Google Sets Its Sights On Hosting Knowledge

Google is typically known for its advertising, search engine, and news aggregation services. From Geoffrey Bilder on crosstech comes word of a new Google effort called “knol” that will “to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it.” Sound familiar? We typically call such a thing an “encyclopedia” and it is a new in-road into information hosting. Details are scarce beyond the posting by Udi Manber (VP Engineering at Google) linked above (which also says “The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing.”). But one of the key aspects known is that articles will come from signed authors (more like Citizendium than Wikipedia), not anonymous or pseudo-anonymous editors (“We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content.”). Here are some other key aspects extracted from the blog posting:

Results of JPEG2000 Activity in the Google Summer of Code 2007

Earlier this year I posted a summary of planned JPEG2000 activity in the Google Summer of Code. As you may recall, there were two project: one mentored by the Mozilla Foundation and another by FFmpeg. This post is a summary of the results of the efforts of the GSoC students.

JPEG2000 in Firefox


Ben Karel, a Computer Science undergraduate student at the University of Delaware, and I have been having a running e-mail conversation about his efforts to bring JPEG2000 to the Firefox browser. He has given me permission to summarize our conversation here.

Analysis of Google Scholar and Google Books

Two papers were published recently exploring the quality of Google Scholar and Google Books.


Google Scholar


Philipp Mayr and Anne-Kathrin Walter, both of GESIS / Social Science Information Center in Bonn, Germany, uploaded an article to arXiv called “An exploratory study of Google Scholar.” 1 Originally created as a presentation for a 2005 conference, it was updated in January 2007 to reflect new findings and published as a paper. Excerpts from the abstract include:
The study shows deficiencies in the coverage and up-to-dateness of the [Google Scholar] index. Furthermore, the study points up which web servers are the most important data providers for this search service and which information sources are highly represented. We can show that there is a relatively large gap in Google Scholar’s coverage of German literature as well as weaknesses in the accessibility of Open Access content. Major commercial academic publishers are currently the main data providers.

Data Visualization: Depth, Breadth, and Malleable

In case you haven’t run across Gapminder.org yet, I encourage you to carve out about 45 minutes of a day to do so. Even before going to the URL above, your first stop should be this 20 minute video by Hans Rosling — professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute — from a TEDtalk last year. 1

What Do DLTJ and BlogHer Have In Common? Only Google Knows

Web Pages Related to DLTJ.ORG
With idle curiosity, I was poking around with what Google knows about DLTJ. Perhaps the most interesting piece was the company Google thinks I keep (found via a related:dltj.org search). Now most of the links are quite appropriate (the Library and Information Technology Association and ALA TechSource for instance) and some I’m quite pleased to be associated with (Richard Akerman’s Science Library Pad blog and Walt Crawford’s Walt at Random blog).

The one that has me most confused, however, is the link to BlogHer (“Where the women bloggers are”). Now, I’m not saying that the link is entirely inappropriate — the library profession is one dominated by females — or that I’m not pleased to be associated with female bloggers…

JPEG2000 Activity in the Google Summer of Code

OhioLINK is not participating in the Google Summer of Code this year (too many other things going on for our staff to be effective mentors), which is why it is refreshing to see work on the wider adoption of JPEG2000 — one of our core goals — continue on other fronts. Among this year’s 900 projects accepted by mentors are two that involve J2K. All of this is welcome news, coming in the same month that Adobe is questioning the need for JPEG2000 support in Photoshop. My public gratitude goes out to Google for their third year of offering financial and logistical support to their Summer of Code program.

Scripted Searches for Java Code in Popular Source Code Search Engines

Sometimes the best way to solve a programming problem is to see how others have done the same thing. When that happens, having immediate access to the various search engines helps get you back on track quickly. Here are OpenSearch plug-ins (suitable for Firefox and MSIE7) that will search the Java code in five of the more popular source code search engines.

What a NASA/Google Mashup Might Mean for Libraries

Ron Murray (no relation) from the Library of Congress sent me this announcement about a joint NASA/Google partnership, which starts:

NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that formally establishes a relationship to work together on a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and massively distributed computing, to human-computer interfaces.

As the first in a series of joint collaborations, Google and Ames will focus on making the most useful of NASA’s information available on the Internet. Real-time weather visualization and forecasting, high-resolution 3-D maps of the moon and Mars, real-time tracking of the International Space Station and the space shuttle will be explored in the future.

Google Custom Search’s Planet Code4Lib as an OpenSearch Plugin

Earlier I mentioned creating a Google Custom Search for Planet Code4Lib. The Google-supplied markup puts a form on your web page that leads to Google’s server farm. (Alternatively, you can create a custom URL that points to an HTML page at Google which contains the form.) Well, that’s really neat, but not far enough. How about an OpenSearch plugin suitable for Firefox and MSIE7? Here is the plugin markup:

< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <opensearchdescription xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/" xmlns:moz="http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/">
   <shortname>Planet Code4Lib</shortname>
   <description>Search the bloggers of Planet Code4Lib using Google Custom Search.</description>
   <inputencoding>UTF-8</inputencoding>
   <tags>code4lib library</tags>
   <contact>peter@OhioLINK.edu</contact>
   <url type="text/html" template="http://www.google.com/cse?q={searchTerms}&amp;cx=017716194421589436379:zdoxzpetaxk&amp;sa=Search&amp;cof=FORID:0">
      <image height="16" width="16" type="image/png">
data:image/png;base64,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</image>
      <adultcontent>false</adultcontent>
      <moz :searchform>http://dltj.org/2006/10/google-custom-search-for-planet-code4lib/
   </moz></url>
</opensearchdescription>

Pretty neat, eh? This link will install the search definition in Firefox and MSIE7.

Is this going too far?


One can’t help but to wonder whether this violates the Google Custom Search Terms of Service. Here is a piece of 1.1 Description of Service.

Google Custom Search for Planet Code4Lib

I wanted to mess around with Google’s new Custom Search Engine feature and in casting about for a list of URLs to feed it I thought I’d try the list of blogs at Planet Code4Lib. As it turns out, this might be a modestly useful search if you remember reading something from one of the code4lib bloggers but can’t remember which one. The exercise was pretty fun and here is the result: