Lorcan Dempsey is Vice President and Chief Strategist for OCLC and he publishes a popular blog covering many items of interest to the library community. Lorcan has a couple of interesting recent articles:
Lorcan provides a thorough review of Cambridge University’s Science@Cambridge science portal. I won’t regurgitate what Lorcan wrote. I do want to add that what struck me as innovative about the Cambridge portal was its focus on providing access to content and to services in an integrated fashion. I’ve written about the value of enhancing federated search by providing contextual information and I’m happy to see Cambridge University wholeheartedly embracing this idea.
The portal includes these components:
- The ability to drill down to particular subject areas
- Subject-specific federated search pages that access Scopus and CrossSearch
- A page of links to databases, full text archives and other resources for each subject area
- A search engine for Cambridge University journals, by subject area
- A search engine for Cambridge University books
- Detailed context sensitive information for libraries related to each subject area
- Online chat with librarians
- RSS feeds to news articles
- Other useful links, by subject
I reported briefly in May how Cambridge University acquired federated search software and now we all get to see how they’ve built onto it. I’m very impressed at how Cambridge University has packed a wealth of useful services into a well thought out portal that is very friendly to students. I think the Cambridge portal will serve as a model for sophisticated yet simple search portals for some time to come.
Lorcan takes a look at O’Reilly’s 2007 book, “Programming Collective Intelligence: Building Smart Web 2.0 Applications,” by Toby Segaran.
This fascinating book demonstrates how you can build web applications to mine the enormous amount of data created by people on the Internet. With the sophisticated algorithms in this book, you can write smart programs to access interesting datasets from other web sites, collect data from users of your own applications, and analyze and understand the data once you’ve found it.
I can’t speak to the contents of the book as I don’t own it, but O’Reilly is sending me a review copy so I will follow up with more information and my impressions.
Lorcan writes about the book’s focus on building Web 2.0 applications. My interest is in its relevance to the future of federated search. While the book is not directly related to federated search, it does speak to the growing science, tools, and technologies for mining content on the web in such a way as to get actionable information. I believe that what federated search does today is necessary but not sufficient in our changing world.
Thanks, Lorcan, for these two particularly interesting articles.