Librarian's Book Club

The Seach: Chapter 2: Who, What, Where, Why, When and How (Much)

The Librarian's Book Club discussion of "The Search" by John Battelle continues:

Chapter 2 starts off with a smart idea: Who, What ,Where, Why, When "and a corollary: who's making the money, and how much?" Good on Battelle for thinking of the profit motive here.

Another good quote that caught my eye, on page 23: "At the end of the day, the holy grail of all search engines is to decipher your true intent – what you are looking for, and in what context." And when that happens, will we be needed? Once computers become "extraordinarily good at incoherence", once they can understand the "nearly infinite combinations of dialects, words and numbers", would anyone even bother asking for help? Will they ever overcome the complexities of language? How far away is that day? The "What" section would have been a perfect place to talk about how cataloging relates to how search engines work.

Google says over 50% of all searches are unique. Though the "long tail" thing is old and tired, it's an important thing to consider when we're talking about how people search. Another neat factoid I hadn't considered is the vast majority of searching is done in languages other than English.

"So why do we search? To recover that which we know exists on the web, and to discover that which we assume must be there..."

"How Much" reminds me that though libraries and search engines strive for some similar goals, e.g. getting answers to questions, they are after a very different end result, money. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing, though it certainly can be corrupting. We strive to find the best results for our users. They strive to serve them the best ads.

LISNEWS Bookclub: Chapter One of "The Search"

Chapter One has several interesting ideas presented. The author presents a concept called the "Database of Intentions". This database is the aggregate information about what we search for and what we want. The author argues that the "Database of Intentions" is going to be sought out by companies, governments, and people that want money and power. Currently the major online search companies contain the information about the "Datebase of Intentions". (Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc...) The author points out that if you are worried about the government seeing what you read you might be concerned if the Patriot Act were applied to your email account at Yahoo or Google.

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

A collection of reviews of our choice for reading this fall:Amazon Has Some Reviews. Other reviews include Business Week, Barnes And Noble, and HBS Working Knowledge

NPR has an interview. David Gardner talks with John Battelle about the past, present, and future of Google.

Book for October - December 2005 has been selected.

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture has been selected as the Librarians' Book Club selection for October - December 2005. To join in the discussion all you need to do is get a copy of the book, read it, and discuss it by posting comments on LISNEWS.

Update: 09/26 14:19 EST by B:I'd like to hear ideas on the best way to discuss the book. Should I install a seperate system for the discussions? A message board? Wiki? Email List? Something else? What's the best format for online book discussions?

Librarian's or Librarians'

Before LBC was part of LISNEWS I wrote the name like this Librarians' Book Club. I had at least two people email me and say that it should be Librarian's Book Club. When LBC became part of LISNEWS I put the name as Librarian's Book Club.
Someone posted a comment asking whether the name should be Librarians' Book Club. I would like to come to a definitive answer. Can the grammar experts among the group weigh in? The name will either remain the same or be adjusted accordingly. If you have a source for your answer please cite it.

Time to Vote

There were five nominations of library related books. Two of the books have been withdrawn by the person that nominated them. This leaves a total of three books to vote on.
The books are:
1) The Tipping Point

2) The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

3) A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World

To vote post a comment to this story telling what your vote is. Anonymous votes will not be counted. The book that is selected will be read by any LISNEWS member that is interested in the book and discussion of the book will take place on LISNEWS. The focus of the books will be librarianship, libraries, information science, and books.

Nominations for October-December 2005 Book

Nominations for the October - December 2005 LISNEWS Book Club are being accepted. To nominate a book just reply to this entry and detail what book you would like to nominate. The selected book can be read by any LISNEWS member that is interested and discussion will take place on the LISNEWS website.


The book selection for July - August 2005 is The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800 by Lucien Febvre, Henri-Jean Martin, David Gerard (Translator) Books, and the printed word more generally, are aspects of modern life that are all too often taken for granted. Yet the emergence of the book was a process of immense historical importance and heralded the dawning of the epoch of modernity. In this much praised history of that process, Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin mesh together economic and technological history, sociology and anthropology, as well as the study of modes of consciousness, to root the development of the printed word in the changing social relations and ideological struggles of Western Europe.

About the Librarian's Book Club

The Librarian's Book Club is a group to read and discuss books that
are about libraries and the library profession. Every two months the
Librarian's Book Club will select a new book to discuss. All you need
to do is get yourself a copy of the current book. Discussion of the
book will take place on LISNEWS in the Book Club section. (Note:
Although this book club discussion group is focused towards
librarians, we welcome members that are not librarians.)

A note on book selection:
Anyone that is a member of lisnews can vote on what book will be read.
If you do not plan on reading the book or participating in the
discussion please consider refraining from voting. "


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