Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, search engines and their development. These are my personal views and not those of CILIP or any other organisation I may be associated with.
wectar - most popular bookmarks on delicious aggregator. This resource is very simple and straightforward - it lists the most popular bookmarks in delicious over specific time periods - 4 hours, a day, a week, a month and a year. It provides details on the number of times a site is bookmarked, the name of the site and other similar or related sites. There's a checking option as well - type in the name of the specific page you're interested in, and Wectar will try and find other related pages. Very nice resource - my only real gripes are that there's a lot of repetition of the same site mainly because people have bookmarked slightly different versions so the results are not terribly accurate, and unless the title is descriptive it's necessary to visit the site to see what it's all about, which isn't helpful. Otherwise, it's a really nice idea!
Own Mine is a meta search engine that uses GYMA to pull in results. They can either be seen individually or in combination. There is also a chat box that searchers can use to chat to others who are doing similar searches. The demo was a bit weird - it showed someone doing a search for a university, and it just so happened that another user of the engine was from the very same university. Chummy doing the search leaps into the chat box and asks for the best links to said university. To be honest - if I'm busy doing a search, I'm busy doing a search, and I'm not really that interested in stopping what I'm doing to help some random person on the way. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but that's just the way it is.
Second oddity about this engine is that it has some sort of really odd 'incentive scheme'. If you make the engine your home page, visit a certain amount of times, and/or introduce friends, you can get 'shares'. Are these real shares? Can you do anything with them? Are they worth anything? I have absolutely no clue and Own Mine isn't telling me either.
Nothing wrong with it as an engine I suppose - it does the same as plenty of others out there, but the live chat option really doesn't do it for me and the 'incentive scheme' just asks more questions than it answers.
I have updated my I want to: Web 2.0 applications, utilities and resources resource to add in all the new applications and resources that I've found. The list is now in excess (just!) of 1,000 applications. They are classified and annotated in 21 major categories and over 90 sub categories. All the links have been checked and dead resources marked or removed. The categories include: Collaboration tools Communication resources Discovery resources Email Images Mobile resources Multimedia Photographs RSS Searching the Internet Shopping Start pages Storage resources Time management Training/Teaching applications Webpage resources Websites Wikis Web 2.0 directories.
It is of course not a complete list - that's not possible, but it should provide you with at least one (if not several) application that helps you do whatever you need. Not something I ask very often, but if you find it useful, please link to the page http://www.philb.com/iwantto.htm with the link 'List of Web 2.0 resources' and/or digg it, add it to delicious or any other bookmarking resources you use - there are buttons at the top of the page. If you find it useful you might also want to subscribe to my sister weblog of Web 2.0 resources, in which I try and keep people up to date with new things that I find.
VADLO is a search engine caters to
all branches of life sciences. VADLO allows users to search within
five categories: Protocols, Online Tools, Seminars, Databases and Software. I did try and take a look at it, but the subject matter it so beyond my level of understanding I can't really say anything useful about it. I'd be grateful for comments from anyone who can provide a sensible view of it - I couldn't even understand the cartoons!
I'm usually fairly cynical with new applications, but there are always exceptions, and boy have I ever found one here! It's called ShoutEm and it's a resource that you can use to create your own microblogging resource - your own private Twitter in other words.
It's very simple to create a site; just follow through the templates, decide what you want to call it, colours and so on - or just accept one of the defaults and ShoutEm creates it for you. No technical knowledge required. The home page looks instantly recognisable if you're used to using a microblogging system - I've included a snippet below:
However, there are a few differences that you can see at once. I can embed photographs directly into posts, I can link directly to other resources such as YouTube, and play the video directly from the site.
It also has support for geo location sharing and mobile browser support (coming shortly apparently). You can do all the stuff that you'd expect, such as send @messages and direct messages. This is the free version, but they're also creating a commercial version that allows you to have your own adverts (adverts on free versions are down the right hand side of the screen as you'd expect).
There are a huge number of ways that I think this could be used. Immediately spring to mind creating one for a conference - this is going to clear a lot of conference tweets off people's main screens and will allow people to really focus just on the conference itself. Link into photographs, resources really easily. How about training courses? Create one for a training course and allow people to Shoutem during it to ask questions, share resources and experiences. Or subject areas, where librarians from similar specialities can get together to share information. How about parties? I have to say that I'm really quite interested in this one and I think it's going to be a real keeper.
If you want to explore, try out my InternetSearch Shoutem at http://internetsearch.shoutem.com/ and you should be able to take a peek. It's still in closed testing, but I believe that you should be able to register and then post to it. Any problems, send me an email and I can send you an invite to mine, though I don't have any invites to give out to let you create your own I'm afraid.
For a people based search engine, Yasni isn't that bad. Regular readers will know that I'm not a great fan of these creations, mainly because they don't tend to work so well. This one did seem to do rather better than most however.
It's mainly US based, but has options for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. When you run a search you have an opportunity to 'claim your name' - or at least the name you're searching for, which is good for ego searchers. The default search results are 'All' but it's possible, using a tab based system to limit to Private, Business, News, Other web pages, or Comments. Results can be sorted by date or relevance.
Search results are pulled from places such as Wikipedia, Amazon - both wish lists and publications, LinkedIn, NamesDatabase, MySpace, Friendster, Jigsaw, Vox, jobster, IMDb, Google news and blogsearch, Bloglines, Find a grave and web results. It will also try and find images for you as well. There's a nice refine feature in case you're getting too many results or there are too many people with the same name.
Two nice features are that if they can't find the person you're interested in they'll do a detailed search and send the results by email. This looks like a free service. They also have the 'search agent' which notifies you of new search results for the name of choice within 24 hours and then a weekly notification.
All told - I liked it. Easy to use, worked well, nice functionality. Worth a look!
You may well ask 'what was searchmash then?' Which is a very good question. It was a Google search engine that they ran quietly in the background as an unbranded engine that they could use for testing purposes. Lots of search engines have them; the vile MsDewey being another example. All that's left of the engine now is a brief statement: "searchmash has gone the way of the dinosaur". This won't make the headlines or be of any great interest, but since I did take people there on courses it'll leave a small questionmark behind as to the whys and wherefores.
. This is a bit of an oddity. Way back in April, Microsoft launched a thing called 'SearchTogether' which is a way that people can collaborate using a resource that looks remarkably like MSN Messenger (which already has a shared search option in it). There was a little bit of a flurry of interest - but not a great deal. Then all of a sudden, the New York Times publishes Novelties - The Online Search Party - A Way to Share the Load I have to admit that even I winced at the 'Novelties' aspect of the thing.
Apart from the date aspect, there are a few things about this resource which are *so* Microsoft they're painful. Firstly it's a download. Now, I really don't downloads very much these days - since I'm bouncing around between desktops and laptop and mobile what do I want to fuss around with downloading software for anyway? Secondly it's a plugin for IE, and IE7 to be precise. So immediately we're into the proprietary territory which doesn't impress me either. Third is the choice of search engine. Surprisingly, we're not limited to Live, but we can use Yahoo! or Google. But what amused me here is that the wording is "choices include". So Microsoft is actually saying that they're limiting my options, rather than simply saying 'use whatever engine you want'. And if I can't actually do that - why not?
Is it any wonder the MS is lagging so far behind in search?
This is getting funny now. No sooner did SearchWiki disappear as reported last night, it's come back. There's what I consider a really funny piece over at TechCrunch: Google SearchWiki Is Back. Here’s How To Kill It For Good They are particularly livid since the comments on their site are now advertising a sex site, with 'fave UK girls doing stuff you never see on tv' This is exactly what I predicted was going to happen, and clearly beyond the wit and wisdom of Google to work out. TechCrunch are pointing users towards a GreaseMonkey script that will opt you back out of it until Google provide an opt out button. I do think that TechCrunch are being a little hysterical though - talking about comments that now 'scar Google's once pristine search results page'. C'mon guys, you only get to see the comments if you choose to see them!
No sooner does the Google searchwiki arrive than it vanishes! According to Google: “We’re really sorry that people can’t use SearchWiki at the moment -
we’re working to fix the problem as quickly as we can. Please bear with
us.” Anyone opened a book on this yet?