hi – 07nov

Hi. Sorry to be scarce, I’ve been reading a lot and working a lot. Today I taught some senior citizens how to use a word processor [hint: typewriter metaphors work well] and tried to find ways to do outreach to the convent. I’m also finalizing my plans for the Australia talk and moonlighting at one or two other things, including one fun library web site Movable Type upgrade/design assist.

I wanted to point out an interesting collaborative information gathering exercise that I recently witnessed in the online world. The question “Why can’t I find photos of Abu Ghraib torture using Google Images?” When I ran into the issue, it had shown up on the group weblog MetaFilter where many interesting pieces of information came out fairly quickly

  • try AltaVista, it works better for this
  • Yahoo no longer licenses Google search results
  • some other ways to search if you want to find those images
  • making and testing hypotheses about how often Google Images updates its archive
  • an actual email from someone at Google explaining the problem
  • feedback from someone using the Google Search Appliance explaining what they found
  • links to a larger Slashdot discussion
  • a Google Answers question asking the same question of their “experts”

If you follow along closely you’ll notice that the original question was pretty much answered and the information [i.e. pictures] located elsewhere and yet the only for-profit part of the equation, Google Answers, decided to delete the question (which I saw, but, sadly, did not locally cache) entirely from its knowledge base with no explanation or even a placeholder. I’ve always got a host of ready answers to the question “How is Google different from the library?” but now I have a new one “You can ask the librarians about the library itself and still get an answer.”