I much prefer Twitter to Facebook, largely for the reason stated in a couple of recent blog articles I came across — From what I’ve experienced of Facebook, it’s mostly for communicating with people you already know. I find Twitter much more useful and interesting, because it helps me to meet so many new people. The first quote is from Aaron Lee‘s article What is Twitter all About…. to me?:

Everyone uses Twitter differently, and I can’t really tell you what it is about generally. However, I can tell you what Twitter is to me, personally. It is about connecting with people … It’s about building new relationships with people that you’re not able to do on other social networking sites, for example, when being on Facebook we tend to be inside our own circle of friends.

The second quote is from the Indian Chaaps blog — Why Twitter is better than Facebook:

Twitter is for whom you want to know – Facebook acts as a communicating media between us and the one whom we already know, whereas Twitter is a media between us and those whom we want to know.

I like the words that Aaron Lee emphasizes, later in the article quoted above, in describing the value of Twitter — Learning and Engaging. This catches the value of Twitter for me, as a professional tool. I’m constantly learning new things, from the many connections that I never would have made if it hadn’t been for Twitter.

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

I participate in several Twitter communities, which sometimes overlap in surprising and interesting ways. A case of this happened recently, when I did a tweet in preparation for the Medical Library Association annual meeting next week, which is having a special emphasis on Twitter this year — I tweeted about a blog article I wrote last Fall that I thought might be of interest to MLA attenders — Academic Health Sciences Libraries on Twitter & Facebook.

The tweet was retweeted two times, by long-time Twitter co-followers who have no apparent connection to the medical library community — Michael Cairns (@Personanondata), who’s in publishing, and Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC), who’s in social media marketing. As far as I could tell from Twitter search and Google Realtime search, my tweet was not retweeted by anyone in the medical library community.

The point of this little case study is — Don’t have tunnel vision in tweeting — You can never tell who might be interested in what you have to say! Write tweets with the idea in mind that they may be of interest to the general Twitterverse. A few more ideas on being open to the world:

  • When space allows, write tweets in a way that doesn’t restrict their interest to non-library people.
  • Avoid using language that won’t be understood by the general Twitterverse.
  • If someone is interested enough in your tweet to retweet it, reciprocate the interest — Look at their tweets and consider retweeting them.

Medical Librarians (and other librarians too) have some great ideas — Don’t be afraid to share them with the world!

Here’s the text of my tweet:

Academic Health Sciences Libraries on Twitter & Facebook #mlanet11 #Medical – http://bit.ly/hqe1GJ

And here’s the retweet by @MillerMosaicLLC (the retweet by @Personanondata isn’t linkable because he used Twitter’s retweet function).

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

As I discussed in another article, Steve Rosenbaum’s Curation Nation is very striking to me because its major theme of the importance of human input in Web curation is so similar to what I’ve written about on this blog. Extending the parallel between Rosenbaum’s thought and mine is the background of our work.

The experience that’s especially sensitized me to the importance of human input in curation has been my work to improve the discoverability of medical pictures in Hardin MD, as I discussed in the first two articles in this blog. In the process of doing this, I learned how much more difficult it is to make pictures findable on the Web than it is for text, which is its own search handle.

With my background of working with pictures, I can’t help but notice that Rosenbaum’s background is in video — We’ve both been sensitized to the importance of human curation, I suspect, by working with non-text media. As difficult as I’ve learned it is to curate pictures, it’s certainly even more difficult for the MOVING pictures of video. As an example of this, it’s difficult to tweak pictures in Hardin MD so they can be found in Google or Google Image search, but there’s not even anything comparable to Google Image search for video.

As difficult as it is to make video findable, it’s not surprising that Rosenbaum sees the future Web being so heavily dependent on curation over Search. I’d guess this is what gives him the many valuable insights about curation that he discusses in the book. And as the mix of media on the Web grows, the need for human curators will certainly grow with it. Good news for humans!

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

As several reviewers of Steve Rosenbaum’s Curation Nation have discussed, a major theme of the book is the importance of human input in curation. Rosenbaum repeatedly hammers home the idea that high-quality curation, which makes it possible to find things on the Web, has to be done by human beings rather than computers. There are many passages in the book on this theme. I’ll quote a few here from Rosenbaum’s introductory comments to give the flavor (boldface added):

(p 3-4) Curation is about adding value from humans … Curation is very much the core shift in commerce, editorial, and communities that require highly qualified humans. Humans aren’t extra, or special, or enhancements; humans are curators. They do what no computer can possibly achieve.

(p 12-13) No longer is the algorithm in charge. Human curators have become essential software. What emerges is new human and computer collaboration  … The important news of the emergence of a Curation Nation is that humans are very much back in charge.

Rosenbaum’s emphasis on the importance of humans especially strikes me because that’s also been a major theme of this blog, starting with the first article in the blog, on the importance of human input for organizing pictures. Other articles on the theme are listed in the category human input.

A subject that’s closely connected to human input and to curation, that Rosenbaum also stresses, and that I’ve written about (category: Pattern Recognition), is the quintessentially human capability of pattern recognition. He has several good snippets based on prominent blogger Robert Scoble:

(p 134) Humans are essential. So exactly what do they add? Is it magic, or something more quantifiable? Taste, judgement, serendipity? Scoble says what they add is uniquely human. “Algorithms are good at picking the big stuff, because computers are good at counting numbers or links or numbers of clicks or numbers of retweets. Humans aren’t going to compete with that. But as humans, our brains are pattern recognizers. I can look at the tree across the street, and in a millisecond I know it’s a tree. A computer has to look at an image of a tree for hours and spend a lot of processor time to figure out it’s a tree.” … (p 140) “I think curation is seeing a pattern in the world and telling someone else about that pattern.”

The exciting bottom line for librarians — As several library people have noted in discussing Curation Nation, this is right up our alley! The sorts of skills that Rosenbaum discusses are just what we’re good at — Careful, Caring Curation of the world’s information.

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

I’m reading Steve Rosenbaum’s new book, Curation Nation — He talks interestingly about social media like Twitter as being tools for curation, which he says are often better than Google in helping people find what they’re looking for.

As a prime example of why he thinks curation is the wave of the future and “search is broken (p 252),” he talks about googling his name (steve rosenbaum) in Google Image Search, and getting many false hits, including pictures of women and a pomeranian dog. His use of Google Image Search here rather than the standard googling tool Google Web search is puzzling — I guess he does it to prove his claim that “search is broken” — In Google Web search, though, searching for steve rosenbaum works just fine — All of the top 10 results are for Steve the book author.

So I think Rosenbaum is confused when he asserts that “search is broken” or “search is dead” (see below*) based upon his experience in searching Google Image search. But in bringing pictures into the discussion, he IS on to something important, which goes along with the book’s “curation” theme, and which I’ve hit upon frequently in this blog. As Rosenbaum discusses repeatedly, an important element of “curation” is that it’s done by human beings, as opposed to automated tools like search engines. This very much echoes a major theme of Seeing the Picture — starting with the very first article — which is the idea that pictures require a large amount of human input, on many levels, starting with the process of “curating” them so they can be found.

I’m finding Rosenbaum’s book especially interesting because, in addition to pictures, he also touches on other curatorial themes that I’ve discussed here:

Twitter – As mentioned above, he mentions Twitter prominently as an example of curation, and I’ve written about tweets being superb curatorial tools to focus the eyeballs of the Twitterverse on valuable information nuggets.

Wikipedia – At its tenth anniversary in January, I wrote about Wikipedia in very much the same vein as Rosenbaum, contrasting it as a tool for human curation in contrast to the machine-mind of Google. When I wrote this article, I was surprised to find that Wikipedia is not often discussed as an example of curation, so I was glad to see that Rosenbaum does.

*In Rosenbaum’s talk at TOC 2011, he goes over the same story of googling his name in Google Image search, to show the problems with Search — In the talk he says search is “dead” instead “broken,” as he says in the book.

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

I’ve been using Twitter account names a lot recently in retweeting — They’re good, attention-grabbing handles. It’s easy to find out if a company has an account, by simply adding the obvious name to the twitter.com/xxxx URL. That usually works, as shown below. But not for Apple.

Almost all of the tech giants do have an active Twitter account, under their obvious names. Here are a few (from my tweet) – ericrumsey: Thanks for being on Twitter: @Twitter @Facebook @Microsoft @IE @FireFox @Google @Amazon @Dell @eBay

And here are the names that Apple has chosen not to claim and use, again, from my tweet – ericrumsey: Why doesn’t Apple do Twitter? – @Apple @iTunes @iPad @Mac @Appleinc @Apple_inc

There have been speculations about Apple’s not using Twitter — Last year Dave Greenbaum in GigaOm speculated (wrongly so far) that Apple would be Twittering  soon, and there’s even a Quora article Why doesn’t Apple have a Twitter account? In March, Dutch blogger Kees Henniphof wrote that Apple doesn’t do social, pointing out that Apple’s non-social media choice extends beyond Twitter to other media like Facebook and LinkedIn, and says that by their non-participation, Apple is making “a statement.” I’d say they’re missing an opportunity.

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

Being an Iowa baseball boy at heart, I naturally thought about Field of Dreams when I read the words below by SEO guru Bill Hartzer in The Status Of Search Engine Optimization: April 2011 — It’s still the same as it’s always been, he says — Build a good website and it’ll get found. The idea is certainly not new, but Hartzer states it nicely:

So, what should you focus on right now, today, in April 2011? What has changed? Really, nothing has changed in a major way. It’s still business as usual. Build a quality web site, with lots of good informational content about your subject, publicize the content (properly) on other web sites, get links from other web sites to ALL of your content, and you will be just fine. Create a site that is good for your users and something that they like, and the search engines will reward you for it.

In other words, quit chasing the Google algorithm and worrying about all of the “minor” SEO tweaks that you could be doing and worry more about the fact that you’re not creating great content on your web site. That said, there are “best practices” that you still need to adhere to:

- Search engine friendly web design
- Unique content
- Make sure your on-page factors are in check (i.e., proper title tags, meta tags, heading tags, alt tags, etc.)
- Add good content to your site on a regular basis
- Do proper publicity for your content (use social sites, link building, and press releases when appropriate).

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

I wrote in a previous post about the punning name of “Mac OS X” — which apparently came from the mind of Steve Jobs. I observed that it’s surprising that there has been little commentary on this cute little pun. I guess maybe this sensitized me to see little-noticed puns by other famous geeks …

I came across another “famous geek pun” recently, by newly-named Google CEO and founder Larry Page — PageRank, the algorithm that made Google famous, is named for Larry Page! Like most people, I assumed that it was called that because of its page-ranking purpose. Although this pun is certainly more widely-acknowledged than the Steve Jobs pun — it’s even mentioned in the first sentence of the Wikipedia article on PageRank — it’s still questioned by some.

Is there a pattern here? Do geeks get too little credit for having a wry sense of humor? It certainly seems like these two little examples merit more attention.

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

Yesterday’s Reuters headline below, with projected tablet sales through 2015, makes a good compliment to a graphic in an article I wrote last year, which also targets 2015 — Saying that’s about when mobile devices (including tablets) will overtake desktops. So I’m mostly just juxtaposing these two graphics below, followed by mention of a library connection. First, the Reuters headline:

… And the graphic from my earlier article on libraries and mobile:

The Library Connection

From my Twitter watching, there seems to be relatively little discussion of the iPad in library circles, compared to other fields. With the exploding use of them, we in libraries need to pick up the ball!

Text from Reuters article:

Tablet market seen surging to $49 billion by 2015 – The global tablet computer market, born last year with Apple’s iPad, will grow to a $49-billion business by 2015, research firm Strategy Analytics said.

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

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