Sunday, March 29, 2009
Michael Stephens is one of my favourite librarians. One of the most enjoyable things is the memories of how libraries affect a person's memories and shape a person's life. This is a very honest, intimate discussion of Stephens' love of libraries. He's coming to Vancouver for the upcoming British Columbia Library Association 2009 conference. I'm looking forward to it.
Monday, March 23, 2009
And thus is the profession of librarianship. Perhaps we will be known by another title, another name, as some of us already are known as metadata managers, taxonomists, information architects, and knowledge managers. Library schools have evolved into I-Schools. Who knows, LIS might evolve the point where it not longer is recognizable to us -- as the apothecary is no longer recognizable to the pharmacist. But the art of searching, sharing knowledge, collecting, organizing, and disseminating information in whatever shape and form they may be, will never change. And hence, whatever we may become, we will never change.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Search algorithms today are largely based on a common paradigm: link
analysis. But they've ignored a mother lode of data: The network.
Nicely said. Although there are a multitude of variations of search algorithms, architectures and tweaks, search technology has been based largely on three canonical approaches. In a nutshell, here they are:
1) Human-powered directories - Hierarchically organized into taxonomies (e.g. Yahoo!)
2) Crawler-based index - Generates results largely prioritized by link analysis. (e.g. Google)
3) Collaborative tagging - Users tag pages with keywords so that future searchers can find
However, these three options still fail to prevent click fraud and also content unreacheable in the Deep Web. Weinman proposes the Network Service Providers as a fourth option, which uses data and metadata associated with the actual network transport of Web content—including HTML pages, documents, spreadsheets, almost anything —to replace and/or augment traditional Web crawlers, improve the relevance and currency of search results ranking, and reduce click fraud. A network service provider could better determine aggregate surfing behavior and hold times at sites or pages, in a way sensitive to the peculiarities of browser preferences and regardless of whether a search engine is used.
Weinman's proposal is an interesting deviation to the thoughts of Semantic Web enthusiasts. It does throw a quirk into the speculation of the future of Web search technology. And so the search continues . . .
Monday, March 09, 2009
What is interesting is that Yandex's search algorithm is rooted in the highly inflected and very peculiar Russian language. Words can take on some 20 different endings to indicate their relationship to one another. Like the many other non-English languages, this inflection makes the language of Russian precise, but makes search extremely difficult. Google fetches the exact word combination you enter into the search bar, leaving out the slightly different forms that mean similar things. However, Yandex is unique in that it does catch the inflection. Fortune has written an interesting article on Yandex, and my favourite part is its examination into the unique features of this Russian search giant:
While some of its services are similar to offerings available in the U.S. (blog rankings, online banking), it also has developed some applications that only Russians can enjoy, such as an image search engine that eliminates repeated images, a portrait filter that ferrets out faces in an image search, and a real-time traffic report that taps into users' roving cellphone signals to monitor how quickly people are moving through crowded roads in more than a dozen Russian cities.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
considering how best to build websites we’d recommend you throw out the Photoshop and embrace Domain Driven Design and the Linked Data approach every time. Even if you never intend to publish RDF it just works. The longer term aim of this work is to not only expose BBC data but to ensure that it is contextually linked to the wider web.