Tag Archives: Search engines

Tech Sharecase, 8 December 2017

The theme for today’s Tech Sharecase was algorithms and the roles they play in our lives. We started off by watching a TED Talk video by MIT grad student, Joy Buolamwini, titled “How I’m Fighting Bias in Algorithms.”

The discussion among our twenty attendees touched on a number of topics:

If you’d like to learn more about algorithms, here is a list of references to articles, books, videos, and more.

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Encoding Race into Search Algorithms

Over on the blog I set up for students in my section of LIB 3040, I wrote a post about a recent study that suggests that racial stereotypes are encoded into the algorithm used to determine what ads to display alongside your search results in Google.

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Tech Sharecase, 9 September 2011

Attendees
Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Louise Klusek, Jin Ma, Mike Waldman, Kevin Wolff

Search Algorithms
We watched a video from Google about how they update the search algorithm every day based on data.
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We also discussed the way that Google’s business is so driven by data from all its services, a topic raised in Steven Levy’s recently published book, In the Plex. We considered how your location and who your online friends are can shape your search results, something that Eli Pariser gets at in the video from TED that we watched.
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New Library Website
We got a peek at an early working draft of the home page supplied by the developer based on the student input that was previously posted in the Idea Lab. Several more drafts are expected before the home page is put through rounds of usability testing with students. We talked about how a search box for a discovery layer from Summon might work on the home page.

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Google Search Stories

This afternoon, using the Google Search Stories service I spent all of 5 minutes putting together this video on open access. I’m wondering if there might be an interesting and fun classroom activity to do with students that has them using this service.

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Image of How Google Works

The PPC Blog recently offered up this informative image, Learn How Google Works: In Gory Detail.For some quick commentary on the infographic, check out Roy Tennant’s blog post over at Library Journal.

While investigating who was behind this blog (a company that offers training in search engine marketing), I learned that PPC stands for “pay per click” (the phrase is not new to me but the acronym was).

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Tech Sharecase, 21 May 2010

Attendees
Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Gerry Jiao, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Wilcina Longdon, Jin Ma, Kannan Mohan, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Mike Waldman

Database Trial Reviews
We discussed briefly the pros and cons of writing up reviews of database trials on the reference blog and the library’s internal mailing list.

Bike Route Maps and Directions
In celebration of Bike to Work day, we looked at a number of options for finding bike route maps and directions:
  • maps can be downloaded and added to Google Earth
  • missing some of the human element (insider knowledge about safest, easiest routes, etc.)

Call Numbers in Catalogs and Library Floorplans
We tried in vain to recall what library has a catalog that lets you click on a call number in the catalog to show you the location of that item on a floorplan. As we tried to remember which library has this feature in its catalog, we looked at the catalog from the library at the University of Huddersfield (UK), which offers on the item record a visual shelf browse feature, a QR code for the book (which probably leads to the permalink for the item), and circulation stats for that item (see for example this record for The Iliad of Homer).

OpenSciNY
At the recent OpenSciNY conference at the Bobst Library at NYU, a group of librarians, scientists, and publishers got together to talk about open access publishing, open source software, and opens notebook science. Among the more interesting things talked about were:
  • Flickr and Astrometry.net: amateur astronomers are uploading images they’ve taken with their telescopes to Flickr. One of the presenters at OpenSciNY, David Hogg, worked with some colleagues to put together a service that uses the Flickr API to identify any images that have been recently tagged with “astrometry.” Once tagged in this way, an image on Flickr will be analzyed by the Astrometry service and a comment appended to the image that details the celestial objects visible in the image (see this one from Flickr as an example)
  • ChemSpider: Antony Williams from the Royal Society of Chemistry talked about the problem of finding reliable and comprehensive information on chemical structures on the web. ChemSpider describes itself as a “chemistry search engine” that “has been built with the intention of aggregating and indexing chemical structures and their associated information into a single searchable repository and make it available to everybody, at no charge.”

Substitute for EtherPad
EtherPad, a recently shuttered free service that allowed for collaborative editing of documents, released its source code, thereby allowing a number of clone services to be created. One such service is Sync.in

Discovery Tools
We talked a while about the difference between discovery tools (like Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service) and federated search tools (like 360 Search, which we use for our own Bearcat Search). It was noted that with the new discovery tools, the thing that takes the longest to set up is getting your catalog records into the system. What makes a discovery tool different from a federated search one is:
  • With a discovery tool, you are searching one, centralized index of records that the vendor has assembled; with federated search, your query is being transmitted simultaneously to all the vendors that you can connected to your fed search tool. Search results are returned faster in discovery tools because of this difference.
  • The vendor of a discovery tool can normalize all the data stored in its index, making results more consistent (and helping to speed up the delivery of search results) and manipulable (the facetting of results works better in discovery tools).
We wondered if many faculty outside the library use Bearcat as a means to identifying databases that were previously unknown to them but might be useful for their research needs.

ERM System

We might have demos of two different ERM (electronic resource management) products this June.

Citation Management Tools

We wondered to what extent faculty and students are aware of and maybe use citation management options available to them:

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Murdoch may block Google searches

Here is a short BBC News article that may be of interest.

“He (Murdoch) believes that search engines cannot legally use headlines and paragraphs of news stories as search results.”

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Tech Sharecase, 9 July 2009

Attendees

Arthur Downing, Linda Rath, Stephen Francoeur, Rita Ormsby, Frank Donnelly, Louise Klusek

New Accounting Standards Codification

Rita Ormsby showed the various ways to access the new Accounting Standards Codification:

Google OS

Discussed the news about Google’s plan to release its own operating system next year. Louise Klusek noted this article from today’s Wall Street Journal that discussed Google’s strategy to compete with Microsoft.

Bing

We compared searches in Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, to those in Google and found some ways that it offered improved results for certain kinds of searches.

Compare “starbucks” in Bing to “starbucks” in Google, for example. Note that Bing automatically clusters results into topics in ways that may be useful (Google just offers a vanilla list of results).

FriendFeed

I discussed how I use FriendFeed to publish from all my web services that I use (Facebook, Twitter, blogs where I am an author, Flickr, YouTube, etc.) in one location that others can subscribe to and add comments. I highlighted the way that I use it for social recommendation of recent articles and blog posts and for submitting requests for help or advice to the librarians and others who subscribe to me in FriendFeed.

Harvard Business Review Curtailing Deep Linking to Articles in Business Source Premier

A number of blogs have commented lately on the Harvard Business School Press’ terms of service that forbid free linking to Harvard Business Review articles in Business Source Premier. It was suggested that maybe the journal may be thinking of moving its content exclusively to its own platform much as Institutional Investor did. We also discussed the way that most database vendors are trying to protect their brands by controlling the way that screenshots of their products are published (as in the case of a tutorial created by a library).

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Searching via Text to Find Data

Reading this recent interview with Tim Berners-Lee, I was struck by his elegant description of how linked data on the web and textual material on the web (web pages, documents, etc.) will relate to each other:

You’ve got search for text phrases on one side (which is a useful tool) and querying of the data on the other. I think that those things will connect together a lot.

So I think people will search using a search text engine, and find a webpage. On the front of the webpage they’ll find a link to some data, then they’ll browse with a data browser, then they’ll find a pattern which is really interesting, then they’ll make their data system go and find all the things which are like that pattern (which is actually doing a query, but they’ll not realize it), then they’ll be in data mode with tables and doing statistical analysis, and in that statistical analysis they’ll find an interesting object which has a home page, and they’ll click on that, and go to a homepage and be back on the Web again.

So the web of linked data and the web of documents actually connect in both directions, with links.

MacManus, Richard. “ReadWriteWeb Interview With Tim Berners-Lee, Part 2: Search Engines, User Interfaces for Data, Wolfram Alpha, And More…” ReadWriteWeb, 9 July 2009. Web. 9 July 2009.

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