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September 19, 2007

RSS Basic

Searching blogs is a great way to find information, especially about stocks. Blogs are the hottest way right now for people to publicly publish their opinions and ideas. Therefore by searching blogs, I am able to find many peoples ideas about a certain stock and their reasons for liking or hating it. Many of these blog search engines allow me to quickly add the feeds to my bloglines, which is a great feature for convenience and acceptance of these new tools. I also like how the search results are similar to Google, especially Google's own blog search (never would have figured that). Lastly, while not only providing me with the actual blog post, lower in the result it provides me with the site that the post was on. This allows me to go to the general blog site, which I might find more articles that I enjoy.

I find the most interesting tools being Google Blog Search, Yahoo Pipes, and the bloglines tool bar. The Google Blog Search is great since it allows me to accomplish my goal above, which is to easily locate information and opinions. It allows me to search new and old blogs to find relevant information.

The Yahoo pipes feature has to be the best thing I have ever seen. It allows me to easily manipulate RSS feeds to my needs. Since the interface is graphical it allows even the non tech computer user the ability to use this feature. Their videos also help the novice computer user even more. I used this feature to filter out results from the Wall Street Journal feed for Google news results. I first added the URL for the feed, then added a filter for only permitting Google in the title bar. Lastly, I added the output interface and published my results. Then I easily clicked add to my bloglines and it immediately worked. Now I can add news from multiple sources and filter for the same Google news; therefore providing me news for google from different sources all in one place, saving me time. Lastly, I liked the usability of the bloglines tool bar. Sometimes when I am just searching the internet, and not looking for blogs, I find a blog I like. By having a button to quickly add the site, it saves me the time of finding the exact feed link (which is usually very hard to do).

Posted by diamantj at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2007

Deep Web Search Engines

After using all of these different search engines, I was able to see how important a search engine can make; especially when trying to find deep web content like journal articles. I started by searching for [timber industry California] and compared yahoo and google results. Pretty much these two sites are identical with results and features. Google and Yahoo both provided searchers with local timber businesses in the area along with the search results. I think this was important since it allowed users to call local companies that are part of the timber industry in order to find out more first hand information. Therefore, I feel like its pointless to compare these two engines and its more of a preference on which format you prefer. Additionally, I searched on Yahoo Directory which provided me with categories that might relate to my search. This allowed me to narrow my search results to specific organizations, blogs, etc. I found this to be helpful since if I was looking for timber organizations, I was able to find them extremely fast after clicking the categories button. Generally I found all of my results from these three engines pretty good, but they did not provide me any journal articles or expert documents on this subject. The searches only resulted with articles that were posted on public websites (aka no deep web content). Obviously this was expected since these engines don't attempt to include those results. Therefore, I moved on to Scirus, Google Scholar, UM Library’s Search Tools, and CompletePlanet.

After looking through all of these results, I found a big difference in their usefulness. CompletePlanet was the worst since it did no provide me with any results. In this day and age, I feel like this is unacceptable so I crossed off CompletePlanet.

Google Scholar was also pretty bad since it provided a limited number of results and quality articles. This is most likely because of their limited databases that the engine searches. I was disappointed since I love Google products, but it explains why they still classify it as beta since it does not stand up to the google standard. I hope they improve this product in the future.

Scirus was the best free article search that I found. It found many results from different areas but I noticed mostly that the articles were related to public events about the timber industry. I did not notice many academic studies on the timber industry.

Obviously, the University Library search was the best since it is a search of paid databases. It provided me with many articles about the timber industry and studies about it. I was also confident in the authenticity of these documents because the databases were paid for.

In conclusion, I feel like it is best for web searchers to start with Google to find background data and research for the topic at hand. Then I think you should move on to Scirus and the UM Library Search since these provided the best and most diverse results, even when compared to each other. I hope more deep search engines come around in the near future, but I feel like the royalties for these databases will prohibit public release.

Posted by diamantj at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2007

What do you want to get out of this class?

Even though I think I am a very experienced computer user, I always think there is more to learn. This is why I wanted to take this class. Time is a very limited resource, especially in the work environment. If I am able to find information that much faster than my competition, I will have that much more of an edge. This makes me that much more of an asset to the company that I decide to work for.

With that being said, I want this course to open my eyes to new methods of organizing and finding information. Currently when I search on the internet, I come up with search terms on my own and then modify them as I make more specific searches. Today in class, Dr. Moore showed us different search engines that show popular categories that are related to our search terms. This one feature can allow anyone to save that one extra search, which can be an hour of saved time.

I was skeptical on how much I would actually take away from this course, but after today I am convinced I will be able to learn enough information in this class to significantly improve my searching ability. Additionally, I believe my searches will include more information that I might have missed in the past.

I expect this course to change the way I search from here on out.

Posted by diamantj at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)