web to satisfy one's curiosity. Moreover, it's a great way for students and library patrons to build search skills that allow them to better put the power of Google's search engine to work for them in researching for assignments and discovering untapped avenues for further exploration.

Even more exciting, the Google a Day widget can be embedded right on a library's home page. With minimal effort and no programming experience required, each day the widget will automatically update so users have instant access to exciting and educational content on the landing page.

Why is it useful for libraries? -- Read More

Nothing at the library?

I currently work at a small liberal arts college in the Midwestern USA where librarians are "embedded" in introductory courses and oversee the information literacy curriculum. Last week one of my colleagues informed me about a response from one of her students that I just have to pass along. The student's comment was that she couldn't find anything at the library about the Industrial Revolution , her other topic was .... wait for it .... Martin Luther and the Reformation. As Joe Friday is often quoted as uttering "Just the facts, ma'am"....

Catalog keyword search hits

  • Industrial Revolution = 142
  • "Martin Luther" = 204
  • "Martin Luther" AND Reformation = 21

Ok, I know that out-of-the-box library catalogs aren't as "innovative", user friendly (or forgiving) as Amazon, Google, and the like, but the difference between what the student claimed and what the "facts" illustrate is too wide a chasm to cross.

Comments like this make me think that we should have a library lock-in, perhaps overnight, and not let the student out until they find something. Heck, it might even become a succesful reality show. It wouldn't be as goofy as Silent Library but it might still be a goodie. Afterall, there could be worse fates.

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