Information Retrieval

New York Times Will Now Give Away Web Access

The NYTimes, they are a-changin'.

In this article in today's paper, the New York Times is ending payment for the 'Times Select' program. They found that readers were accessing those articles via search engines, and have chosen instead to give free online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper's archives, with a few minor exceptions.

Eight steps to thriving on information overload

Eight steps to thriving on information overload: "There is no quick fix; enhancing our skills requires effort and is an ongoing process. Implementing the following principles can make a real difference to your effectiveness in dealing with the new reality of information overload..."
1. Set information objectives.
4. Filter aggressively.
8. Sleep on it!

Full-text Searching in Books

Scott Boren has a great look at electronic searching of the full-text of books. He covers Several Book Search Web Sites, Text Archives for older materials, Proprietary Book Search sites, some Smaller Collections, Google Book Search, some Emerging Projects, and some sites for Further Reading.

Electronic searching of the full-text of books goes beyond the index and table of contents to search for any and all text in one book or in many. A phrase, number, word, or any string of characters can be searched. A9 same book database as Amazon, Google Book Search, and Live Search Books can all Search Inside The Book, or search inside many books at once. The book search sites listed in this paper are available free of charge, with the exception of "Two Proprietary Book Search Products below." As Greg Notess pointed out at the Computers in Libraries conference on April 18, 2007 (hereafter Notess 2007, April), another use of book search is to verify citations and to find mentions of passages as when a patron brings a photocopied chapter and asks "What book does this come from? I need to find the source" Or when was a particular word, number, or phrase mentioned? (For early mentions of words, the Oxford English Dictionary is also good.) -- Read More

A Long Look @ Service Oriented Library Systems

Be sure to check out Eric Schnell's Service Oriented Library Systems series. In Part 4: Challenges he says if we step back and look at it, we have nobody to blame for outdated library information systems or our inability to more readily adopt SOA except for ourselves. We keep licensing these products at a time when the number alternative approaches available to libraries has never been greater.

In the last posting in these services he'll provide some closing remarks and observations.
Be sure to read all 3 posts so far:
Introduction
What We Have Today
Where Are We Heading?

Robots...The New Librarians

The LA Times reports: "It's not often that a librarian is warned to stay away from the bookshelves because of high voltage and that students aren't allowed to roam freely through the stacks - but it's becoming more common.

At Chicago State University only robots are allowed to browse most books and archives. Books are supplied with RFID chips, and to get a particular book, students and faculty must log onto the library's website from home or school and place an order for a title.

Once the order is received, the library's computer system directs a robotic crane - dubbed "Rover" by the librarians - to retrieve one of more than 6,300 bins. Each bin holds the equivalent of four bookshelves.

The crane then brings the bin to a workstation at the front of the warehouse, where a HUMAN BEING--a librarian--picks up the book.

Archival Environment, Part 3 The Metadata Dilemma

Archival Environment: The Metadata Dilemma: There is an apocryphal story about metadata and archive processing that illustrates the unique relationship of the two environments. It seems that once there was a government store of space exploration information. As rockets entered outer space, metrics (i.e., telemetry) were sent back to the ground and recorded. This telemetry information provided much interesting scientific information about space exploration and was of great value to the scientific community. Indeed, the government built an impressive archive of the telemetric data that had been captured. The archive had state-of-the-art archival technology. The archival storage was protected. The telemetry data was classified. The metrics were protected and stored in excruciating detail.

In order to make your archival data really useful, you need to know what the archival data means.

NYTimes Article on Video Search Engine

Paul Lewis writes "Articles discusses video site Blinkx.com blinkx.com which employs speech recognition technology to posted videos to enhance keyword searching capabilities for video content. They Say Blinkx's speech-recognition technology employs neural networks and machine learning using "hidden Markov models," a method of statistical analysis in which the hidden characteristics of a thing are guessed from what is known."

$5 million contract awarded to Amherst software firm

The Buffalo News has a piece on Janya, a local software company that designs programs to help computers "read" vast chunks of text has won a $5 million research contract from the Air Force Research Laboratories. "We pick up where search engines leave off," Srihari said.

First, the program converts documents into words. Then, it scans each word and determines - based on context and rules of grammar - whether it is a name, place or other entity and how each is connected.

Can subjects be relevancy ranked?

Over at LibraryThing Time Spallding wondered Can subjects be relevancy ranked?
Some ideas he considered:

  • Treating subjects as links, and running some sort of "page-rank" style connection algorithm against them. Maybe this would bring out coincidences that simple statistics misses.
  • Using other library data, such as LCC and Dewey. This would be reminiscent of how I made LibraryThing's LCSH/LCC/Dewey recommendations.
  • Doing statistics on other fields, such as the title. So, for example, there's probably a statistical correlation between "Man-woman relationships" and books with "dating," "men and women" and "proposal" in the title.

EBSCO Hands it to Me

WoodyE writes "A recent post at woodyevans.com about certain ill changes in EBSCO database inerfaces gets answered in fine form by Kate Hanson, Customer Account Specialist at EBSCO HQ. (Link to Story).
Lesson learned: EBSCO's foray into Google-fication is not so deep nor total as it may at first seem."

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