internet librarian 05: expert panel on searching

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This is a two-part session, so it will go for nearly two hours. We'll see how long I last. But I feel some sense of obligation to go to the search-related sessions so that I can go back and ask MSR or MSN to reimburse me for the extra day here that the conference organizers didn't cover (I get two nights in the hotel as a speaker, but if I'd only stayed for that I would have missed a lot of the most interesting search presentations on either Monday or Wednesday).

Genie Tyburski starts out by talking about "setting limits" on time, sources, email, etc...makes me wonder if this is going to be somewhat like a "lifehacking for librarians" session. (If not, that would be a great session for a future IL panel, I think. Jane, you reading this? What do you think? :) She says email is unreliable, unproductive, and distracting. (Well, you could say the same thing about people, couldn't you?) She talks about disposable addresses for logging into websites (I prefer the BugMeNot approach, when possible). Yes, this is sounding a lot like a lifehacker kind of talk. Not sure I'm going to get a lot out of it, since I'm already a faithful reader of 43 Folders and Lifehacker, and a recent convert to the GTD approach. She pushes RSS, but I see this as a false dichotomy. It's not an alternative to email, unless most of your email comes from distribution lists. RSS is great for one-to-many, but lousy for one-to-one or many-to-many.

She talks about a tool called "WebSite-Watcher," which she runs as a desktop application to monitor websites for changes. (Ah, shades of the infamous Winer-Watcher...) I'd prefer to lean on publishers to provide RSS rather than using this approach (I assume this is basically screen-scraping to generate the equivalent of RSS updates). Also mentions one called TrackEngine--she describes it as a similar approach, but a quick look at their site makes me wonder. They describe themselves as an "active bookmark manager"--will have to spend a little time with it to see what it involves.

Next up is Gary Price, from and Can't read the stuff on his screen, but it's online. He reminds us of how few people have actually hear of RSS--the Yahoo survey said 12%. Points out how important explaining and describing this to end users is. He talks about a couple of bookmarking/clipping sites: Furl, eClips, filangy (huh...haven't heard of this last one. worth exploring). He also demos Website-Watcher, and recommends it highly. My first impression is that it's so ugly--but clearly it has devoted users.

Whoa--he gives the first mention of MSN I've heard, and a plug for Nice to hear someone talk about a site other than Yahoo.

Shows, a metasearch engine for job sites--not just compilation sites, but also job postings on corporate sites--here's a search for Microsoft jobs in Redmond. Points out that monitoring job openings can give you insight into what companies are up to.

Recommends Whois Source for good domain name searching/monitoring. Provides some nice tools; will have to start using this one.

Shows a couple of useful special-purpose research and news sites:
* Diplomacy Monitor for government documents from all over the world
* Paper Chase for legal documents
* iHealth beat for health technology
* SmartBrief: targeted newsfeeds on industry topics (subscription required, but it's free)
* he calls this his service of the year for 2005, the best news service he knows of--better than Yahoo or Google
* awful search, but great sources and topic organization

He's reeling off more stuff, but I'm burning out here. :/ Think I'm going to skip out on the last section, which is Steven Cohen's riff on RSS, followed by Q&A. I need the mental break more than I need more links...

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on October 24, 2005 4:06 PM.

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