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.

McGraw-Hill Becomes McGraw Hill Financial

Marydee Ojala @ 2:25 pm

If you’re in New York City today (I’m not), you’ll notice the Empire State Building is showing red colors. This is in honor of McGraw-Hill changing its name to McGraw Hill Financial, differentiating it from the education piece, which is now a separate company, McGraw-Hill Education. The Empire State Building often changes colors and you can find out what the colors represent here or follow the unofficial building lights calendar on Twitter. On May 1st the building went peach for The Financial Times. Hmmm, May Day and the FT, now there’s an interesting juxtaposition.

McGraw Hill Financial includes brands familiar to business researchers, such as Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ, Dow Jones Indices, Platts, McGraw Hill Construction, Aviation Week, and J.D. Power & Associates. While losing the hyphen between the McGraw and the Hill, the company gained a new ticker symbol (MHFI), a new logo (a Mobius strip with a triangle in the middle), and a new tag line (Essential Intelligence).

Online Insider welcomes McGraw Hill Financial.

No More Searching? Content Will Find Us

Marydee Ojala @ 2:36 pm

In a recent blog post “Forget Searching For Content – Content Is About To Start Searching For You”, Brian Proffitt, who, among other things, is an adjunct instructor at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, proclaimed that content is about to start searching for us rather than us searching for content. Well, content may be searching for me, but somehow it’s not finding me. Or, to be clearer, content is finding me but it’s not the content I was looking for.

Proffitt was talking about efforts on the part of search engines to contextualize search based on geography, relevance, push, security and privacy. One of his examples was Notre Dame. If he’s on campus, he gets results about his university. Should he venture across the Atlantic to France, he gets results about the cathedral in Paris.

That’s great, I suppose, if your only concern is that you grab a few facts about something close by. It’s not terribly useful if you’re a student in South Bend (home of Proffitt’s university) doing a research project on French cathedrals. In fact, that’s the great fallacy in contextual search. Figuring out context based on geolocation works well only if the intent of the search is personal shopping. For information professionals, it’s largely been a dud.

And the notion that a revolutionary new development in search technology is pushing data to the user is just plain wrong. Stephen E. Arnold and Eric S. Arnold wrote about push and pull 16 years ago! (Push technology: Driving traditional online into a corner,” Database; Aug/Sep 1997; pg. 36+ ). Pushing information to the user is not a new endeavor.

Proffitt has it right about search engines’ desire to “knowledgize” search, however. Both Google and Bing are incorporating Knowledge Graphs into search results. Greg Notess talks about this in his upcoming article in the July/August 2013 issue of Online Searcher. The problem is that too many mistakes crop up in those knowledge boxes. Information is only as good as the source from which it is derived.

The changes in search technology, whether it’s contextual, semantic, personalization, or something else, is a topic of great interest to information professionals and will be exhaustively discussed at WebSearch University in September in Washington DC.

I know some of the librarians at Notre Dame. I’m hoping they can find Proffitt and educate him about the needs of professional researchers.

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