Phil Bradley's Blog

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Friday, November 25, 2005

As you know by now, I'm moving my weblog across to: Phil Bradley's weblog at Typepad. Latest entries there cover:

New FreePint Newsletter now out
New IRN issue available
Fly with Google
Who's afraid of Google? Everyone
Finding people

and a few others besides.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Gnosh is a new multi search engine which looks very promising. More information on it over at my new weblog.

Another reminder... this weblog is on its way out. I'll be adding less and less here, and more at In order to avoid these irritating little reminders, cut this weblog from your aggregator and move to the new one! Thanks.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I'm going to be talking at the Association of UK Media Librarians on December 7th on the topic of weblogs. You're invited to attend; registration is at 6.30 and it is taking place at LexisNexis, 35 Chancery Lane. If you're not a member the cost is 5. If you're interested in coming along, please email Mary Cameron at cameron_mary at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I've been playing around with the new application from Google - their analytics application. I've found it very useful, and there's a full write up over on the new weblog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

mightyv: Welcome Ah, now this is a useful site! It allows you to see what's on television. There are a number of sites that do that, but the reason that I like this one is because you have a wide variety of channels, and you can personalise the thing. You can also search for particular programmes as well. And it's free. Worth taking a look, if for no other reason than you can see what you're missing while you're online.

Google Analytics is another interesting new feature from Google. It seems to be a statistics and tracking package (free) that allows you to see which keywords perform on your site, and which ones don't. The idea is that it allows you to focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliver ROI. In order to use it you need to sign up, paste some code on your site and sit back and check the results. I've added it to a couple of pages on my site and I'll report back with more information when I've got it.

Google Base has now gone live. You can post adverts, information, recipes, reviews, course descriptions - almost anything that you want as long as it conforms to their policies. I'm not going to go into detail yet, simply because I've not had a chance to play with it, but if you follow the link you can read the Google FAQ for the service, and see some screen shots that might ground the concept a little bit more.

Found this site thanks to the ALA TechSource weblog. It's a blog subtitled 'monthly news and information programming from the Decatur campus library of Georgia Perimeter College' and shows what can be done when a library starts podcasting.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

UKeiG (aka UKOLUG) has added a swiki to their weblog. I mentioned swikis a couple of days ago - it's a combination of wiki and search engine. Try it out!

Don't forget that my weblog is moving! Please unsubscribe from this feed and move across to the weblog at Typepad called Phil Bradley's weblog. I'm mirroring my entries at the moment (except for these reminders) so do move over, since you'll be seeing these more often. Cheers!

PubSub Community Lists: The Librarian List Want to see other librarian weblogs? See who is doing what? Then this is the place to come. It's an excellent collection, based on a ranking system of links.

FreePint Newsletter 194 is now available. Covered in this issue is VOIP.

It's not exactly a secret that I adore Exalead. They are always coming up with good things that they slip into place. They have now introduced the ability to search within searches. Run a search and then scroll down. At the bottom of the left hand column is an option to modify your query (with a phonetic search for example), and you can also search within results as well. More good things are also promised in the near future, so watch this space!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Searching the Guardian. Friend and fellow information professional Ian Winship alerted me to this story in the Guardian written by Emily Bell, editor in chief. The take on the article is that the newspaper has now made it easier to search their site. No more "baroque syntax" that delivered poor results, apparently.

All well and good so far; I'm certainly in favour of making life easier for people. However (you knew that was coming didn't you?) I think they've made a total dogs dinner of the thing. If you follow the link, you get taken to the page where this story is discussed, and there's a little 'Search this site' box to the left. It's very small, so you can't see more than 11 or 12 characters in your search string, which is annoying. And there's a 'Go' button. That's it. It is only when I've actually hit the Go button and the search has been run that I'm presented with some filters, such as sections (with a useful indication of the # of hits it's true), and the option of choosing publication year. If I already know that I just want stories from the weekly supplements for 2003 I have to run the search to begin with. It would be really nice if I could actually type all that into the search box to begin with, but apparently this would be some of that 'baroque syntax' that they're trying to get rid of.

It also gets worse. No help screen means that I have to guess what I can do. Two words seems to do an AND search and the results are based on relevant results. However, doing a phil bradley search gives me results that do contain both words, but they are separated in the results that I looked at. The first reference to Phil Bradley with both words next to each other is result #24. I fail to see how that improves relevance.

It's true that I can do a phrase search with "..." but I have to guess that. But wait, it gets worse! Suppose I want to find references to Microsoft, but without reference to Google. Microsoft NOT google doesn't work. Neither does microsoft not google do anything. Microsoft -google doesn't do anything at all either. So I'm making the assumption (and I could be wrong) that there is no way that I can do a search that excludes other words. This is better searching? There are over 600,000 articles in their database and there isn't even a NOT option?

Thanks, but I think I'll stick to baroque syntax if it's all the same to you.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Swicki is a play on words, roughly speaking. It's a cross between wiki and search - hence swiki. OK, I'll explain more. A swiki allows you to create your own search engine that covers a subject that is of particular interest to you. The owner and visitors get to collaborate on what the swiki finds, to modify and focus it. There are a number of advantages to these beasties - they let you really start to dig through the net to find good quality information, and other users also assist in this process. In theory you might be able to make money from them as well.

We're starting to see these things roll out - the link goes to a really helpful article from Wendy Boswell at and she takes you through the process of creating one, which you could add to your website or to your weblog for example. She's using a utility from Eurekster that lets you create them. I'm betting that they're going to be the next interesting thing on the net, and I'm also involved in beta testing what is essentially another version, about which more in due course.

I think this is a natural development as we are all getting disenchanted with the results that the traditional engines are providing us with, so it's only logical that something is going to come along and fill that gap. It's another incarnation of where Web 2.0 is taking us, where people are taking control back from the large corporations and doing their own thing with the web.

Further to my posting of a couple of days ago, there's a lovely little addition on the Exalead home page. Run your cursor over the Exalead icon and you'll see exactly how to pronounce it. There's going to be a link to a page explaining in more detail; EXA=10 to the power of 18, and LEAD = guiding, thus helping people to find their way in the multitude.

I've previously mentioned that I was getting fed up with the Blogger software, so I've decided to move across to Typepad instead. It has lots of advantages, including a category approach, a nice quick post feature and a bunch of other stuff. I'm still going to keep this weblog going for a while, but there will be an increasing number of 'subscribe to the new version!' posts.

So, the new version is at: Phil Bradley's weblog Please unsubscribe from the Blogger version (the one you're looking at now) and subscribe to the Typepad version (which the link goes to).

Wikidweb Wikidweb (Wiki Directory of the WEB, or Wiki'd Web) is a free, open, instant internet directory. Here you can add a link to any site or page (but preferably sites that aren't already well known), review other pages, and edit entry descriptions. Optionally, you can create an account (which can still be anonymous, if you'd like) to get added functionality, such as "my watchlist", "my contributions" and customizing your interface.

Item from the Boston Herald says that Amazon is going to sell individual book pages. Customers will be able to buy a portion of a book, or even just one page for online viewing. This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. I wonder how long it will be before they take another step down the route and become a publisher themselves by letting you upload your own content and buy it via their existing interface.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Official Google Blog: Preserving public domain books Google has added in a bunch of out of copyright books to its print search service. The link goes to their blog, which explains it all.

My 'I want to' webpage has proved to be so popular that I've been updating it a lot in the last few days. I thought a sensible approach would be to make life easier for everyone, so I've got a new weblog called, no surprise: I want to. I've created categories that mirror the web page and listed all of the resources there, almost in a database fashion.

So, if you liked the 'I want to...' page, do feel free to subscribe to the new weblog, and I'll do my best to keep you up to date on these new utilities as I find them.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A very nice short and concise article on evaluating search tools from my favourite librarian in black.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Item from the BBC - apparently Google is coming to the UK. They're opening in office in Manchester; they don't say when, but I would expect it to be quite soon, given that they've announced it.

Following on from the sale of Jux2 the UK based search engine eBay: UKWizz is up for sale. Starting price is $15,000 dollars, with 8 days to go and no bids yet. The sale includes just about everything, including hardware.

Mozbot is a search engine that's built on top of Google. It's got some nice features that I like, such as suggestions, a definition option, related words, thumbnails (off by default), Information on the site owner, an add to favourites option, exclude this site from future searches, send by email, history (page in the Google cache, or at the Wayback machine), similar pages and statistics on the number of times the search term has been requested at Mozbot during the previous month.

If you're bored with the usual Google interface, this is worth trying. Thanks to Chris Sherman for this one.

As a follow up on my quest for British librarians who are blogging I've identified just over 20. As a first step in bringing us all together I've set up a Google Group to share ideas, thoughts, opinions and just as a way to meet. Google seem a bit freaked that I've created the group and sent out a whole 22 invitations, so they're not releasing the invitations until they've checked it out. While I understand the reasoning behind this, I'm slightly less than impressed. It's not as if I've actually joined people automatically (I can understand why they'd want to look into that), but an invitation is just that - an invitation. I could also understand it if I'd invited hundreds of people - but *22* ?? It's a shame that they've not put as much work into ensuring that people can't create spam weblogs.

However, if you're interested in joining, why not nip along to the group and join directly? It's not a commitment to do anything (though I hope that you'd like to participate), but I hope the group is going to develop into a useful resource.