Archive for March, 2012


[ Note: This article was first published in the Deep Web Technologies Blog. ]

Here’s a paper worth reading: “A study of the information search behaviour of the millennial generation.” No, not because there are any earth-shattering conclusions, but you may want to read the article to confirm that what you already suspect to be true really is true. Here’s the introduction from the paper’s abstract:

Introduction. Members of the millennial generation (born after 1982) have come of age in a society infused with technology and information. It is unclear how they determine the validity of information gathered, or whether or not validity is even a concern. Previous information search models based on mediated searches with different age groups may not adequately describe the search behaviours of this generation.

Here’s the conclusion:

Conclusions. These findings indicate that the search behaviour of millennial generation searchers may be problematic. Existing search models are appropriate; it is the execution of the model by the searcher within the context of the search environment that is at issue.

Beyond telling us what we already know the paper gives insights as to how librarians can help students to become more sophisticated researchers. Areas in which librarians can add value include:

  1. Verification of quality of Web information sources
  2. A shift of focus from filtering content to first verifying its quality and then filtering
  3. Developing an orderly methodology for performing research

The paper might provide insights that search engine developers could someday roll into their offerings targeted at students.


[Editor's Note: I received this email from Azhar Jassal at I like what he's up to so I thought I'd give him a plug by republishing his letter, with Azhar's permission.]


I wanted to make you aware of a new search engine that I have spent the last 15 months building:

This is a new breed of search engine, it is a “structured search” engine. This type of search engine queries both the document web and the semantic web harmoniously. I have developed a simple query language that allows a user to intertwine between both of these worlds.

The purpose of is to complete a users overall information retrieval task in as short time as possible by providing the most informative entity centric result. This is accomplished by either accepting an unstructured query (just how mainstream search engines are used) and applying conceptual awareness or by making structured queries, something all current mainstream search engines are incapable of doing (as they only concern themselves with the document web/ not the semantic web), which in my opinion adds a whole new dimension to information retrieval systems.

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Carl Grant recently published an article, Are librarians choosing to disappear from the information & knowledge delivery process?, at the CARE Affiliates Blog. It reads in part:

As librarians, we frequently strive to connect users to information as seamlessly as possible. A group of librarians said to me recently: “As librarian intermediation becomes less visible to our users/members, it seems less likely it is that our work will be recognized. How do we keep from becoming victims of our own success?”

This is certainly not an uncommon question or concern. As our library collections have become virtual and as we increasingly stop housing the collections we offer, there is a tendency to see us as intermediaries serving as little more than pipelines to our members. We have to think about where we’re adding value to that information so that when delivered to the user/member that value is recognized. Then we need to make that value part of our brand. Otherwise, as stated by this concern, librarians become invisible and that seems to be an almost assured way to make sure our funding does the same. As evidenced by this recently updated chart on the Association of Research Libraries website, this seems to be the track we are on currently:

The chart is not pretty if you’re a librarian trying to justify your existence. But, on a positive note, after you’ve gotten past the depressing chart Carl Grant lists seven suggestions for products the library world should be providing to patrons.

I recommend this article as a sobering read with a positive spin.


[ This article was originally published in the Deep Web Technologies Blog. ]

The highly regarded Charleston Advisor, known for its “Critical reviews of Web products for Information Professionals,” has given Deep Web Technologies 4 3/8 of 5 possible stars for its Explorit federated search product. The individual scores forming the composite were:

  • Content: 4 1/2 stars
  • User Interface/Searchability: 4 1/2 stars
  • Pricing: 4 1/2 stars
  • Contract Options: 4 stars

The scores were assigned by two reviewers who played a key role in bringing Explorit to Stanford University:

  • Grace Baysinger, Head Librarian and Bibliographer at the Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library at Stanford University
  • Tom Cramer, Chief Technology Strategist at Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources

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