Information Retrieval

Tech Friday: ChaCha.- Human Guided Search

mdoneil writes "A new search engine has sprung up to provide human powered search (I thought that is what librarians did) not as pretty as, but interesting.
You can check it out at

I tried it this morning using Droghdea as my search and the first human powered search person bailed on me and pawned me off on another search person who found some results, but I consider the result set to be inferior to what I could have found using any algorithmic search engine.
It is quite like an or any other ask a librarian service except that the search staff are not necessarily librarians.
It is an ad driven model and the search staff can earn $5-10USD per hour according to their website.
I doubt it will catch on, especially for Internet search, it may be something used in Enterprise search, but then again is is no different than an enterprise ask-a-librarian would be.
Have a look and tell us what you think."

Microsoft to Google: Move Over, We're Gonna Do Book Search Too

The latest technology news from PC World and The Sydney Morning Herald report that tech heavyweight Microsoft is planning on launching "a US test of Live Search Books featuring tens of thousands of out-of-copyright books, including works held by the British library and major universities in Toronto and California."

ALA's custom search engine

rteeter writes "The American Library Association is experimenting with a Google custom search engine called the Librarian's E-Library. (Found via"

Could Digitalization Cause a Void in History?

Search Engines WEB sends us something from TechDirt "Even if you can store the data perfectly forever, without the right applications, it's meaningless. Matt Sullivan writes in with yet another article on the topic, this time from Popular Mechanics, that suggests we could be facing a "digital ice age" as plenty of data from this era of history are lost to bad archiving capabilities."

College Students Can't Search Effectively

shoe writes "Via Slashdot comes an article confirming something we as librarians see every day on the front lines... People (in this case, college students) are unable to evaluate web resources for things like objectivity, timeliness or audience. And (don't scream) they can't narrow down a search. Who'd a thunk it?"

Dutch Websites Archived by National Library

TransLibrarian writes "The national library of the Netherlands, the KB has recently started a research project to archive the estimated 1.4 million active websites and 60 million webpages based in Holland. From a blog entitled Will this blog be preserved for eternity?"

Change Afoot for the New York Public Library Reading Room

Shelves are empty, but not because of missing or stolen books. The reading room at the New York Public Library is letting go of the outdated ordering system created by John Shaw Billings, the library system's director from 1896 (the year after it was founded)until his death in 1913, and replacing it with a system people might actually understand.

The current system is used only by the New York Public Library. Its greatest drawback is that no one but the system's librarians really understands it. They are switching to a classification system parallel to that used by the Library of Congress [dividing all knowledge among 21 classes, each signified by a letter]. New York Times reports.

Microsoft "Academic Live" - well, is LIVE! writes " Windows Live Academic is now in beta. We currently index content related to computer science, physics, electrical engineering, and related subject areas.Academic search enables you to search for peer reviewed journal articles contained in journal publisher portals and on the web in locations like citeseer.Academic search works with libraries and institutions to search and provide access to subscription content for their members. Access restricted resources include subscription services or premium peer-reviewed journals"

Corporate Alzheimer's: Coping With Forgotten File Formats Asks What if the file formats in which we save text documents, spreadsheets, charts and presentations -- all that stuff generated by so-called productivity software -- were not supported by future versions of the programs used to create them today, or by some as-yet-unimagined successor products? Could drifting file formats cause a kind of corporate Alzheimer's that threatens our ability to recall contracts, insurance policies, financial records, payroll data and other critical documents?

Grant allows OSU to develop library software

Interesting Story from Oregon where they recently received almost $73,000 to develop a meta-search tool. The money was part of more than $163 million in grants doled out by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to state library agencies. The Oregon State Library received about $2.2 million, which was divided among various Oregon library project proposals, including OSUs.Most of the grant money will go toward hiring a software developer. A preliminary version of the program should be available for use at OSU in about a month, Frumkin said, although the project won't be completed until late May or early June 2007.


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