Information Retrieval

InfoRetrieval

Best Reference Question Ever?

Here's a really wonderful thread over on PUBLIB. It started with this: "Some pre holiday humor for y'all. I just had a patron ask me for a list of all our informational books. I giggled."

My personal favorite: "Patron rolling up a shirtsleeve and showing me her arm, "is this herpes?""

Google Is Taking Questions (Spoken, via iPhone)

Pushing ahead in the decades-long effort to get computers to understand human speech, Google researchers have added sophisticated voice recognition technology to the company’s search software for the Apple iPhone.

Greenstone 2.81 Released

David Bainbridge from the Greenstone team posted a release noting that a new version of the package was released. Greenstone originates from New Zealand at the University of Waikato. Relative to the changes in the new release, Bainbridge wrote:
The main focus has been on multilingual support. Improvements include handling filenames that include non-ASCII characters, accent folding switched on by default for Lucene, and character based segmentation for CJK languages. This release also features our new installer, which is 100% open source. Previously we had relied on a commercial program for this, which incurred a significant cost in keeping up to date; consequently we decided to develop our own installer, based on the excellent open source installer toolkits already available. There are many other significant additions in this release, such as the Fedora Librarian Interface (analogous to GLI, but working with a Fedora repository). See the release notes for the complete details.
The post gives details on downloading the release as well as daily builds.

Sizing Up the Long Tail of Search

Assuming the tail doesn’t begin until term 18, the head and body together only account for 3.25% of all search traffic! In fact, the top terms don’t account for much traffic:

• Top 100 terms: 5.7% of the all search traffic
• Top 500 terms: 8.9% of the all search traffic
• Top 1,000 terms: 10.6% of the all search traffic
• Top 10,000 terms: 18.5% of the all search traffic

Open Access Day - October 14, 2008

Walt: Today is apparently Open Access Day.

If you’re not already familiar with OA, you should be.
If you’re in an academic library, you should consider how your library could be involved in OA.
If you’re a researcher or article writer, consider how OA can help and what you can do.
It’s not about “losing copyright” (and certainly not about robbing authors!). It’s not about losing peer review.
It’s about gaining access.

1TB of free online media storage via Oosah

Need someplace to store the massive number of pictures, videos, and other media files that have accumulated on your computer? You can always use a service like Flickr or YouTube, but wouldn't it be nice to have it all in one place? A relatively new player in the media storage game, Oosah, offers 1TB for media storage. Yes, 1TB. Here's the limits on what you can upload:

There are some limitations. You can only upload videos that are 200MB or smaller, images that are 50MB or less, and MP3 files that are 9MB or less. And you can't upload executable files, office documents, or other files.

Here is a word of warning from DownloadSquad though (the above limits also came from DownloadSquad):

One word of warning. When I signed up I had to check a box that said I agreed to Oosah's privacy policy. But there was no clear link to said policy. A quick Google search turned up a list of terms and conditions which also makes mention of a separate privacy policy. But it's nowhere to be found.

WorldCat tagging debuts

OCLC Abstracts Says You and your users can now keep track of your favorite items in WorldCat through tags—keywords that help you classify or describe an item. Tags are displayed in search results lists and may help you find similar items or organize items in a way that makes sense to you. You can add as many tags as you would like to an unlimited set of items. You can view and maintain all of your personalized tags from your WorldCat profile page. Plus, you can also browse items using the tags other people have contributed.
(Via iLibrarian)

Best of the best free tools

Via Lifehacker:
A few months back Lifehacker started a section titled "Hive Five" that answers the most frequently asked question: "What's the best tool for the job?" The top tools are chosen by the users and here they present the best of the best from 26 different categories. Many, if not all, of the tools are free. Here is their best of the best.

Factors that improve online experiences

Factors that improve online experiences: This report outlines key findings from surveys that explored factors that drive online experience as expressed by the three different subject groups – nonprofit organizations and cities, web designers and firms, and the general public. The survey’s major findings are listed.

The meaning of citations

Or, "the meaning of citations: what Garfield said he means in a bunch of articles vs. what people say he means and even worse what people do with his work" Christina Pikas:

As for the symbolic nature of citations - this goes to the heart of using citations to map knowledge. What can we say about paper A because it cites B, or about A and C if they both cite B? Citations as indicators that provide a formal representation of science - Wouters Reflexive Citation Theory. But look, we don't know why the citation was useful to the author - maybe the context is, "what an idiot Pikas is, see for example Pikas (2008)." So according to the author, Wouter's theory can't handle that.

On SOPAC, Change and Mr. John Blyberg

3 Unique Search Engines of the Future

The internet is a whole lot of nothing without a search engine or two. While the staying power of search engines has never been in question, it's been interesting to see how they've evolved to the point of replacing the address bar.

With more information being published on the internet and different filters for interpreting this information being created, here's a look at readwriteweb.com's picks of unique search engines that are making headlines and changing the way we search.

The Hyperlinked Society :: Google, Links, and Popularity versus Authority

"The Hyperlinked Society: Questioning Connections in the Digital Age", just published, contains a chapter by Seth Finkelstein on "Google, Links, and Popularity versus Authority"

The entire book is on-line, and linkable, so you can read and link to it.

FAQ Check

"On the Media" on NPR has this story:

FAQ Check

We've all become semi-experts in using search engines and search terms to get the information on the web. But how easy is it to ask a question in normal language and get the right answer? Several new services are trying to do just that. OTM producer Mark Phillips set out to get some answers.

Story here

Cuil: A New Search Engine Launches

While it may seem odd to note today compared to perhaps 1996 or 1997, a new search engine launched today. Cuil is a search engine focusing more on analyzing text relevance over ranking pages as might Google. Reactions seen on Twitter today were mixed such as those heard from Chad Haefele, Karin Dalziel, and Engadget's soon to be Editor-at-Large Ryan Block. CNET's Rafe Needleman wrote at his WebWare site about the launch and how it was not the best. Needleman's post showed screenshots of strange results returned by Cuil. Dalziel also linked to a screenshot she posted on Flickr. Have you tried Cuil today? What is your reaction to the launch of this new search engine?

BiblioCommons Emerges: “Revolutionary” Social Discovery System for Libraries

Over at Library Journal Norman Oder Covers The Launch of BilbioCommons, a new social discovery system for libraries that replaces all user-facing OPAC functionality, allowing for faceted searching and easier user commenting and tagging, has gone live in Oakville, ON, a city of 160,000 outside Toronto. It is expected to be used by public libraries serving more than half of Canada’s population—and some libraries in the United States, too. “This is revolutionary, as far as I’m concerned,” Gail Richardson, Oakville PL’s acting director of online services, told LJ. “People don’t want a library that acts like just a glorified card catalog online. They want a catalog that’s as good as Google and Amazon.”

If You Have a Problem, Ask Everyone

John Davis, a chemist in Bloomington, Ill., knows about concrete. For example, he knows that if you keep concrete vibrating it won’t set up before you can use it. It will still pour like a liquid.

Now he has applied that knowledge to a seemingly unrelated problem thousands of miles away. He figured out that devices that keep concrete vibrating can be adapted to keep oil in Alaskan storage tanks from freezing. The Oil Spill Recovery Institute of Cordova, Alaska, paid him $20,000 for his idea.

The chemist and the institute came together through InnoCentive, a company that links organizations (seekers) with problems (challenges) to people all over the world (solvers) who win cash prizes for resolving them. The company gets a posting fee and, if the problem is solved, a “finders fee” equal to about 40 percent of the prize.

Full article in the NYT

Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship

You need special access to read Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship, but the intro looks good:

Online journals promise to serve more information to more dispersed audiences and are more efficiently searched and recalled. But because they are used differently than print—scientists and scholars tend to search electronically and follow hyperlinks rather than browse or peruse—electronically available journals may portend an ironic change for science. Using a database of 34 million articles, their citations (1945 to 2005), and online availability (1998 to 2005), I show that as more journal issues came online, the articles referenced tended to be more recent, fewer journals and articles were cited, and more of those citations were to fewer journals and articles. The forced browsing of print archives may have stretched scientists and scholars to anchor findings deeply into past and present scholarship. Searching online is more efficient and following hyperlinks quickly puts researchers in touch with prevailing opinion, but this may accelerate consensus and narrow the range of findings and ideas built upon.

Das Wikipedia - Online Encyclopedia Will Go Into Print

According to Bertelsmann Lexicon, there are reasons why people will want to see a print version of the German Wikipedia. Guardian UK reports.

With a price tag of €19.95 , €1 from every Wikipedia Lexikon sold will be given to the German chapter of Wikimedia, the non-profit group behind Wikipedia, for the use of its name.

The publication reverses the industry trend towards the internet and away from traditional print. Publishers of the Wikipedia Lexikon insist it is too soon to say farewell to the book format.

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of

100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of: Beyond Google, Wikipedia and other generic reference sites, the Internet boasts a multitude of search engines, dictionaries, reference desks and databases that have organized and archived information for quick and easy searches. In this list, we’ve compiled just 100 of our favorites, for teachers, students, hypochondriacs, procrastinators, bookworms, sports nuts and more.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Information Retrieval