In Search of Disclosure

"Beyond search engines Yahoo and Google (yes, there is life beyond Google) exist the meta-search sites. These all-in-one search sites save you valuable keystrokes by searching multiple search engines at once and compiling the results for your convenience."

"Sites such as Dogpile, Mamma, and Metacrawler, which harvest results from a number of the Web's best-known large search engines, can be quite interesting. It's intriguing to see how one query can return such different results from various engines. Such variations in results also help illustrate that no one search engine has a monopoly on "knowing" the Web."

"Problem is, regular users of such sites forget -- or don't realize -- that the results they're getting may be skewed. Many search sites these days accept payment from advertisers to list certain Web pages higher in the search results, sometimes marking them as "sponsored" or "partner" links. That means meta-search sites, which tend to give just the first few links retrieved from each engine, are more likely to show sponsored links. Problem is, meta-sites usually strip away any search engine notation that shows that Link X is a paid listing. Users, therefore, generally won't know that on the original search engine, Link X was shown in a colored box or otherwise offset as, in effect, advertising material -- unless they dig deeper to look for sponsorship disclosure information." (from Consumer Web Watch)


Building a Bigger Search Engine

"Last week, LookSmart released a screensaver that harnesses the spare computing power of volunteers whose machines are indexing the Web."

"Like [email protected], LookSmart's Grub screensaver runs in the background or when the computer is idle. But instead of searching for signs of intelligent aliens, Grub crawls the Net to build an index for Web searches."

"In a matter of days, the number of people running Grub jumped from less than 100 to more than 1,000. As of Wednesday, the system was crawling more than 26 million Web pages, according to the site's Web page." (from Wired)


Candy-Coated Electronics

Lee Hadden writes " There is an interesting article on applying library and information
science concepts to the computer field. See the article in the April
15th Wall Street Journal, "Candy-Coated Electronics,"


on the editorial page.

"...Today's standard
file system was born in
the '70s -- never
intended for
21st-century demands.
Nowadays it is
hopelessly outclassed.
The desktop interface
(that pint-sized parking
lot for icons) is in
tough shape too. So we
have search engines and
finder programs and
document managers and
other specialized
applications, operating
like counter clerks at
an ancient library where
the books are all hidden
on collapsing shelves in
the back. But counter
clerks are no answer.
All the important design
requirements apply to
the bookshelf itself --
to the basic
architecture of
information storage. We
need unity and

Read more about it at

(subscription required)



Are we doomed yet?

Sheldon Pacotti makes the case in Salon that a completely open society, rather than a government crackdown, may be the best chance for surviving terrorism by means of nanobots, engineered biological viruses, or other self-replicating technology.

"What happens, in a police bureaucracy, if someone releases a nanotech plague into the environment? If the police can suppress information on the structure of the nanobots, then only a handful of government bureaus and hand-picked researchers may be allowed to work on a cure. Millions could die waiting for the bureaucracy to solve the problem. On the other hand, if the molecular structure of the pest is published worldwide, anyone with the expertise could help design defensive technology."


Cambridge University Library in Joint Repository Project

"Cambridge University Library and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries have embarked on a joint project to establish a digital repository for Cambridge University. The two libraries, working with Cambridge University Computing Service, will jointly receive £1.7 million over two years from the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) in order to install an open source computer system called 'DSpaceTM'. The project will be led in Cambridge by the University Librarian, Peter Fox, and at MIT by the Director of MIT Libraries, Ann Wolpert."

"For some time we in the University Library have been concerned about the amount of digital material being created in the University apparently without any provision being made for its long-term preservation and access. DSpace now provides us with the opportunity to offer such a service to our academic colleagues, and we are delighted to have the opportunity of developing it in collaboration with MIT Libraries", said Peter Fox." (from Managing Information)


DRM Primer

\"You start up a DVD movie and before the film starts, you encounter an annoying advertisement. But when you try to fast-forward past the commercial, your player doesn\'t respond.\"
\"You can play your new audio CD on your stereo system, but when you insert it into the CD drive on your Macintosh computer [or PC for that matter], the CD doesn\'t work.\"
DRM. Have so few letters ever inspired such fear in the hearts of librarians?

On the desk, I was flipping though the April 8, 2003 PC Magazine that was patiently waiting to be processed. Inside I found a good little article on DRM. If you don\'t know about DRM you might want to learn about it. For starters it is an acronym for Digital Rights Management. But I don\'t need to sit here insulting your intelligence. Read the article, which happens to have a nice DRM webliography.


The wide, wild world of ibiblio

Anne writes "The ever knowledgeable Gary Price has a link to an article about the ibiblio project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here's the article, and, ibiblio; and to Gary's Resource Shelf. "

From the article:

"Surfing the ibiblio Web site is like having a conversation with an eccentric intellectual with good intentions to enlighten but little tact or organization."


Let\'s Hurry Up with the WiFi, Borders Is!

Alleged menace to public (and academic?) libraries, Borders Group, has teamed with Intel to provide \"high-speed wireless Internet access to customers at more than 400 Borders Books & Music® locations nationwide.\" Nowhere in full article does it state if this access will be available to the public for free of for a cost. Borders has hooked up with Intel® for this venture. Intel® is promoting their Intel® Centrino(TM) mobile technology not only in these outlets, but also Hilton hotels and resorts. [link goes to article and list of hotels] and McDonald\'s.If libraries can\'t be on the cutting edge of this technology, we at least need to be ready and implement it before it gets totally mainstream. While I wish libraries could introduce this technology to everyone, it isn\'t happening that way. The news about Intel® promoting their product is heartening, though, becasue I\'m ready to be connected all of the time. See Wireless Librarian for articles and a list of libraries implementing wireless technology.


Preparing for Computer Disasters

A Chronicle Of Higher Ed. Article on planning for the worst.
They say for every story of how an institution was able to save its data, a professor somewhere has a horror story about losing years of research after a fire, natural disaster, or a server crash. And while most large universities religiously back up their main computer servers every night, some only save data on smaller servers once a week.

""The scary part is if you're planning for this disaster, and it fails in the calm moment, what's going to happen in a real disaster?" Mr. Ellis says. "Everybody talks about backup, but the really important part is how long it takes to do a restore."


A Kfsource Interview with Mark Webbink, General Counsel

David Goldman writes " recently talked with with Mark Webbink, General Counsel for Red Hat Inc. Red Hat is the largest and arguably the most recognized provider of open source technology in the United States. We asked Mr. Webbink about why open source software is important to librarians and legal professionals, wheter the GPL (GNU Public License) is truly anti-competitive as some have maintained as well as the issues surrounding the controversial DMCA. Mr. Webbink also responds critics who claim, open source software is by nature "viral"..."



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