Assorted links

Four Sharpier permanent markers, showing black...
Image via Wikipedia
  • Doomsday for 2009 is ... Saturday.
  • Mary Ellen Bates says goodbye to several Google apps, and ponders Microsoft's persistent relevance. I'll miss Google Notebook, myself.
  • Better ways to run a workshop. And some damn fine YouTube examples of Patrick McGoohan at work.
  • Chris Blattman summarizes Rapture indicators from The Rapture Index site: "The prophetic speedometer of end-time activity". And no, I sure as hell ain't linking to that site. Chris does that so I don't have to.
  • Michael Leddy at Orange Crate Art excerpts a neat paragraph on why a long, inefficient search can yield better results in the long-term than instant retrieval.
  • Man decorates basement with $10 worth of Sharpie. Sorry, can't remember where I got this. I love the 360-degree view of his newly decorated basement. If I could draw that well, and had his nerve, this world would be a different place. Update: But Liz says it makes the walls look like cardboard.
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Keeping Found Things Found

A web site focused on collecting and managing personal information, from the U of Washington I-School, with some help from Msft. I haven't compared their publications list with our syllabus to see if there's any overlap. Keeping Found Things Found "The classic problem of information retrieval, simply put, is to help people find the relatively small number of things they are looking for (books, articles, web pages, CDs, etc.) from a very large set of possibilities. This classic problem has been studied in many variations and has been addressed through a rich diversity of information retrieval tools and techniques.

A follow-on problem also exists which has received relatively less study: once found, how are things organized for re-access and re-use later on? "

Carrot2, a clustering search engine

Mary Ellen Bates raves about Carrot2 in her latest InfoTip newsletter. Carrot2 clusters search results, much as does. Carrot2 differs in that it's using a Swiss meta search engine,, as the basis for its initial group of search results, while Clusty uses US-based meta search engines. Both the Carrot2 and Clusty home pages look like mirror images of each other, down to the various selection tabs on offer. As a test, I entered "information retrieval" as a search term in both. I didn't do a hard analysis, of course, but I found Clusty's clusters generally more scannable and valuable as a starting point for further searches, as the clusters tended to be more granular. Carrot2's fewer clusters seemed to survey the landscape at a slightly higher level; specifying different sorting algorithms (available under Show Options) was fun though--"Rough k-Means" and "HOAG-FI" shook up the clusters and yielded a more interesting display.

By the way, I'm also subscribing to Mary Ellen's Info-Entrepreneur newsletter. I'm able to visualize myself doing that kind of work soon; up to now, I've not had a real picture of where my IS degree may take me. The Info-preneur/Information Broker idea at least gives me a start at something to form ideas around. I also consider it a good omen that her initials (MEB) are the same as mine. :)

Mary Ellen also runs a blog on the side, Librarian of Fortune, where she "contributes white noise to the blogosphere." Highly recommended, as are her newsletters.