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Liberating the literature

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January 2008

Wikia Search

Wikia search is to be unveiled on the 7th January (click here for story). This will be a community search engine, the implications of which I’m unsure. I imagine the health search aspects will be focussed on public/patient level but I can’t wait to try it out.

Google Scholar

An interesting post (click here to read) on the TechCrunch blog. The full post looks at how various Google services have been used, comparing November 2006 usage with November 2007 usage. Google Scholar has dropped 32%, which is a significant number.

Google launched Scholar towards the end of 2004 and has changed little in that time. I use it occasionally but only as a last resort. I find the link-outs to various publishers sites confusing and painful. In the normal Google I search, click and get the result. In Scholar, I find, click, have to decide which publisher site to go to, they then try and flog you the full-text, you then get to the abstract. I think that indicates how spoilt I am!

What next for Scholar? I imagine Dean (at the UBC Academic Search – Google Scholar Blog) has much greater insight into this sort of thing. But if it was my business/project you’d sit up with figures like this. The figures show that people aren’t using it (or are moving away) and therefore there are two options:

  1. Leave it as it is and let it die
  2. Intervene, pump in some resources, figure out why people are switching off and improve.

I’d prefer 2. but it’s not as though they make any money out of Scholar and also they have dropped projects in the past.

Hopefully, we’ll see the November 2008 figures…

Boring blog post!

I treated myself to a laptop, which arrived between Christmas and New Year. I have wireless internet at home and am typing this from the lounge. Technology can be great at times! I’ve not bothered with a laptop for many years now. The first one I had cost £1,800 and that was probably 8-9 years ago. This one I’m typing on – a Dell – cost £600. The main reason for treating myself is a new project I’m likely to be starting in the next 3 months. This will require a great deal of computer work but not much brain power. So I’m hoping that I can watch TV and work at the same time.

We’re going to roll out a few tweaks on the TRIP Database, nothing major, just a few issues that have arisen since the last major upgrade. With the new project not likely to go live till mid-2008 I doubt we’ll see any significant developments to the main TRIP. Although the specialist search engines are likely to see some activity.

An even more pointless blog than normal. I just wanted to post something using the new technology!

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