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Saturday, April 30, 2005

 
Ariadne Issue 43 has now been published. The link goes to my column on search engines, and which one to choose in which situation, but there's lots of other good stuff there as well.

Friday, April 29, 2005

 
According to National Statistics Online 52% of households in the UK could access the internet in the last quarter of 2004, up from 9% 6 years ago. There are lots of other useful facts there; if you're running courses or writing articles talking about the growth of the internet, this is an excellent resource to use.
 
Well, other people are referring to this article:Dean's Notes: BLOG: see also Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish, so I may as well too. It's written by Blaise Cronin, the Jeremy Irons of the Library World. I met him once; nice guy. It was in the very early days of email, and my organisation had just got it, and he sent himself a message saying 'Well here we are and isn't it fun?' (make of that what you will). He does admit that some weblogs are 'highly professional, reliable and informative', but then in his last two paragraphs goes on to trash the vast majority of weblogs. The guy has a point - lots of them are pretty dire, though I think 'sententious drivel' is a bit harsh. He goes on to say that 'such crassly egotistical behaviour ... [has] no place in cyberspace.

This is where I'd disagree with him. The great thing about the web is that there's infinate space for people to be, or do what they want. If people want to write their journals or thoughts or jottings, why shouldn't they? Most people are not professional writers; that's not what it's about. It's about the freedom of expression, and if it makes people happy to 'expose their unremarkable opinions' and 'unedifying private lives' who is he, or anyone else, to criticise? For many, writing a blog is a hobby - we don't go around telling amateur paintings that they shouldn't paint because they're not at the standard of Constable.

It's difficult enough to get the point across to information professionals that weblogs can be an extremely useful way of providing information, or that they're a useful business tool and so on, and articles of this nature make the job that much harder. I really wish that he'd written a more considered and balanced article, rather than a quick piece with lots of inflammatory sound bites; he's done a disservice to himself and everyone else who decides to express themselves, even 'hapless souls'.

Of course, the irony of the whole thing is that without weblogs, I wouldn't have found the article in the first place.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

 
All 4 One MetaSearchis a new multi search engine, gathering data from 8 different search engines (though not including Google). It has a nice grouping feature to focus more closely on the subjects that interest you. Very clean and clear interface.
 
The Google Search: liar has been googlebombed. Last time it was the Deputy Prime Minister, this time it's Tony. Useful example on training courses I suspect - I know that I'll be using it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

 
CILIP (Chartered Institute of Information & Library Professionals) now provides an RSS feed
 
Nice short article from Guardian Unlimited on the interest in tracing family history. Won't tell anyone who knows about the subject much, but there are a few nice links there.
 
Yahoo! Search - Web Search has been improved to allow users to save entire web pages, and you can run searches on those pages as well. It's very similar to the Google offering, but in my opinion both have come late to the game, since I'm still going to be using FURL for this service, which also has the extra flexibility of providing me with RSS feeds.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

 
7 Tips for Generating Effective Web Content is short, concise and to the point. Worth looking at if you're thinking of beefing up your content.

Monday, April 25, 2005

 
If you are a web author and are using Google AdsenseAdMoolah will provide you with a good indication as to the amount of money you should be earning.
 
If you want to read some articles about weblogs, take a look at: A Weblog Webliography There are lots of very interesting articles here, covering background, basics, weblog use in education and business and a whole lot more. An excellent resource.
 
I just stumbled over Boldchat which is a free chat based system. If you're interested in adding a chat facility to your website (for free!), this one looks pretty good.

Friday, April 22, 2005

 
UK laws are failing to deter spam Depressing, but I can't say that I'm particularly surprised.
 
blogwithoutalibrary.net has a nice listing of libraries that have weblogs - public, academic, school, special etc. If you're thinking of starting one, this list may be able to give you some inspiration.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

 
Incoming Links Development Guide and Directory is a good listing of specialised directories that are happy to accept a listing for your website. Good if you're just starting to produce a website and want to get noticed, or to increase traffic to an existing site.
 
Common medical abbreviations is basically a web page giving common medical abbreviations. Fancy that!
 
Google has now added "My Search History" as an option. This doesn't surprise me at all; the only thing that does is the time that they've taken to offer this service, and the fact that they've launched it so quietly. In order to use it, you must have an account (such as a gmail account) with them. You simply sign in with it and start to use Google. (Note that it doesn't appear to work with the UK version, just the .com version at the moment). Not only is it useful for users, it ties them more closely to the search engine (which is not always a good idea in my opinion), but it's a logical step to take. Of course it also means that you can view your search history on any computer, not just the one you happen to be using.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

 
Further to my post yesterday regarding Google local, check outGoogle Maps. It's very impressive, and one of the best mapping services that I've seen, and comes complete with directions from one place to another. It's just taken over as my preferred method of finding my way from A to B

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 
Yahoo! News Home Page now has a beta version (the link takes you there). I like the tabbing, but I'm not impressed with their choice of news. If you just read that, you wouldn't know that there's an election taking place in the UK.
 
If you don't know Who Should You Vote For? in the upcoming British General Election this site asks 23 questions, and you just tick your answers. You can then see which party (Labour, Tory, LibDem, UKIP or Green) most closely matches what you've said.
 
Google Local arrives in the UK. Nice clear interface, with two element What (eg pizza) and location. When you've searched you get the details on the left and a nifty little map on the right. Excellent!

Monday, April 18, 2005

 
The BBC are now offering a 'What happened on this date' service. It's a fun way to start off a training session, and is just jolly interesting. It mostly seems to be recent material (apparently nothing happened on this day prior to WWII), but I'll watch with interest.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

 
SRC - Search Result Clustering Toolbar in Microsoft Research Asia is clustering search engine. Looks pretty good - it only searches MSN, which given where it's from isn't exactly a surprise. If you've got a term that is ambigious (Phil Bradley the internet consultant, baseball player, senator or porn star?) it's worth trying out.
 
In the blogwithoutalibrary there are some interesting figures on how many libraries are blogging. The answer seems to be 245, with 107 being academic, 86 public libraries, 12 school libraries and so on. This is of course an incomplete list - there must be more, surely? If you are a library, and you do blog, check out the link, and if you're not included, get yourself on the list!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

 
The Register is reporting that Google UK will 'go local' later on this year, allowing us to experience some of the search delights of our American cousins.

Monday, April 11, 2005

 
Interesting new study showing how people view Google search results. A New F-Word for Google Search Results says that 100% of searchers will look at the top three results, down to 20% for the 10th hit. Sponsored listings are almost ignored. There's also a screen shot of what they've found. Interesting reading.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

 
Excellent collection of resources from Robin Good's Latest News that lists free photographs and visuals sites for adding a bit of sparkle to your page. Thanks to the Librarian in Black for pointing this one out.
 
This is interesting if you're into design and promotion of websites. There's a village in England that has two websites: A Guide to Lyneham Bradenstoke Wiltshire & Beyond and A Guide to Lyneham, Wiltshire & Beyond (TM). They're having a row. A big row in fact, and the police are involved and it's been reported in The Guardian. I'm not particularly interested in the rights and wrongs, but it's interesting to compare two sites trying to do very similar things in quite different styles. If you're into web design, or you teach it, it's worth taking a look at both of them.
 
The latest issue (49) of Info@UK is now available.

Friday, April 08, 2005

 
The ever useful and informative Mary Ellen Bates on why she likes Firefox.
 
There's a mention in the Google Blog that they are now providing a Q&A service. You type your query into the search box, and if there's a direct answer, Google provides it. It's strong on celebrities, countries, planets, elements, electronics, and movies. Thanks to Gary on this one.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

 
FreePint Newsletter 180 - Business Information Trends Always a useful read.
 
Cliche Finder is a search engine that finds cliches for you. Very amusing. Valuable for research/reference - that's perhaps another matter!
 
A very useful list of things to check when evaluating web resources from BIOME. A great listing if you're teaching a critical and analytical approach to using the web.
 
Yes, it's that time again. A general election. To get information on the physical layout of different constituencies go to Election-maps.co.uk Unfortunately, it does just appear to be maps, rather than any more detailed information, but it's clear and easy to use.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

 
The UK School Library Association has unveiled its weekend course for the 17th - 19th of June. I'm running a session on the 17th on 'Information Literacy and the Internet' - search faster, search better.
 
From Blogging Business there's a link to several weblogs from teachers, mostly in the US, but one in the UK. They are a mixed bag - some are basically notes to students on what they need to remember to bring to school, another is a blog by someone who happens to be a teacher, and another is a blog about teaching by a teacher. None of them are using blogs for educational purposes as far as I could tell, and it would be really interesting to see this happening. If you know of any, or you're a teacher who blogs, please let me know - leave a comment by clicking on the date stamp below this entry.
 
Newly updated list of search engines designed for children from SearchEngineWatch.
 
Meta Book Search is a simple to use multi search engine that hunts through several dozen second hand book sites and pulls out books based on title/ISBN or author search. I'm not sure that I dare use it!
 
YaGoohoo!gle is a resource that allows you to view results from Yahoo and Google side by side. It's a good idea, and I might well use it, but because of the ways in which both engines present data it takes some getting used to, and it makes you go a little bit dizzy after a while.

Monday, April 04, 2005

 
PookMail.com is a clever idea. Just choose a name @pookmail, log on, wait while the email comes through, and after 24 hours the account is deleted.
 
MammothSearch.com - The Little Search Engine That Could! is a new meta/multi search engine that's just been pointed out to me.
 
Search eBay with Snapsearch. This allows you to run complicated eBay searches, including the opportunity to search by site, location and currency. I've tried it and it works. If you're an eBay addict, it's worth trying out.
 
The Google Tutor Search Manual has been expanded. It's a good tool for trainers who want to teach users about searching Google.
 
Search Engine Detective is a nifty tool from Pandia and it allows you to search for the best search engine oriented sites, blogs and forums on the web.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

 
BananaSlug is a search engine that searches for your terms and then adds another one at random from a collection of different subjects (such as animals, emotions, jargon words etc). The idea behind it is that it will pull out terms from deeper within Google results, showing you stuff that you might not otherwise have seen.

Friday, April 01, 2005

 
A new British based search engine called SearchMe4 has just been launched. It lists over 2 million UK businesses.
 
Tony Blair has been Googlebombed in the UK version of the search engine. Follow the link for the search. Google Search: liar This is a followup to the Deputy Prime Minister being Googlebombed with another choice phrase.
 
An interesting idea from the Google people; a new product called Google Gulp which is a range of specialised soft drinks. The most interesting thing is the FAQ however, since it provides an amusing but valuable sidelight onto some of the other things happening at Google.

However, I don't think any Cola manufacturers have much to worry about, given that today is April 1st.