This panel had a whopping 5 presenters in 60 minutes. Wow!
Ran Hock: Many real-time search engines cease to exist just as quickly as they were created. Bing Social Search is an interesting experiment with real-time search. Google has several real-time projects in its databases. Google wild card words lets you search for words within phrases. You can use an asterisk as a placeholder for an unknown or variable word. You can use multiple asterisks in one search as well. Google does some really good stuff with automatic stemming and synonyms. But sometimes those terms are unrelated to your goal. To get just price as in “gary price” add a plus sign à +price (just price, no stemming). You can also precede a word with a tilde to get more synonyms. Google Books full text indexing of the Full View Books is great. There is a “read on your device” link that provides a mobile-friendly version of the books. Google Language Tools, like Search Across Languages, Translate Text, Translate a Web Page, and the Google interface in over 120 languages. Google has calculators and controls. Ask sometimes works.
Gary Price: Web Cite lets you take any URL, add it to the service, and it creates a permanent archive to the page. *nice!* One of the great tools for PCs is called Website Watcher. This lets you see any webpage on any website and tracks every single miniscule change. Change Detection lets you track changes too (and works on Macs) but only checks once a day. Fuse Labs is a Microsoft labs service. Microsoft Academic provides a lot of scholarly information you can’t find elsewhere. Not only do you get a citation, but you get links to others who are citing that paper as well. (pretty sweet) Pinboard has been referred to as “del.icio.us on steroids.” You can bookmark and tag things, but also have it automatically bookmark and tag anything you Tweet with a link in it. There’s a mobile version too. Journal TOCS comes from the UK and is a service that provides tables of contents for free, focusing on open access publications primarily right now. Topsy is one real-time search company that is doing well – creates an archive of Tweets. The archive goes back 3 or 4 years right now. Three more: BASE, Issue Map, and Many Eyes (no time to describe, but go look at them!)
Marcy Phelps: Marcy discussed adding value to your search results. Her presentation is at http://PhelpsRsearch.com/cil2011. In an age of diminishing resources, researchers need to surface their value and think: can you be replaced? What can we do that Google, Watson, and other search tools cannot? Information professionals are uniquely qualified to add the kind of analysis that adds value. We can make comparisons, look at patterns, chunk content together, prove or disprove hypotheses, and answer that bottom-line question: so what? We have to listen to our customers. What would be valuable to them? Would it help to have this in a certain format? Once we ask those questions we need to shut up and listen. We can create research products that are helpful for others, like Issues Tracker or Know Before You Go. Here’s how to add value. Add a table of contents. Add an executive summary (one page, bulleted). Add a cover memo listing the purpose of the report, methods used, and any issues raised. Then in 25 words or less report your findings. Add quick article summaries to the report. Add meaning to boring numbers – add charts and infographics. Building a dashboard with some pretty charts – just do it in Word. Try different views of information. Don’t give interview by interview summaries, summarize all the answers to one question in one spot. You can also add a matrix of data, a timeline, whatever makes sense for what you’re presenting. Also, use specialized tools to help you do your work. Use Google Trends, pre-formatted profiles, data mining, and fee-based sources that can get you analyzed data immediately. Consider new formats – try PowerPoint, an in-person or phone presentation, or create a video. Finally, create your value-added toolbox…use Word Styles, a chart gallery, templates, and with your branding.
Natasha Bergson-Michelson: Her job day and night is to teach people how to search. She talked about simple tricks like doing filetype searches in Google. These types of tips are awesome, but our users don’t remember them. She says someone recommended the following to her: imagine your perfect source before you start searching. So she started teaching this method to her students. The first part is that if you’re using a search engine, imagine the answer and not the question. Use the search terms and phrases that would appear in the answer. This is the big thing…just stop to think before searching. Use quotation marks for phrase searching as well. You can search for dates in Google too – e.g. “1995..2010” the .. looks for every number within the range (nice!). She gave a great tip for finding books by color – do a Google Image search for the topic or title of the books, e.g. “Rosa Parks” and then go into the lower left corner and limit by color (pink) and then voila, you get possibly relevant book covers.
Tamas Doskocz: What is semantic search? A search, a question, or an action that produces meaningful results even when the retrieved items contain none of the query terms or the search involves no query text at all. Semantic search is “what is possible with today’s technologies for search.” Google recipes search is one example of an attempt at this. Link people, algorithms, the social web, information, machine understandable and processable forms, etc. There are a number of semantic search engines that focus on different disciplines. These specialized engines do a better job with that type of data. An example might be HealthMash, a system driven by consumer health knowledge bases and performs semantic searches quite successfully.