Thursday Threads: History and How-To of Search, DPLA Update, Searching for Jim Gray

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Ahhhh — with the annual meeting of the American Library Association out of the way and two major holidays (Canada Day and U.S. Independence Day) behind us, the summer can now start. My formal vacation comes next month, and I haven’t yet decided what to do with DLTJ Thursday Threads during that week. While I sort that out, take a look at this weeks threads: a book chapter describing the history and how-to of web search, pointers to a textual and video update on the DPLA project, and an article that examines the efforts to rescue noted computer science professor Jim Gray.

Thursday Threads: Amazon Pressures Publishers, Academic Spam, Mechanical Turk Spam, Multispectral Imaging

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With the close of the year approaching, this issue marks the 14th week of DLTJ Thursday Threads. This issue has a publisher’s view of Amazon’s strong-arm tactics in book pricing, research into the possibility that academic authors could game Google Scholar with spam, demonstrations of how Amazon’s Mechanical Turk drives down the cost of enlisting humans to overwhelm anti-spam systems, and a story of multispectral imaging adding information in the process of digital preservation.

As the new year approaches, I wish you the best professionally and personally.

Books After Amazon

Three New Search Services: Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft Bing, Google Squared

It has been a wild few weeks in search engines — or search-engine-like services. We’ve seen the introduction of no fewer than three high-profile tools … Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft Bing, and Google Squared … each with their own strengths and needing their own techniques — or, at least, their own distinct frame of reference — in order to maximize their usefulness. This post describes these three services, what their generally good for, and how to use them. We’ll also do a couple of sample searches to show how each is useful in its own way.

Some Navel-Gazing: A Meta-Post about DLTJ

I usually don’t post about the act of blogging itself (I wonder how many middle-aged blogs have a similar post), but the confluence of a couple of things caused me to look at DLTJ with a critical and curious eye. The first was the work by David Pattern in Measuring the emotional content of librar* blogs. The second was a post by Leslie Carr on the effect of Google users in finding information.

ANEW Categorization

Graphic showing the ANEW quadrants

Figure 1. Graphic showing the ANEW quadrants.

Seeking Details About Mystery Discovery Layer Company

There is a message floating around the net with a link to a survey about “a completely new online resource discovery service.” There is no identifying information information on the survey; obviously the entity that commissioned it wants to remain private. I, however, want to know who this organization is. (I have some questions to ask.) Think of it as a game — a treasure hunt of sorts. Speculations welcome, either publicly in the comments or privately.

The message going around says:

Subject: REMINDER: Take a library survey – you may earn a $100 Amazon voucher

Test Driving Lumifi

Earlier this week, Lumifi Inc. announced a new version of their research platform “to better serve students, professionals and others in dealing with information overload.” Lumifi is a private corporation based in Maryland, and this is their second major release of their service. (The first was announced in January 2008.) I didn’t see the first interface so I can’t compare it to the earlier effort, but on the whole I am unimpressed. There may be some new magic happening behind the scenes here, but it is hidden in an awful interface that is very difficult to get past.

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…