Wednesday, December 21, 2005

2005 Year End Google Zeitgeist

It turns out that looking at the aggregation of billions of search queries people type into Google reveals something about our curiosity, our thirst for news, and perhaps even our desires. Considering all that has occurred in 2005, we thought it would be interesting to study just a few of the significant events, and names that make this a memorable year. (We’ll leave it to the historians to determine which ones are lasting and which ephemeral.) We hope you enjoy this selective view of our collective year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

15 years of the World Wide Web

(CNN) -- Spark looks at the top 10 "Web moments" since the World Wide Web was born 15 years ago, and asks viewers to vote for the one they think had the most impact in the Web's history.

Google Launches Music Search

Google has introduced a new feature that provides information about music and musical artists in response to music related search queries. The new feature works directly from any Google web search form, and results are returned as "one box" results at the top of the search result page next to a musical notes icon. As with other types of "one box" results, which can be triggered when searching for news, products, images and so on, music results are displayed when Google determines that a query might be related to a band or artist name, a song name, album or song lyrics.

Read more about it here

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

RSS Toilet paper

A crazy new product out of Taiwan seems to be aimed at the feed dependent of us out there. The 'rsstroom reader' is a bathroom gadget that prints news feeds onto your T-P - that's right, your TOILET PAPER! The best part is the "biometrics" toilet seat that'll figure out who you are based on your weight and prints the news you want - not your roommates tabloid garbage. Going to the rsstroom will never be boring again!

1940s Photos from LOC

Very interesting collection of photos from the 1940s from the Library of Congress.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Google Transit Launched

Yet another iteration of Google Maps has launched and allows you to plan an itinerary using Google Maps. It even gives travel times.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Personal Media Barcode Solution

Media Collector makes organizing your media fast and easy with revolutionary AutoFill technology. One click provides you with detailed product information and artwork in an easy-to-use collection manager that makes it easy to browse, organize, and share your collections.

Media Collector utilizes barcode technology to its fullest potential to enable you to effortlessly organize, sort, search, browse, and share your media collections. Just like iTunes automatically enters information about your CDs, IntelliScanner barcode readers automatically locate the details you want with a simple scan.

Google Librarian is the ultimate guide to Google made especially for Librarians and information professionals. We understand that your quest for information is not limited to books, and extends to electronic media. Google Librarian was created to help you - the librarian - master the art of online searching and harness the infinite power of Google and its services. We provide you with tips, tricks, strategies, lesson plans, tutorials, and easy to understand explanations to make your Google experience the best. As an added bonus, we will also track Google development and keep you up-to-date with the latest Google innovations.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New OCLC report available

Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) summarizes findings of an international study on information-seeking habits and preferences.

The Perceptions report provides the findings and responses from the online survey in an effort to learn more about:

Library use
Awareness and use of library electronic resources
The Internet search engine, the library and the librarian
Free vs. for-fee information
The "Library" brand

The report is available here.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wikipedia in the news

Wikipedia has been getting alot of press lately. Several scandals have prompted Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to modify posting ground rules.

Here are links to some recent articles:

A false Wikipedia 'biography'
in USAToday

Adam Curry gets podbusted on cnet

Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar from the New York Time

Growing pains for Wikipedia on cnet

Friday, December 02, 2005

Contrasting Keynotes - Gorman again at odds with Tech Librarians

Jim Ashling
Ashling Consulting

Contrasting keynotes
There couldn’t have been a greater contrast between David Weinberger’s keynote address and one immediately following by ALA President, Michael Gorman. While Weinberger paced up and down the platform, gesturing and occasionally shouting in his enthusiasm for a new order (or rather, a lack of order), in another room, Gorman sat quietly at the desk, spoke calmly and deliberately, without a PowerPoint presentation, espousing his opinion that the function of the library remains the same as it always has: the preservation of human knowledge. In addition, to assist users find the information they want and, given the failure of the US education system, to look after the health of users’ literary skills.

Speaking purely personally and not on behalf of the ALA, Gorman said, “Digitisation, particularly Google Print is a mistake. It is a waste of money to digitise material that nobody uses.” Further, he does not like at all the idea that readers should be able dip into works that can only be fully understood when read completely and sequentially.

Gorman also criticised Google’s name change from Google Print to Google Book Search. He believes that library catalogs are perfectly adequate for book searches and Amazon is fine for book purchases.

The remainder of the panel, two librarians and a Google spokesman, didn’t share these views. Elisabeth Niggemann, die Deutsche Bibliothek is keen to grow the body of digital content whether by corporations or through government funding as exemplified by The European Library project. (More on the European Library will appear in the January Information Today International Column).

Glenda Myers from the University of Witwatersrand was generous, even overflowing, in her praise of Google, saying that in her remote and poorer part of the world, Google was opening access to literature that could never have been provided before.

Google’s John Lewis Needham pointed out three factors about Google that change everything to do with search that none of the earlier speakers had mentioned: the price (free), the speed (fast) and the age of the Google user and Google developer communities (20 to 30).

Looks to me that the score at the end of round one is: New Order 3, Tradition 1.

And from:
Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content

The emphasis on quick search and the retrieval of nuggets of information defies the thoughtful process of the scholarly tradition and libraries' role in preserving and providing access to the human record of recorded knowledge, he said.

With the emphasis on quick search, Gorman said, "We've gone from cataloging to this sort of reduction of full texts . . . and a new age of amateurism [blogs] . . . and a belief in the great myth that everything is available on the Internet and everyone can find what they want."

This, he said, creates a "perilous" environment for libraries, and even challenges the basis of our civilization by reverting to a pre-Gutenberg situation in which "everything is written on water, it just flows away."

What about Google's digitization of library collections?

"It's a huge misallocation of resources," he said. "There are lots of ways to find books, and digitizing whole texts is a waste of time. The chances of a snippet from a book showing up on the first screen of search results [as far as most users go] is fairly low. It would be better if Google would help solve the scholarly communication issue or fund the digitization of archives."