Tales from the Terminal Room
April 2011, Issue No. 96
Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.
Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is an electronic newsletter that includes reviews and comparisons of information sources; useful tools for managing information; technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications. Many of the articles will have already appeared on Karen Blakeman's Blog at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/
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In this issue:
You may have picked up the news that both Google and Bing have admitted to having whitelists of ‘nice' sites that manually override their search and ranking algorithms (Google, Bing Have White Lists Of Sites Not To Be Impacted By Algo Changes http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/110310-175043 and Google contradicts own counsel in face of antitrust probe http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/11/google_admits_search_algorithm_whitelists/).
No big surprises there, as many of us have suspected that this was the case for some time, but Google now also lets you set up your own naughty list and block selected sites from your search results. We've already been able to set up our own nice lists for about a year – Google SearchWiki replaced with starred results http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2010/03/12/google-searchwiki-replaced-with-starred-results/ - but Google has decided to quietly withdraw that feature (http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Web+Search/thread?tid=6c1a2d5cba2b4802&hl=en).
You first need to sign in to your Google account and then run your search as normal. When I first saw the block option, for each entry in the results list there was a ‘Block' option for the site. This now seems to have changed and you first have to click on a search result and then navigate back to the search results page to see ‘Block'. Some people are still not seeing it, though, so it seems that it is another feature that Google is rolling out gradually to users.
Click on the block option and you will no longer see pages from that site in future searches. If you carry out a search that would normally contain pages from a blocked site you will see a message saying how many results were blocked. You can manage your naughty list and unblock sites by going to your Search Settings or clicking on the “Manage blocked sites” link that appears when you block a domain. Google said in its initial announcement that it was not using blocked domains as a signal in search ranking but that has now changed and it is now incorporated in the algorithm.
Yet another way for Google to thoroughly mess up our searches.
The presentation I gave to CILIP in Hants and Wight - Anything but Google - is now available at:
I omitted to include the URLs of some of the specialist tools mentioned in the presentation. You could Bing or Yahoo the names of the services (we're not going to Google them are we?) but to save time I've listed them below.
ChemSpider – Database of Chemical Structures and Property Predictions
PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy http://philpapers.org/
Microsoft Academic Search http://academic.research.microsoft.com/
Not mentioned in the slides but discussed briefly during the session was HealthMash http://healthmash.com/. A semantic metasearch health search engine with “clustering and advanced linguistic capabilities.” I'd be interested in people's experiences and views of this one.
As well as the “Anything BUT Google” sessions, I have also been running “All About Google” workshops. The participants are asked to come up with a group Top 10 Tips and a combined list from the last three events is listed below. Many tips were common to all three so the final list has 16 tips. I also spotted people experimenting with the Google Art Project (http://www.googleartproject.com/), Fusion Tables (http://www.google.com/fusiontables/), Google Custom Search Engines (http://www.google.com/cse), Google Internet Statistics (http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/landing/internetstats/), and one person found Google Labs Transliteration (http://www.google.com/transliterate/) very useful.
Many thanks to Britta Nordström for alerting me to this site. Business Ukraine (http://biznes-ukraina.ua/) has a useful collection of directories of companies, products and services in Ukraine as well as links to postal codes and transport timetables. There is also a list of Directories of the world on-line (http://biznes-ukraina.ua/extra.phtml?ttt=1&l=en) that is mostly yellow pages for countries around the world. The market reviews look interesting but the articles are subscription only.
There are Russian, Ukrainian and English language options for many of the sections but you may have to resort to Google's translation service for some areas of the site.
If you have ever tried to explain to a client why they will not find detailed financial accounts for companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, just thrust a copy of Guiding You Through… Company Searches In The British Virgin Islands – Withers LLP (http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=127482) into their mitts! It very neatly summarises the registration, filing and disclosure requirements. The key sentence for researchers is:
So there you have it. Many thanks to Hazel Edmunds of ADSET (http://www.adsetsinformationweblog.blogspot.com/) for the link.
The following are some of my recent tweets and retweets. They are selected because they contain links to resources or announcements that may be of general interest. I have unshortened the shortened URLs.
RT @WoodsieGirl: Shared: Online Research Exposes Legal Researchers & Clients to Ethical Issues! http://outofthejungle.blogspot.com/2011/04/online-research-exposes-legal.html
RT @ScottishBIS: Android overtakes Apple to be UK's leading smartphone platform http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/bulletin/dailynews/article/1063727
If you're uploading any PPTs to Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/typofi/fonts-in-slideshare - essential info on fonts
"Electric Cars Should be Called Coal Cars": The Heretic. - Scitizen : http://scitizen.com/future-energies/-electric-cars-should-be-called-coal-cars-the-heretic-_a-14-3646.html
Analysis of current & future world oil production: "The Oil Drum | Tech Talk - the top 30 oil producers" http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7772
Google Has Stopped Street View Photography In Germany http://searchengineland.com/google-has-stopped-street-view-photography-germany-72368
RT @theEword: Google now enjoys over 90% of UK searches http://theeword.co.uk/seo-manchester/google_dominant_in_uk_search_engine_market.html
"Google is responsible for 'autofill' search terms, says Italian court" - Pinsent Masons LLP http://www.out-law.com/default.aspx?page=11860
Dear Google, I asked you to search for Hewish Mild NOT Jewish mild! [Google again deciding that it knows best and changing your search without asking]
Lawyer's email not creative enough to be protected by copyright Pinsent Masons LLP Outlaw.com http://www.out-law.com/default.aspx?page=11862
RT @notess: SearchEngineShowdown New Sidebar Options: Reading Level and Dictionary http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/blog/2011/04/new_sidebar_options_reading_le.shtml
RT @ universitysham Fusion Power - No Change and No Chance! http://ergobalance.blogspot.com/2011/04/fusion-powering-future.html Posting based on a lecture last night at Cafe Scientifique
"UK.gov signals weary welcome to Brussels' web cookies law" The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/15/cookies_uk_government_implementation_of_eu_regulation/
"Advertising trade body publishes behavioural tracking guidelines" from OUT-LAW.com http://www.out-law.com/default.aspx?page=11871
RT @emma_cossey: New blog post: Image crediting: What images can I use in a blog post? http://randombloggingsofawannabe.blogspot.com/2011/04/image-crediting-what-images-can-i-use.html
RT @stephendale: Top 100 tools for learning and sharing http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/2010binb.html
From TechCrunch "Libellous URLs Are Hilarious. Except That One Time I Nearly Went To Jail" http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/2010binb.html
RT @dannysullivan: The Yahoo Search Revenue Disaster http://searchengineland.com/the-yahoo-search-revenue-disaster-73868 - i churned more numbers. they weren't pretty.
I have a new toy! Love it. RT @arthurweiss: Zanran - a new data search engine http://searchengineland.com/the-yahoo-search-revenue-disaster-73868
"New York Times: More Than 100,000 Digital Subs In First Weeks of Paywall" paidContent http://paidcontent.org/article/419-new-york-times-more-than-100k-digital-subs-in-first-weeks-of-paywall/
Those who attended my workshop earlier this week may find this interesting "Google News Gets A Bit More Personal" http://searchengineland.com/google-news-gets-a-bit-more-personal-74297
"The Guardian Cans Its ‘Unsustainable' Local Websites" paidContent http://paidcontent.org/article/419-the-guardian-cans-its-unsustainable-local-experiment/
Meetings and Seminars
Workshop: Business Information: Key Web Resources
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|This page was last updated on 3rd May 2011||Copyright
© 2011 Karen