Here at Yahoo! there are a bunch of us librarian-types. In my department alone, besides me, there’s another guy who has an MLIS, a woman who is currently getting hers, and several people who have worked at various ontology and cataloging type jobs. And that’s just my department. Librarians have been working here since the beginning (think: Yahoo! Directory).
Lately Google and Ask have begun marketing to the librarian community. Google started their librarian’s newsletter and Ask hired Gary Price.
Both of these moves reaffirm that search engines are just the latest iteration of the library and information sciences field.
I just realized I never uploaded my photos from Internet Librarian 2005. So if you’ve been itching to see some out of focus photos of techie librarians and our groupies, now’s your chance.
Here’s a few of them…
Sometimes the Search Lounge loses all its HTML formatting and becomes just black text on a white background. To fix it all I have to do is log into my Word Press account and then the HTML template reappears. If anyone reading this has any idea why this happens, please drop me a line. Thanks.
–Update – this now happens everyday.
The Small Mention
How many times have search engines taken you to pages containing text that matched your query, but that matched it in such a small way that the page wasn’t helpful? I call that the Small Mention and it happens all the time.
Being a blog about search, I use query examples to test engines. I’ve noticed several instances where users have come to the Lounge thinking my posts are relevant to their searches, but of course the Search Lounge doesn’t satisfy user missions, but rather points out my own experiences searching for whatever it was. It’s a vicious circle of self-perpetuating queries.
It’s not such a big deal. I’m just getting a handful of people coming for most of the query examples I’ve used. But it’s interesting because it points out a common shortcoming of search: contextualization. Or to put it another way, the Small Mention.
Blogs are the biggest innocent culprit of this. (Whereas there is nothing innocent about spam pages designed to lure you in for obscure queries.) But with so many people writing so many things, it’s inevitable that phrase matches will happen and that on the open web the Small Mention will live and grow as it feeds on so many words.
I noticed in my search logs that someone got routed to the Search Lounge for the query “cookie recipe for diabetics”. If that’s what you’re looking for here are a couple of sites (I haven’t tried the recipes so I can’t speak to their quality) that are hopefully what you’re looking for:
American Diabetes Assocation dessert recipes
diabetic-recipes.com cookie recipes
I did a review of Ask Jeeves a while back using that query as a sample query.
The #1 result on Yahoo.
#1 on Google.
#2 on MSN.
And ironically it doesn’t show up on Ask, which only has 2 web results at all. See them? Look closely, they’re sandwiched between the north and south sponsored results.