NewsLink — Issue 68/June 2005
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IN THIS ISSUE
2) ITI SNAP POLL
3) NEWSLINK MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT
5) FEATURED ARTICLES
6) CONFERENCE CONNECTION
Welcome to the June 2005 issue of NewsLink, Information Today, Inc.'s FREE e-mail newsletter for library and information professionals.
May was a big month for us. Three of our spring events, Enterprise Search Summit, WebSearch University, and Streaming Media East all kicked off on May 17 at the Hilton New York. All three conferences enjoyed a significant increase in attendance, and many of the leading companies in the search and digital media industries exhibited for our attendees. Thanks to everyone who helped to make these events a success.
Today is the first
day of our Paris conferences, e-Collaboration in the Workplace and WebSearch
Academy. IT professionals from all over the world are learning what
it takes to increase the information ROI within their organizations.
For those of us who cannot be there, the conference Web site (www.infotoday.com/Paris)
has information including the event programs.
If you have any comments or suggestions on any special content you would like to see covered or on how to improve this newsletter and the information held in it, please let us know at email@example.com.
2) ITI SNAP POLL
Do you think the Google Print project of digitizing collections of leading research libraries will change the future of library services, possibly replacing brick-and-mortar libraries? Yes? No? Please comment at http://www.infotoday.com/
3) NEWSLINK MONTHLY SPOTLIGHT
Beyond Keyword Search
by Paula J. Hane
Two weeks ago, I was at the Enterprise Search Summit (ESS) in New York. Along with several hundred participants, I was immersed in discussions of findability, taxonomies, metadata, and contextual navigation. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about the roles of context and content classification (either pre-assigned or done on the fly) in the user’s ability to pinpoint needed information. We’re starting to see some interesting applications that are taking search beyond the realm of keyword searching emerge. And, this is happening in both enterprise search solutions and in Web search engines.
A number of the speakers at ESS stated that search needs to be more than a box into which the user types words. It’s abundantly clear that users struggle with formulating queries, and studies show that most users (except information professionals, of course) don’t take advantage of the advanced search features offered by search engines. So, the technology needs to guide users down the right path.
Web search is beginning to explore ways to provide context or classification options that can aid a user’s quest for answers. Just last week, Ask Jeeves introduced Zoom, its next-generation concept navigation tool that offers users suggestions to narrow and refine a search ("zooming in") or expand a search ("zooming out"). It can also identify specific names related to a search. Zoom uses the clustering ability of the company’s Teoma search technology, which breaks the Web into naturally occurring topic communities. Once users are guided to the right topical community, precision increases dramatically. Users can also benefit from seeing relationships and exploring related topics.
Other search engines offer clustering of search results—users can choose a folder or subset of information as a way to narrow the laundry list of results. Vivisimo offers this in its enterprise search tools as well as its Clusty.com Web search service. Vivisimo does on-the-fly categorization and says its folders present the information landscape. Moving among folders provides an easy way for users to navigate. The Northern Light search engine has provided a similar folder approach to search results for years.
Some of the new visualization technologies provide a graphical way to work with results. Groxis, Inc., a small company that pioneered visualization software, recently teamed up with Yahoo! to offer a free, Web-based, ad-supported version of its search technology (see the NewsBreak at http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb050516-2.shtml). Grokker organizes and provides a visual map of search results, making it easy to discover, explore, and organize the information. The maps use size, shape, color, and order to present information in a dynamic contextual setting.
Another contextual navigation approach to finding relevant information can be seen at some of the e-commerce sites that let users pick from menus to narrow a search. As industry expert Stephen Arnold explained at ESS, the basic principle is "Don’t type, pick."
A site like Wine.com is a good example of this, as shown at ESS by consultant Tom Reamy. A user shopping for a bottle of wine chooses from menus with attributes that are important, such as type (white, red, bubbly), region (California, Australia, France), price ($25 and below, $25-$50), and even special options like "top-rated" (wines under $20) or "top sellers." Another example is an e-commerce site like Nordstrom.com. The menus of choices make it easy to zero in on the attributes of importance, such as color, size, price, or brand.
These attributes or metadata are also known as "facets." These sites are using what is known as "faceted navigation"—a topic I heard quite a bit about at ESS. Mike Moran, a speaker from IBM, talked about how the company is using the multifaceted search capabilities of Endeca to power ibm.com. Users shopping for a notebook computer are shown facets to narrow their choices. Offering the new search technology has significantly increased the success rate of users finding what they want on the site and, more importantly, increased actual purchases. The company is also using faceted navigation for content drilldown for documents and expects to use it for additional applications.
Reamy also mentioned the Flamenco search project of Marti Hearst of the School of Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley (http://bailando.sims.berkeley.edu/flamenco-interface.html). Flamenco stands for FLexible information Access using MEtadata in Novel COmbinations. According to information on the site: "The interface uses hierarchical faceted metadata in a manner that allows users to both refine and expand the current query, while maintaining a consistent representation of the collection’s structure. This use of metadata is integrated with free-text search, allowing the user to follow links, then add search terms, then follow more links, without interrupting the interaction flow." One prototype project provides access to a large collection of architecture images from the UC Berkeley Architecture Visual Resources Library. Facets include periods, concepts, locations, materials, styles, etc.
The ultimate goal of all these approaches is to help users navigate through massive amounts of information without feeling lost or frustrated. And, with innovations from researchers like Hearst and from companies like Endeca, Siderean, Inxight, Verity, and others, we can look forward to great advances in findability.
Paula J. Hane is Information Today,
Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks. Her e-mail address is
For a complete listing of previous NewsBreaks visit the Information Today, Inc. Web site at http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks.
NewsBreaks for Monday, May 31, 2005
Ask Jeeves Hopes to Zoom Ahead
The top Web search engines keep rolling out new features and options designed to attract and retain searchers. Many have introduced new personalization and local search options, smart/direct search responses (weather, movie times, airline flight information, etc.), and other bells and whistles. But Ask Jeeves, usually seen as an also-ran to Google and Yahoo!, has just introduced some core search innovations that it says will significantly improve the relevance and speed of users' searches. The two new search products on Ask Jeeves (http://www.ask.com) are Zoom, a next-generation related-search tool that gives users suggestions to narrow or expand their searches, and Web Answers, which provides direct answers harvested in real time from the Web pages in the Ask Jeeves index. With the backing of its new parent (IAC/InterActiveCorp) and its differentiated technologies (including natural language processing and the Teoma search engine), Ask Jeeves says it's ready to take on the competition.
Google Library Project Hit by
Copyright Challenge from University Presses
Some might say it had to happen. Extending the Google Print program to the digitization of five of the world's largest university research libraries, including copyrighted as well as non-copyrighted material, would inevitably seem to lead to a challenge of copyright violation. Oddly enough, the challenge has come from the less commercial publishers—the nonprofit university presses. On May 20, Peter Givler, executive director of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP; http://www.aaupnet.org), an organization with 125 member publishers, sent a letter to Alexander Macgillivray, Google's house counsel for intellectual property. The letter challenged Google to defend its position on what would appear on the surface as a massive copyright violation and infringement on publishers' rights and revenues. However, in researching this story, the issue of author copyrights has emerged as a possible major factor.
If SLA Is in Toronto, Can the
Bloggers Be Far Behind?
This year, SLA (Special Libraries Association) heads to Toronto, Canada, for its annual conference—and several Information Today, Inc. editors and writers will be there, ready to enjoy the city and blog the conference for the second year in a row. The official dates are June 5-8, 2005, but the Board of Directors holds meetings both before and after the main conference and tours are available on June 9. The Live from Toronto blog (http://www.infotodayblog.com) will cover as many aspects of the conference as the blogger can handle, including association business meetings, conference sessions, the exhibit floor, and social events. Plus, we'll have backup from some editors not in Canada.
NewsBreaks Weekly News Digest
OCLC Improves Digital Collection
Library of Congress Joins Internet2
Microsoft Introduces MSN Desktop
5) FEATURED ARTICLES
For full-text coverage of the following articles please use the hotlinks provided.
What’s one of the biggest challenges
in protecting customer information today? According to security experts,
it’s the expanding knowledge of criminals who are trying to get information.
A few years ago, a company’s biggest worry was a hacker trying to crack
into its systems. Today, the biggest threats for companies and consumers
are the new crimes with funny-looking names: phishing, pharming, and spim.
To find information inside a printed
book, people traditionally rely on an index or, for a few works, a concordance.
With the advent of e-books, however, people could search the entire text,
assuming they bought the e-book. Although a growing number of copyright-free
books are now on the Web, those still under copyright remained unsearchable—until
COMPUTERS IN LIBRARIES
Collecting personal identity information
about customers is a dangerous activity for a library. We should be careful
to engage in it only when absolutely necessary. Until now, proof of identity
has always been an essential form of collateral to protect a library and
its possessions. But soon libraries will be able to protect themselves
from many legal snafus by opting to let patrons remain anonymous. How?
You have to realize that personal information is not the only form of collateral—you
can use cash instead. For instance, did you know that you can rent an audio book
at any Cracker Barrel restaurant without showing identification? Just pay
the price of the audiobook with cash, listen to it, and then return it
with a receipt. They'll give your deposit back in cash, minus the rental
fee. We librarians can improve on this service model by eliminating the
We conducted an informal study among
information consultants on what makes this field a happy, productive career
choice. In particular, we focused on the relationships between information
consultants and their clients. Among information consultants, conversations
about "what makes us successful" are frequent, and it seems we share a
set of approaches and behaviors that contribute to a productive relationship
with appreciative clients. But what are the key elements that make for
a business relationship in which we, the consultants, take satisfaction
in a professional job well done and they, our clients, feel they receive
true value for money?
It was not that long ago when PC
users were pleading for decent consumer desktop search tools—software that
provides a way to search your hard drive the same way you do the Internet.
But with the exception of a few companies, nobody seemed to be heeding
the call, not even the big names in Internet search: Google, MSN, and Yahoo!.
Then suddenly last summer, that all changed, starting with Copernic’s release
of a free desktop search tool. By the end of last year in flurry of releases,
the big three followed with branded offerings. Others, including AOL and
Ask, released tools as well. Some developed their own, while others purchased
a solution or licensed one from another vendor. But in the course of a
few months, we went from a sparsely populated desktop search marketplace
to one crowded with solutions.
Fully one-third of us don't deal
with technology well, according to the research of psychology professor,
author, and pundit Larry Rosen. He is the Paul Revere of the Information
Age, warning us about the principal downside of silicon and software, which
you or I just might experience one of these days. In a word, he says, it's
6) CONFERENCE CONNECTION
Get the latest event information available for the library and information fields in the Conference Connection. The Conference Report/Update gives you an inside look at the most recent information industry events, while the Conference Calendar is updated monthly to provide you with important contact information for up-and-coming industry events.
Live from Toronto: Information
Today's SLA 2005 Blog
WebSearch University Opens in
June 1-2 COLLABORATION
IN THE E-WORKPLACE: Strategies, Technologies, People & Culture CNIT,
Paris—La Défense, France
June 1-2 WEBSEARCH
ACADEMY: Mastering Internet Research CNIT, Paris—La Défense, France
June 3-5 BOOK EXPO
AMERICA, New York, NY
June 4-9 SPECIAL
LIBRARIES CONFERENCE, Toronto, Canada
June 23-29 AMERICAN
LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, Chicago, IL
June 27-30 NATIONAL
EDUCATIONAL COMPUTING CONFERENCE, Philadelphia, PA
For the complete
Conference Calendar visit http://www.infotoday.com/calendar.shtml
Yahoo! to the Max: An Extreme Searcher Guide
By Randolph Hock
"A comprehensive and readable guide to Yahoo! by one of the world's savviest online searchers."— Chris Sherman, Associate Editor, Search Engine Watch, and author, Google Power
With its many and diverse features, it's not easy for any individual to keep up with all that Yahoo! has to offer. Fortunately, Randolph (Ran) Hock has created a reader-friendly guide to his favorite Yahoo! tools for online research, communication, investment, e-commerce, and a range of other useful activities. In Yahoo! to the Max, Ran provides background, content knowledge, techniques, and tips designed to help Web users take advantage of many of Yahoo!'s most valuable offerings - from its portal features, to Yahoo! Groups, to unique tools some users have yet to discover. Of course, Yahoo! is not going to sit still, and neither is Ran Hock: As with all Extreme Searcher guides, the author's regularly updated Web page helps readers stay current on the new and improved Yahoo! features he recommends.
"We review many new publications, good and not so good, but we know straight away that if it's a Ran Hock title then it's going to be great." — William Hann, Managing Editor, FreePint
June 2005/272 pp/softbound
To purchase this title, please go
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