Saturday, February 26, 2005

Google Bombing

As we have recently stated, we have shifted from Google to Yahoo as our search engine of choice because of the fact that Google searches were too often resulting in sites that LINK to the desired page rather than the page itself.

A commentator informed us as to why the current Google search algorithm is faulty, precisely because it places too much emphasis on links, rather than paying more attention to what a site is about, even at the simplest level of the URL itself.

This emphasis on links has resulted, at its worst, in what is called Google Bombing, utilizing the principle that if enough sites link to any given site using the same link word or phrase, then that site will come up first on the Google results page.

Some links to Google Bombing are.

Adam Mathes - the original Google Bomber

Word Spy - definition of Google Bombing

A superb lengthy article by John Hiler on Google Blombing at Microcontent News - The Online Magazine for Weblogs, Webzines, and Publishing

Infothought - Seth Finkelstein's blog

The Underground Dailectic - blog

Links and Law - links

Blog-Fearing ALA President Bitten by the Blogs

The Law Pundit has frequented libraries since his early days and has quite a private library of his own, so that he is certainly no enemy of good libraries.

However, we see that Google's digitization of millions of books for online access by "the masses" has the poor library people up in arms. Indeed, particularly the rise of the masses in blogs seems to be a cause for the librarians' wrath.

Michael Gorman, president-elect of the American Library Association, and Dean of Library Services, Madden Library, California State University, Fresno, has an appropriately blog-fearing article in the Library Journal of February 25, 2005 entitled Revenge of the Blog People!.

Gorman has made the mistake of attacking bloggers (this is generally done only by those who really understand nothing about blogging), and also the present posting is his reaping of the fruits of the seeds he himself has sown.

Here is how Gorman describes blogs:

"A blog is a species of interactive electronic diary by means of which the unpublishable, untrammeled by editors or the rules of grammar, can communicate their thoughts via the web. (Though it sounds like something you would find stuck in a drain, the ugly neologism blog is a contraction of "web log.") Until recently, I had not spent much time thinking about blogs or Blog People."

What a stupid thing to write. It is rather hard to believe that the president-elect of the ALA could be this out of touch with reality.

Not having learned from experience, he writes the above article defiantly after bloggers had already criticized him previously for questioning the usefulness of Google book digitization, by which he called into question the usefulness of digital availability of such information to all citizens. Some people still do not understand "democracy" in its core value.

With uninformed people like this at the head of the main US library institution, the demise of libraries is not far off. Mark our words that the next decades will be marked by massive library closings since all the world will doing their research on the screen. Blog Bitten People such as Gorman will have accelerated this development.

The entire controversy reminds us of the Egyptology library at the University of Trier in Germany, our former abode as Lecturer in Law. That library is kept unter lock and key like the safe of a bank to make sure that unauthorized persons do not obtain access to books which might be used to upset the dusty applecarts of the virtually mothballed academic disciplines which deal with this region of the world.

Freedom of Information is simply not something relished by information monopolists.

Gorman wirtes:

"In the eyes of bloggers, my sin lay in suggesting that Google is OK at giving access to random bits of information but would be terrible at giving access to the recorded knowledge that is the substance of scholarly books. I went further and came up with the unoriginal idea that the thing to do with a scholarly book is to read it, preferably not on a screen. It turns out that the Blog People (or their subclass who are interested in computers and the glorification of information) have a fanatical belief in the transforming power of digitization and a consequent horror of, and contempt for, heretics who do not share that belief."

Horror, no. Contempt, yes.

BlogBib Goes Biblio Blog

BlogBib, An Annotated Bibliography on Weblogs and Blogging, with a Focus on Library/Librarian Blogs..., by Susan Herzog, Information Literacy Librarian @ Eastern Connecticut State University has an excellent series of postings on blogging in 8 PARTS.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Articles & Interviews About Blogs
Part 3: BlogBib: Blogging @Your Library
Part 4: BlogBib: Blogging Tools
Part 5: BlogBib: Select Librarian/Library Blogs
Part 6: BlogBib: Books on Blogging
Part 7: BlogBib: Studies on Blogging
Part 8: BlogBib: Presentations on Blogging

This is must read about blogging.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The FeedBurner Weblog - Burning Questions

We have just subscribed to Burning Questions the offical FeedBurner Weblog, which has 934 subscribing readers as of this date +1 for our subscription. Take a look. The last posting there was on RSS Metrics and Podcasting.

Giving Google the Goodbyes

What has Google recently done to its search algorithm? It is a disaster.

There is an old wisdom which holds that "power corrupts" and "absolute power corrupts absolutely". And Google appears to be corrupted - absolutely.

Whereas most of the world has increasingly been singing the praises of Google, we have become increasingly wary of this search engine whose overly smart but increasingly complicated algorithms are perhaps beginning to run asunder.

Until about a week ago, the entry of "lawpundit" into Google expectedly returned the blog "LawPundit" as the first search listing, as it should be, since there are no competing websites or blogs with that name.

What we now find is that the entry of "lawpundit" into the Google search box no longer turns up that blog but an absolutely confused mess of websites that LINK to the blog. There appears to be no rhyme or reason to the listing whatsoever and many of the sites who do link to our blog are not very important, since some of them are our own LESSER, seldom used, blogs.

Or to put it another way, when looking for the blog LawPundit on Google, Google is useless. Even keying the words "LawPundit" and "Blog" does not provide the desired result. Something has gone very badly bonkers in the algorithm of the Google search system in the last week or two.

Our tolerance level for nonsense is low. We do not wait long. We have installed both the Yahoo and MSN toolbars and are going to give Google the boot. Yahoo's first four results for LawPundit are perfect:

1. http://www.lawpundit.com/blog/lawpundit.htm - the LawPundit blog page
2. http://www.lawpundit.com - the LawPundit website index page
3. http://lawpundit.blogspot.com - the previous LawPundit blogspot location
4. http://feeds.feedburner.com/lawpundit - the FeedBurner RSS feed

That's the way it should be. For any entered artificial keyword such as lawpundit, we - at the least - expect the search engine to find the comparably named URLs and RSSs and rank them ahead of sites that merely LINK to them. God forbid.

Goodbye Google. Yahoo is now our toolbar of choice. It has some new features we were not even aware of, such as an anti-spyware button which permits immediate scans of the hard disk. Terrific. And the search results are just as good, if not better now.

Giving Google the Goodbyes....

Crossposted to LawPundit.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Brilliant Button Maker

Via the German law blog Streitsache, we point to a site which automatizes the making of buttons for blogs. See the Brilliant Button Maker by LucaZappa.com.

Friday, February 04, 2005

NOFOLLOW - a new attribute against spam

The Google Blog has the simplest explanation we have found of the new "nofollow" attribute on URLs as a means of preventing comment spam and similar URL spam abuses.

Not only have the major blog software makers signed on to this project, but MSN Search, Yahoo and also Wikipedia (1.4 Beta 6) are on board.

Do you follow?

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