Welcome to Online Insider ...
... the editorial blog by Marydee Ojala, Editor of ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals. ONLINE Insider intends to extend the reach of the print publication, presenting a more timely commentary on the products, people, and events that shape today's online world. It explores new technologies as they impact the working lives of information professionals, explains resources for specific topic areas, and expounds on information management tools and techniques.

Karen Schneider on Blog Ethics

Marydee Ojala @ 12:08 pm

Hints on creating quality, ethical blogs.

Transparency: Example is Jeff Gannon, the fake White House correspondent. You need a clear “about” page, full disclosure about conflicts, biases, or vested interests, and a commitment to honesty about who you are. Don’t try to be something you’re not. But what about bloggers who want to be anonymous? KG thinks you shouldn’t. Transparency can be strategic, minimize fisking,

Get your citations correct: Example is Michael Gorman’s Library Journal Revenge of the Blog People article published last March. He never said who called him an idiot and you can’t find it using search engines. You should link to and name your sources and documentation, avoid anonymous sources, and always check a secondary source. You are responsible for what your blog says.

Get it right: Example is Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who spent time in jail and was wrong about WMD. Being wrong has consequences. Check your facts and re-check your facts after you publish. Examine each source for credibility and motive for publishing, dual source, avoid anonymous sources, and link to your source.

Be fair: Example is Bill O’Reilly, Fox news, who shouts people down. He’s not fair. How to be fair: Let a source know when they are on the record; you can be opinionated but don’t present opinion as fact; if you claim to be objective, then you better present all sides of the issue, let your readers comment (within reason). Is this news or opinion?

Admit your mistakes: Example is Bill Clinton. People need to know the errors you’ve made.  You should be direct and alert your readers about the error. Tell them how it happened.

Nice quote:

“Investigative reporting is not stenography,”


Marydee Ojala @ 2:18 pm

This morning in Web Search Academy, Mary Ellen Bates was talking about the various meanings of the acronym RSS. She referred to these as “bacronyms” — taking an acronym and finding words to fit it, rather than taking words and making an acronym out of them. So I started doodling what OJALA might be an acronym for: Online Joy And Library Affiliates? Online Journal And Library Association? OK, not great. I’m open to suggestions.

Internet Librarian 2005

Marydee Ojala @ 4:38 pm

I leave tomorrow for Internet Librarian . The program looks good and I know there will be lots of bloggers there. There’s a Blogdigger group that Andrea Mercado set up. When I looked at it a short while ago, I was somewhat taken aback by the contextual ad that Yahoo! had supplied. It was for Overstock.com , which was apparently selling its overstock of librarians for $13.95! Now I know librarians are underpaid, but that is totally ridiculous!

Technorati/Flickr Tag:

More ILI2005 Photos

Marydee Ojala @ 8:15 am

Lunch with the speakers was very popular, both on Monday and Tuesday. The speakers’ names were on the balloons, so you knew which table to sit at.

The room was packed with delegates from 36 countries. I can identify a couple of people in this photo, but if anyone can help me with some other names, I’d appreciate it.

Here are two more of Dick’s photos.

ILI2005 Photos

Marydee Ojala @ 10:49 am

The blogging panel: Brian Kelly, Michael Stephens, Aaron Schmidt, and me.

Delegates returning to the conference hotel after the fire emergency was deemed by the authorities to not be an emergency.

Disclaimer: I didn’t take these, Dick Kaser did. But he’s good at sharing! Thanks, Dick.

Phil’s Picks, ILI2005

Marydee Ojala @ 4:23 pm

Phil is going through live demos of web sites he finds particularly useful. At the moment, it’s Firefox extensions. Then he’s on to search engines, local information, and search tips.

His slides are at his web site .

Competitive Intelligence & Evaluating Quality, ILI2005

Marydee Ojala @ 3:58 pm

Jane Macoustra, TaiPan Research, is explaining CI and is moving on to global resources. Fuld & Co. has a list of resources. White papers cover a wide range of industries and countries. Use professional portals from banks, Federal Reserve, government, stock exchanges, regulatory agencies, local law firms, and specialist portals.

Synovate Consulting has a section called Insights with free reports.

When it comes to invisible web, consider UC Berkeley guide . Reverse lookup facility from Onelook , Wayback machine, InfoMine for the mining industry, Asian sources for manufacturers and suppliers, Asian resources, global newspaper sites, such as World Newspapers Online .

Moving on to Europe, IBN Country Reports, law firms and accountancy firms often provide free reports. Now a list of recommended sources.

Alison Stacey, of Webinfopro, is now talking about bias in searching, but it’s not just the sites, it’s how we search. The web is prone to bias because web content is rarely reviewed for quality and anybody can put material on the web. The structure and nature of the web contribute to the problems of bias, particularly in the present environment of SEO. User-generated content can contain bias (usually does, in fact) which in turn encourages somewhat emotional response. People can tell the difference between TV programs and ads, but they can’t on the web. This lack of awareness of bias, combined with the important role of the web and search engines, makes educating people important.

Definition of bias: The presentation of a particular subjective approach to a subjective or objective piece of information, coupled with an absence of balancing and compensatory approaches.

How to compensate for bias: deal with it from the outset, ask about perspective of page, and look for value-laden words, weak arguments, problems with statistics, and graphical cues. Lots of her tips seem to me to be useful not just for evaluating the quality of web sites and web information, but for general evaluation of unbiased information in any format.

Bias is everywhere. Bias isn’t necessarily bad, it’s what we do with it that counts.

Search Engine Update, ILI2005

Marydee Ojala @ 2:47 pm

It’s the afternoon of the second day. We’re starting with Ran Hock talking about Yahoo. There’s new stuff such as audio and video search, my Yahoo (personalization, but only in the US), German translation to English only at the yahoo.de site, subscription databases, podcast search (just introduced yesterday, searches large number of podcasts and can limit to series and episodes), Yahoo 360 (easy way to start blog, get web page), mail (storage to 1 gig, look for photomail), and others.

Karen is covering Google and the others, which she says is appropriate, given Steve’s keynote talk. Google removed the number of pages covered (it said 8 billion until Yahoo announced 20 billion, then Google simply said that quantity doesn’t matter, quality does). Google introduced some proximity searching using the *. Google Video got off to a rocky start, now you don’t have to download Google’s video player, so it’s better. It searches on metadata. Google Print isn’t the same thing as digitizing the library books; publishers can send books to Google for digitizing. You can only read a few pages at a time, but if you do a search, you get a list of pages and can keep reading with no restrictions she’s found yet on pages.

Google local search is only for UK, Canada and US. Google Earth mashed with local can take you down to a level where you can see the cars on the road. Personalized search pages is an example of Google running to keep up with Yahoo. If you look at Google Labs, and you haven’t logged out, then your entire search history is captured.

Google owns Blogger, but it’s amazing how long it’s taken to add RSS and Atom feeds for news alerts. Blogsearch was just introduced and there’s now the Web based feed reader. To Google, a blog is only something with an RSS feed, which isn’t most people’s definition. Blog search hint: Search in blog title for better relevancy.

Desktop Search version 2 is not as good as Yahoo’s. Still very resource hungry. She’s mentioning Google Talk and the deal with Sun, which wasn’t all that major an announcement and there’s probably something else coming out. To keep up, look at Google Labs.

Why use another search tool? They have different coverage, search features,and algorithms. Now she’s showing Thumbshots ranking.

MSN relaunched in autumn 2004, with 5-7 billion pages. The results are more consumer oriented, but it has slider bars to weight results.

Ask Jeeves had makeover. It’s added Zoom, which gives you suggestions to broaden or narrow search and also shows latest news. In theory, Ask Jeeves Web answers page takes you to an actual answer if you start a query with how, what, or who. Karen says it doesn’t work very well. She asked “Why is grass green?” Ask Jeeves assumed she wanted to buy astroturf.

Exalead has the NEAR command, phonetic searching, and pattern matching.

Straightforward HTML web page search is no longer a major issue as far as the search engines are concerned; you can search different file formats, resource types. Acquisition of other applications and integrating with the web is becoming more prevalent. Another trend: Integrate local with web search.

Look beyond Google.

Hit a different key every day and see what it does.

Teoma is useful for suggesting related, expert sites and for clustering. The other search engine strong in clustering is Vivisimo.

Neat site recommended by Karen: Trovando , which searches 3350 search engines. You can do images, reference, tags, news, audiovisual, and more.

Pricing/Controlling Costs, ILI 2005

Marydee Ojala @ 12:37 pm

Purchasing e-books is expensive, according to David Ball, University Librarian, Bournemouth University, and subscription services for e-books isn’t much of a less expensive option. E-textbooks are for students; publishers don’t want to sell them to libraries. One 47-member consortia contract went to Ebrary and ProQuest Safari; the other to Ebrary. Libraries need flexible and innovative pricing models, value for money, reject straight-jacket of hardcopy model, and exploit electronic medium. Libraries influence content to be provided and e-textbooks move closer to electronic provision.

What about purchasing electronic information in the corporate world? It’s Armand Brevig, Global Category Leader, AstraZeneca, who has that perspective, talking about a model for managing e-journal spending. Journal prices are rising quickly. Between 1986 and 2002, they went up 220%, 3 times as much as the consumer price index went up. Reaction, number of serials purchased stayed flat, but expenditures went up that same 220%. Libraries frequently felt powerless and were forced to accept price rises, negotiate a smaller increase, or cancel print journals.

We must change our approach. It’s time to fight back, regain control. We need to bargain for more value (get price caps, negotiate lower increase, complimentary copies), challenge vendors’ perspective (lobby through an industry organization or advisory board, highlight entire relationship, communicate budget constraints, convince publisher you’re really at the end of your rope and the budget will no longer expand to meet their pricing demands, talk about open access), increase bargaining power (enterprise wide framework agreements, consolidate through agents, multiyear deals, pre-payment, buy back files instead of using document delivery, make the deal look bigger so you have more to bargain with), and manage demand (vendor portfolio management, charge back for premium service, educate about free/low cost alternative, cancel low usage journals, look at pay per view). It’s the art of the possible.

Think about your organization as a whole, rather than a bunch of silos. There’s a need for an enabling government structure, which will ensure compliance. The doing more with less mandate still applies. Some key publishers are extremely profitable and they’ve done that using our money. It’s time to shift the playing field.

It helps to band together, join a consortia, to effectively bargain with publishers. It’s much harder to gain leverage if you’re a small library. What about consortium cancellation? Does this every happen? Some in the U.S. are threatening to cancel the Big Deal.

Ah, here’s a loaded question. Mark just asked how the price increases in journals compare with the rise in drug prices. Armand dodged it, saying he’s not on the sales side in AstraZeneca, so he doesn’t know.

And now it’s time for lunch.

National Collaboration Initiatives, ILI2005

Marydee Ojala @ 12:13 pm

Heike vom Orde, International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television, is talking on ISM: A German Network for Internet Resources on Media Education. The ISM database is only in German, but the IZI-Datenbank.de has an English language version. The ISM database covers media education, literacy, research, and policy. It also has information on educational television. It includes media catalogs, a media competence starting kit, reference databases, and project information databases. User-friendly aspects include one common database design for 6 databases, cross-concordance of descriptors (done by human, not automated), a simplification and standardization of database fields, and options for limiting search results to lierature, project information, or media resources.

The second talk in this session is given by Robert Bull, Business Development Director, DS Ltd. and Martin Hayes, West Sussex County Library Services, about a heritage research portal that allows simultaneous searches across West Sussex databases.

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