April 2006 Archive
Someone at Saint Louis University has reported that Google Scholar appears as an option on the Google home page from on campus. This has been going on at least for some since June 2005. I have never seen it at Montana State University, so it must only be some campuses but not all.
An interesting posting today first claimed that the U.S. Dept. of State shamelessly stole text from the Wikipedia:
At this point some of you may ask just what the heck the US Dept. of State was doing, but let's take a moment to clear things up. First, it's obvious the Wikipedia page has been around for quite some time, and has evolved from that older state. . . . the US Dept. of State page doesn't even mention WikipediaI find this posting fascinating in that some people assume that the Wikipedia is an old, established resource. Obviously, the author did not know that the State Department has been producing Background Notes for decades. Certainly, most librarians reading this will guess correctly that the Wikipedia grabbed the text from the State Department originally, and not vice versa.
The page also (somewhat) demonstrates how sometimes, the social, self-correcting nature of the Web can fix such mistakes. After its initial posting, the author added an update at the end and a "Read the update at the bottom, old article preserved for amusement potential only!" at the top. The update does note that
Some people did some great digging and found a copy of the original US Dept. of State document. And guess what? It just barely predates the Wikipedia page.but "just barely" still hints at the lack of understanding of the preceding print versions of the Background Notes.
Anyway, there is also an interesting Web search connection here. I first came across the page after the update had been added. I wanted to see an earlier version, but based on internal content, I could guess that the original had just been posted earlier today. In trying to find the older version, I knew it was too recent for the Wayback Machine. Instead, I checked for cached copies at the search engines. Yahoo! indeed had indexed it, and their cached copy was the earlier version. Out of curiosity I checked at Google, MSN, Ask, and Gigablast. None of the other search engines had yet indexed the page. Once again, the answer to my question was found by one search engine, and in this case, not by Google.
When do Google results contain the sublinks underneath the extract? Michael Nguyne explores this in a post Traffic Determines Google UI Snippet Links. See also Barry Schwartz' post at SearchEngineWatch. I am certainly seeing more examples of these sublinks in Google results. Even if these guesses are not correct as to the why of their appearance, at least we now have a name for them: sublinks. See the image below:
Gary reports on an undocumented feature at Exalead that he learned from Karen Blakeman and confirmed with Exalead the NEAR proximity operator (meaning 16 word proximity) can be made to specify other levels of proximity. Use NEAR/x (where the 'x' is a number you chose) to find the two words within 'x' proximity. At last, real proximity searching is available on a Web search engine!