I got several good tips in a recent Web Searching class* I attended — One of the tools I learned about is BlindSearch, which does a comparison search in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I tried it out in the class, searching for the title words google librarians from a blog article I had just published a few days before (Google & Librarians as Cousins), not  really thinking it was likely that any of the search engines would find it. But much to my surprise, one of them did find it in the first screen — Bing! The article was published on March 29. At the class three days later on April 1, it was number one in Bing. When I’ve checked since then, it’s been number three, as highlighted in the screenshot below.


(Click screenshot for LARGE)

Great job, Bing! This little example, I think, indicates that Bing may be the search engine of choice for time-sensitive subjects that are likely to have recent updates. It makes me wonder if Bing is giving higher precedence to pertinent blog articles than Google and Yahoo. Confirming my experience, I recently noticed a good Google-Bing comparison article showing that for some searches Bing is, indeed, better than Google.

*Super Searcher class, taught by Max Anderson, from the GMR/NNLM office, at a meeting of the Iowa Library Association Health Sciences Subdivision

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

After hearing Daniel Pink’s keynote at the recent Medical Library Association meeting, I watched his TED talk (The surprising science of motivation) and I found it at least as inspiring as his words at MLA. Pink’s ideas on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation are well-known — People doing creative tasks, he says, are more highly motivated by inner drives than they are by external rewards — I won’t go into detail about his thesis here — I’ll just talk about a couple of stories — One that Pink tells and a little follow-up of my own.

Pink’s story that I found especially interesting is about Wikipedia and Encarta. I’m transcribing it since I don’t find that anyone else has done it. Here’s a link to the segment of the video with the story:

In the mid-1990′s Microsoft started an encyclopedia called Encarta. They employed all the right incentives. They paid professionals to write and edit thousands of articles. Well compensated managers oversaw the whole thing to make sure it came in on budget and on time. A few years later another encyclopedia started — A different model — Do it for fun. No one gets paid a cent or a euro or a yen. Do it because you like to do it. Now 10 years ago if you had talked to an economist … anywhere … and said “Hey, I’ve got these different models for creating an encyclopedia — If they went head to head who would win? 10 years ago you could not have found a single, sober economist anywhere on planet earth who would have predicted the Wikipedia model. This is the Titanic battle between these two approaches. This is the Ali-Frazier of motivation, right, this is the Thrilla in Manila, alright — Intrinsic motivators vs extrinsic motivators — Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose versus Carrots & sticks – And who wins — Intrinsic motivation, autonomy, mastery and purpose — in a Knockout.

Great story, well told! Indeed, who would have predicted Wikipedia? Or, in the same vein, who would have predicted blogs and Twitter threatening to replace paid journalists?

My own little story — After returning from a long week at MLA, I watched the Pink video on Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. Partly inspired by Pink’s words and partly by ideas from MLA, I decided I’d spend some holiday time on Monday Twittering about the BP Gulf oil disaster — A subject out of my usual more “serious” use of Twitter but — Intrinsic Motivation ;-) –  It’s an area of personal interest, and a chance to put my Twitter skills to work to do a tiny bit to help save the world, maybe?

Related articles:

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

This fun giant-size image for Choosing Cereal made the rounds of Twitter a couple of months ago, and I thought then that it would be a good demo of Seadragon, the interesting infinite-zooming viewer that was Microsoft’s first iPhone app. I’ve dragged my feet until now, but with the attention that Seadragon has gotten in recent articles, here it is …

The original cereal image site that was linked on Twitter is here. I’ve uploaded this at the Seadragon site, which makes it into a deep-zoomable image. It works fine on a desktop, but it’s especially cool on an iPhone/iTouch — Try it HERE. (The Seadragon iPhone app isn’t needed for this but it’s worth looking at because it has several good demos — Download it here). The image below shows only the top of the Choosing Cereal file — The Seadragon zoomable version has the whole thing.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Nick Bilton wrote in the NY Times last week:

Consumers are witnessing the beginning of a new war between computer companies. Instead of the Apple-Microsoft conflict of the early 1980s, this fight is taking place between Apple and Google.

In a follow-up article, Bilton has the graphic below, that I’ve tweeked to emphasize what will certainly be a key element in the Apple-Google competition, and why Microsoft makes a logical ally for Apple — Microsoft has the Bing online search engine but doesn’t have mobile hardware. Apple has the iPhone/iTouch, but doesn’t have a search engine. Google has both …

blogSpan5

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Looking at Google Newspapers has got me thinking that the same sort of zooming-panning interface that’s used in that, and in Google Maps, could also be used for viewing books. An example of this is shown in the screenshots from videos on Seadragon linked below.

Seadragon is a zooming-panning technology, owned by Microsoft, and used as a component in other tools, such as PhotoZoom, Silverlight, Photosynth, and various Microsoft mapping applications. When it was acquired by Microsoft in 2007 it got attention as a powerful component of other Microsoft applications, but I haven’t seen it featured as a potential interface design tool for ebooks. This is a relatively small part of the videos below, but the screenshots give a feel for it. These are from two different videos, both showing how the system can be used to zoom in on pages from a book.

The sequence above, which is made up of 800 images from a map collection at the Library of Congress, shows how easy it is to zoom in to find pages that have text and pictures together. This video (2:13) is made by the company from which Microsoft bought Seadragon.

The second sequence is from a video (7:42, the first 2:50 on Seadragon) of a talk by Blaise Aguera, the creator of Seadragon. As indicated, it shows zooming in on a large text source.

Both of these videos emphasize the obvious usefulness of Seadragon technology for mapping applications. But they also show that it has potential usefulness for viewing online e-books — So it’s too bad Microsoft dropped out of the Internet Archive digitization project in May, 2008!