Information Retrieval


Inside the Open Content Alliance Scanning Project

Have you ever thought about what it must be like to be a part of a huge book digitization process? search-engines-web dug up an article from the Wall Street Journal that profiles a "scanner" working for the Internet Archive, which is a part of the Open Content Alliance.

The group wants to build an online library of millions of old books and hopes to make a big batch accessible through Web searches as early as next year. For all its technical sophistication, the group needs the manual work of people like Ms. Ridolfo to make digitization a reality.

Students face tech inequity

rudimyers writes ""The 30 laptops and wireless networking that make it possible were paid for through a nearly $70,000 grant the school received earlier this year from Intel Corporation.
School officials pursued the grant after they realized it could be some time before the Olympia School District would be able to afford the equipment."

This problem exists everywhere. Think of the implications of teachers writing grants. When spending time doing that, what is going by the wayside?

Story at The Olympian Online."

British Library Digitizes With the Help of Microsoft

The British Library has struck a deal with Microsoft to digitize out-of-copyright books, journals, maps and manuscripts from its collection. The content will be available through the Library's website in conjunction with the recently announced MSN® Book Search. Microsoft plans to collaborate with organizations and libraries to develop an online archive collection to compete with the Google Print™ program.

Better Information Isn't Always Beneficial?

Slashdot Pointed the way to an interesting, though light on details, Wall Street Journal column by David Wessel. He says while the public has more and better information available now than ever before, he's not sure if it's always a good thing. Most of the time, speedier, cheaper information allows the economy to produce more from less, often by eliminating mistakes, cutting wasted effort and shrinking doubt. He points to Walmart, dug companies and "the lovelorn" as an example of people capitalizing on good information. But a couple new proprietary data sets are giving him pause. A program that helps companies choose judges based on how they've ruled in the past and the ability of Congress to get reelected are his examples.

He says computers have removed the limitation on the ability of any individual to process information, and have forced society to wrestle with practical issues that seemed only theoretical a generation ago.

I can't help but think libraries, free, open and accessible libraries have a part to play in the coming years. If we (libraries) make more information available to more people are we leveling the playing field, or just making things worse?

Is "Search" Redefining our Lives?

Durst writes "This article in the Seattle Times was referenced on the Army Librarians list. I think it says alot of things we already know, but of which the public is just now becoming aware."

Wiki in A Wink

Wiki is f-a-s-t! Check out this entry on the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI.

microsoft + wikipedia = moderated-pedia?

librarianscott writes "Here's One From Corante:

So Microsoft takes from the whole wikipedia anyone-can-edit encyclopedia, the subset idea of making it easier to suggest changes to specific encyclopedia articles.

Wikipedia depends on people making "free" edits--contributing for the greater good. Would these same kind souls contribute, if they know it will go through a moderator--an expert?"

What CIOs should know about records

Anonymous Patron writes "10 things every CIO should know about managing electronic records is a list from Though the list is obviously aimed at business CIOs, it's interesting and could be applied at libraries as well.
They say without question, information management is a high stakes game. The paper trail is now digital, and its first stop is the CIO's office. Managing e-records risk pro-actively makes sense for business entities and the CIOs who routinely lead people, processes and technology in strategic enterprise efforts."

IBM's Intranet and Folksonomy

Really Neat Look at some cool projects at IBM. IBM will soon experiment with folksonomy. They are motivated by a need to maintain the pace of updates to how information is organized in their intranet and a need to help users access their system.

The scale of this intranet is remarkable. It serves 315,000 IBM employees worldwide in multiple languages with personalization by business role and interest among other facets. Even more remarkably, they have used a controlled taxonomy, one version of which contains 3700 nodes, to organize the information in this intranet. You can view the PPT slides Here.

We'll be running an interview with Sarah N Goldman the Lead, Taxonomy Management & Development soon!

British Mobile Phone Question-Answering System

Cavan writes "In Britain you can text any question from your mobile to AQA (Any Questions Answered) and it will be answered within 10 minutes for one pound (US$1.93). The system relies on a team of handpicked part-time researchers, supported by a database of previously answered questions. "The Independent" newspaper for March 17th, 2005, reports that the system, which has been oprerating night and day for ten months, answers 2,000 questions daily. Replies are limited to 153 characters. logy/story.jsp?story=620741"

No information overload just yet

An Anonymous Patron writes "Despite thousands of e-mails a day, technology analyst Bill Thompson says he is nowhere near his "information overload" limit. See This BBC Report For More"

He says So far he's have not been tempted to upload it all into Google's gmail and make it a fully indexed and searchable archive, or get one of the third party mail indexing tools.

Digital memories: we can forget them for you wholesale!

Pete writes "This essay _digital_memories/
from The Register asks whether we ought to give pause before rushing headlong into the "digital revolution."

"Hardly any of the potential consequences of our move to digital products and services are given a moment's thought. Instead, we're encouraged to greet each new launch with enthusiasm, by a popular press which itself is as about as critical of digital products as a child is of Father Christmas. As long as the gifts keep coming, why should one question either the mechanics or the economics behind them?

But one of the more awkward questions is what happens to "Our Stuff", once we trust it to the digital void.""

Desktop Search: Reinventing the wheel?

kmhess writes "On Jon Udell's blog, I found this story about how desktop search has been under our nose for years, but for some reason Microsoft 'broke' it and that's why the little doggie never finds anything.

Key info for me:"...even when the Windows indexer is enabled, a search won't use it unless you prefix the search term with an exclamation point."


Next Evolution of Search Engines will Think with You sent along Seeking Better Web Searches from Scientific American.
New search engines are improving the quality of results by delving deeper into the storehouse of materials available online, by sorting and presenting those results better, and by tracking your long-term interests so that they can refine their handling of new information requests. In the future, search engines will broaden content horizons as well, doing more than simply processing keyword queries typed into a text box. They will be able to automatically take into account your location--letting your wireless PDA, for instance, pinpoint the nearest restaurant when you are traveling. New systems will also find just the right picture faster by matching your sketches to similar shapes. They will even be able to name that half-remembered tune if you hum a few bars.

So what will this do to the SEO folks?

Smithsonian + Microsoft writes

TechWeb and CCNews report "Microsoft and the Smithsonian said Tuesday that they'd struck a deal where the national museum's Folkways Recordings -- a catalog of some 35,000 historic songs and speeches -- will be available for sale and downloading from the MSN Music online store.
The new Smithsonian section of MSN Music offers up tunes from the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Big Bill Broonzy, and non-musical tracks from such luminaries as Martin Luther King, Jr. and FDR."

Explaining the use of RSS or Atom Feeds in Research

Carol Terry writes "Resource Shelf, Jan. 12, reports on a "must use" tool: Finding News Faster.
This is a fabulous presentation, from Virtual Chase, on using "XML-Based Feeds in Research".
"It starts with the basics--what they are, how to display them, and how to find them. It continues with sources and strategies for selecting feeds, or for creating keyword-specific feeds."
It can be viewed or downloaded. Highly Recommended."

China's largest search engine developed by Students

Mooret writes "This search engine is developed by students at my local university.

It's called Renjo and has currently the largest chinese index out there on the web. On top of that it clusters results."

Next Generation Search Tools to Refine Results

Although search engines have greatly enhanced access to information, and storage technology has made it cheap to digitize nearly everything, search tools need to be refined to make it easier to digest information or conduct queries. That was the word from researchers and speakers at the New Paradigms for Using Computers Conference, held at IBM's Almaden research lab here last week. Read More.

New Search Technology Introduced

search engine optimization writes "Check out

It's fancy New Search Technology that works with any Domain name. You use it by replacing the "www" with a search term and SERPs appear. For example, trying, It automatically interprets and calculates separate individuals words that are combined into one word. More Here."

Funny, zero results returned for anything I try to search, gives a great error message though. I just don't get it.

Cops Get Info from Handhelds

Here's an article from about how police officers are using handheld devices to retrieve information on the spot.

The next minute, he knows who your relatives are, who lives in your house, who your neighbors are, the kind of car you drive or boat you own, whether you've been sued and various other tidbits about your life.


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