Information Retrieval

Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques

Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques
There are plenty of Google search cheat sheets floating around. But it’s not often you get to hear advice directly from someone at Google who offers you his favorite search tools, methods and perspectives to help you find the impossible.

Here are some of my favorite tips shared by Russell at the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference. Some of these techniques are powerful but obscure; others are well-known but not fully understood by everyone.

Making Choices in the Age of Information Overload

Making Choices in the Age of Information Overload
The Internet was supposed to make us smarter shoppers. So why should we still listen to the signals that brands send us?

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?

Google vs. Bing - what's the difference?
And that's the biggest case against switching to Bing. If you're never really going to escape Google - and if Bing is pretty much exactly like Google - what's the point? Yes, Google and Bing are functionally identical. But Bing will need a lot more than parity with the most-popular search engine in the land if it wants people to switch en masse.

How is Google different from traditional Library OPACs & databases?

How is Google different from traditional Library OPACs & databases?
In short, the further away your library search is from these characteristics , the more difficult your users will find the search to use due to different expectations. Trained by Google, their searches are created based on the expectations such features are built-in , lacking any one of them will result in difficulties and poor quality results.

Of course implementing these features means losing control and predictability of searches, librarians don't want to be surprised and for sure they don't want to see a result they can't explain. Being able to do a precise controlled search would enable a searcher to be *sure* he has done a exhaustive search that he wants.

Burning Circle Episode 59

This program is double counted as LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #186 This week's program provides a bit of a news recap. Links to the issues mentioned and more can be found at the Erie Looking Productions blog. Download here (MP3) (Ogg) or subscribe to the podcast MP3 to have episodes delivered to your media player. Although we suggest subscribing by way of a service like my.gpodder.org, you can also subscribe to the Burning Circle via FeedBurner's email tool to receive show posts in your inbox with links to episode audio.

Creative Commons License
Burning Circle Episode 59 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

SOPA & Protect IP Act Tabled...For Now...

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act proposals are currently tabled. British tech publication The Register notes that this does not mean the bills are dead. The Editor-in-Chief of Mashable, Lance Ulanoff, tweeted asking what ideas people had about copyright protection, intellectual property, and piracy. Todd Wasserman of Mashable calls SOPA dead instead of tabled. A statement issued by the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid notes his belief that the issues raised over the Protect IP Act can be resolved. CNET blogger Don Reisinger notes that the bills are hardly dead and that while a battle was lost a war continues. Nate Anderson at Ars Technica reports that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a major opponent of the Protect IP Act, claiming that Internet policy should not be made on the fly.

Is the Loss of Objective Search a Bad Thing?

Imagine a research database, that upon searching for "wind energy," gives top results about the benefits of turbine technology to one student, while another student (with a different search history, or in a different state) is instead shown articles that focus on the noise and vertigo that wind turbines produce. Sound fishy? Google has unveiled a more personal search that does exactly this sort of thing, called "Search, plus Your World. Is this more about advertising revenue than providing access to information? For a nice review of the issue, see a competitor's Escape your search engine Filter Bubble! When, if ever, would you want filtered results?

Knowledge is actually hard to lose nowadays

A Point of View: Why didn't Harry Potter just use Google?
In a world that is overwhelmed with ways of accessing information, we must decide what to remember and what to forget, says historian Lisa Jardine.

The danger today is rather that we are reluctant to let go of any information garnered from however recondite a source. Every historian knows that no narrative will be intelligible to a reader if it includes all the detail the author amassed in the course of their research. A clear thread has to be teased from the mass of available evidence, to focus, direct and ultimately give meaning to what has been assembled for analysis. Daring to discard is as crucial as safe-guarding, for effective knowledge management and transmission today.

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

David Weinberger on Science and Big Data

There are three basic reasons scientific data has increased to the point that the brickyard metaphor now looks 19th century. First, the economics of deletion have changed. Second, the economics of sharing have changed. The Library of Congress has tens of millions of items in storage because physics makes it hard to display and preserve, much less to share, physical objects. Third, computers have become exponentially smarter. John Wilbanks, vice president for Science at Creative Commons (formerly called Science Commons), notes that "[i]t used to take a year to map a gene. Now you can do thirty thousand on your desktop computer in a day. A $2,000 machine -- a microarray -- now lets you look at the human genome reacting over time."

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