Google Part 2: Don’t Risk the Google Hazard

Google: The World’s Greatest Marketing Company

Google has completely changed the way most of the civilized world gets its information. Most know that Google wasn’t the first, but thanks toGoogleAnswers their effective branding, few realize that Google isn’t the best. For a long time, I’ve made the claim that Google will not be remembered as the greatest technology company of all time, but the greatest marketing company. The name Google was inspired by the term “googal”, which means the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, and was intended to refer to the number of results that are returned with each search. However, this philosophy is diametrically opposed to first 30 years of online information retrieval, when librarians were trained to create search queries that were very specific, so that only a few search results would be returned. If too many results were delivered, librarians considered it a bad search, because the large set of results were too difficult to manage. Effective research was about accuracy, not quantity.  Like Heinz, which turned a huge problem, i.e. the ketchup wouldn’t come out of the bottle, into a marketing success, Google has convinced the world that large numbers of search results are a good thing. But the fact is when it comes to search, more is not better. Google is a victim of its own success. As more and more content pours into the Google index, search results are as diverse as they are voluminous.

Make no mistake, Google’s search technology is significantly improved, but the problem is that its index is growing at a rate of 100% per year. It’s too broad, covers too many subject areas, and it is too dependent on the most popular links.  This is because Google is intended to be all things to all people.  If I want to see the menu  of a Chinese restaurant , or the show times for a movie, or the hours of operation of my nearest Target, or the phone number of my optometrist, there is nothing better than Google. But if you want to do serious research, whether it’s chemical engineering or art history, Google should never be your first choice. Unfortunately, Google has become the first choice for many professionals. While hospitals spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on peer reviewed medical information, 83% of physicians go to Google first to do medical research.  While academic libraries spend tens of thousands on the finest collections of digital content, students choose Google as their first and only source of information for research.

Deep Web Technologies has spent the past 15 years aggregating content in real time, in specific subject areas, so that users could find the information they need quickly and effectively. We enable users to simultaneously search hundreds of content repositories specifically related to their subject discipline, delivering the most relevant results from the latest publications. So, when veterinarians are researching jaguars, their result sets don’t include articles about automobiles or football teams.  With Deep Web Tech, in addition to getting only relevant information, users get the most current information that has been published. DWT’s search technology does not require indexing, as our technology accesses the original source of the content. As soon as it is published, it is accessible to DWT customers. Just as important is the access to multiple sources from a single interface, which enables articles from other sources of content to be compared, side by side, without jumping from one site to another.

Google has become the most popular search engine in the world. But popularity doesn’t always translate into quality, just take a look at prime time television.

 

FEDLINK Librarians – Federated Search is at Your Door

If you’re a FEDLINK librarian, you probably know Science.gov.  Perhaps you’re familiar with WorldWideScience.org, the E-Print Network or National Library of Energy.  What you may not know is that the technology behind all of those searches is yours truly, Deep Web Technologies.

AFRL Screenshot

Here is an example of our newest federal government library at Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland AFB.

DWT just made it a whole lot easier for FEDLINK libraries to provide a single search box for their patrons to access their subscription databases. Through FEDLINK, federal libraries can purchase DWT’s next generation Explorit Everywhere! federated search at a reduced price, bringing top-notch, intuitive features directly to their users.  With a focus on accessibility, ranking and speedy return of results, librarians can watch the queries roll in through our statistics module, or simply download metrics every month to show a successful ROI.

Ready to get started?  Check out our page on the Federal Library & Information Network Contracting/Vendor Products & Services pages.  We welcome your library to our “State of the Search”.

Another Happy Customer – New York Law Institute

Happy customers? That’s our specialty. Here is one: the oldest circulating law library in New York City, the New York Law Institute New York Law Institute
(NYLI).

In April, NYLI deployed their new, customized federated search to consolidate their holdings into a single search. Members can take the law…erm…search into their own hands by logging in from the NYLI home page to search both print and online resources.

We wanted to create a Google-like experience for our members. We realize that time is of the essence in today’s firms and anything that we can do to facilitate fast and seamless access to our resources is always our goal”, said Ralph Monaco, Executive Director, NYLI.

It was a pleasure to collaborate with NYLI for their new federated search!

Silos are Alive and Well

Question: “What do you think would increase iWorker productivity?”
Angele Boyd, a Guest Blogger for Xerox Blogs asks this in her post Simplifying Work – Why Don’t Companies Get It?.  The question follows on the heels of noting that the average productivity for iWorkers is about 65-75 percent. Information-Silos So where is the lost 25-35 percent?

Alas, enter our long lost (or not so lost) nemesis, the Silo. In fact, now there are two versions of silos – on-premise and cloud-based.  The influx of tracking systems, chat networks, and document repositories, means your silos are just as dispersed as ever.   Sadly, 55% of employees stress about how much time it takes to re-create lost documents, hibernating in their dark holes where no-one can find them.

The author mentions that there are no easy solutions to solve the problem of dispersed information, but we at Deep Web Technologies have a pretty good idea.

Smart companies that outperform their peers appreciate how technology can provide competitive advantage. These companies seek solution providers that will partner with them, starting with a needs assessment, followed by a strategic plan, implementation and continuous improvement.

Deep Web Technologies helps our clients large and small to assess their silos of information wherever they may be.  Our mission is not to consolidate the silos; indeed, that is a monumental effort and one best saved for a rainy year or two.  We simplify the process by searching your silos wherever they may be, in the cloud, behind the firewall, on the internet/intranet.  We provide a single, comprehensive search of your silos of information.  Take back your productivity and relax! We’ve got you covered.

In Search of the Best Search

A close second to hearing our customers rave about us is having a blogger rave about our public portals.  It’s like Wisconsin Law Journalgathering around a warm fireplace while a terrific snow storm rages outside, a scene many of us are familiar with on these cold, winter days.  When we ran across Bev Butula’s blog post on the Wisconsin Law Journal website “In Search of the Best Search”, our cheeks got a little rosier.

Bev suggests a handful of public, alternative search engines for legal research for when “Google is not immediately producing the best results.”  Indeed, with Google only retrieving about .03% of the information on the internet (the Shallow Web), you have to wonder if you ever really find the best results.  Easy, yes, but Best?

For some background, Deep Web Technologies has developed several public federated search portals to help educate others about the Deep Web (no, it’s not all Dark) as well as to show potential customers an example of what we can do.  Some of our customers have developed their own public search portals to distribute the staggering amount of information they have in their silos from a simple, easy-to-use interface.  While 99% of our applications are inaccessible to the public, we’re happy to claim our public “superstars.”

Of the 5 alternative search engines Bev listed, Deep Web Technologies is proud to be the technology behind 2 of them:

  • Science.gov – a federated search application hosted by OSTI that includes documents and information from federal websites.
  • Mednar.com – a medical research application that searches for full text on 60 sources.

There are, however, a few applications that Bev may not know about that offer the same “deep web” technology that might benefit her readers:

  • Environar.com – a deep web portal for research on Energy and the Environment.
  • National Library of Energy – the DOE’s National Resource for Energy Literacy, Innovation and Security.
  • Biznar.com - a federated search portal that aggregates social networks, financial sources, government sources, and news for business researchers.

A big thank you to Bev Butula for pointing out that we are not crippled when Google doesn’t give us what we want.  We just need to look deeper.

Sixty Seconds to Find the Right Article – Mount Carmel’s Story

We love it when our customers write about their search solution!  Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library (MCHSL) implemented their new federated search solution for a five-site hospital system and nursing college in October of 2012.  In October 2013, Mount Carmel published their initial review, titled “Implementation of a Federated Search in a Multi-Hospital System”, through the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA).

The most enthusiastic feedback that we have received was from a Mount Carmel College of Nursing instructor who used eSearcher to find articles for his course. He had allotted an hour in his schedule for the article search, but by using eSearcher his task was completed in sixty seconds! Other customer feedback has commended eSearcher’s authoritative results, fast response time, visual appeal, multiple filters, and overall presentation.

One very important aspect that Deep Web Technologies offers Mount Carmel (and all of our customers!) is a neutral search engine. Many of our competitors weight their own information sources to rank higher on the results list, skewing result ranking in their favor.  “Medical Searcher offered impartial and seamless access to almost all of our premier medical databases.”  

We hope that you are as successful as Mount Carmel Health Sciences Library in your searching!  And contact us if an impartial, strong search fits your needs.

Do Your Research – Seahawks vs. Broncos

DWT’s own, Frank Bilotto, comes to you live from New York City where the fans of the Seahawks and Broncos are gathering to watch Superbowl XLVIII at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.  See his take on how to educate yourself with Deep Web Technologies before the big game.

Happy New Year!

2014 has turned the corner and Deep Web Technologies is moving quickly toward some exciting goals.  Our developers are draining the java and pounding the keyboard to produce a new version of Explorit that will allow greater flexibility and more robust features.  We’re very excited to see the nimble and feature-rich product of much planning and work right around the corner.Happy New Year!

Throughout 2014, we’ll be lifting the veil on new features and functionality, some of which will automatically be included in our updated Explorit.  Other features will accompany customers with more specialized solutions. Here’s a sneak peek!

Multilingual Searching: We’ve had great success with Multilingual Searching in WorldWideScience.org, so we thought that we’d take our Multilingual searching to the next level by opening up the languages we can include.  Languages are complicated, and we’re taking Explorit to the next level to deal with that complexity.  Our multilingual searchers who want to find precise results translated from other languages into their language will find our updates very simple and easy to use.  

Mini-Explorit: Many of our customers have asked about getting a smaller “widgetized” version of Explorit for a page in their website.  Introducing…Mini-Explorit!  Mini-Explorit can sit on a webpage, search and show results quickly without going to the full application. It’s self-contained. With this new feature, we’ve got you covered for those fast homepage searches.

 My (Personal) Library: With the My Library feature, users can select results and save them to their My Library.  When they log out, their results will be saved, safe and snug, awaiting their return.  Of course, at any time, users can email, print, export or just keep saving their results. We’re not picky, and neither is our My Library.

Oh, there are plenty of other slick features coming down the pike.  Interested in knowing more about these and other features? Let us know!

Here’s hoping you find a fulfilling 2014!

Discovery Services: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It’s been 3 years now since the epic (I jest) showdown at the Charleston Conference between EDS and Summon, the EBSCO and ProQuest Discovery Services. I wrote extensively about these Discovery Services and the issues that they raise in one of our companies’ most popular blog articles:

Discovery Services: Over-Hyped and Under-Performed

Three years later a lot of the concerns that I raised are starting to be seen as real issues with Discovery Services by more and more peoplegood_bad_ugly and a plethora of blog articles have been published recently prompting me to inform our readers on what has been going on.

OK, so what good things can I say about Discovery Services. Discovery Services have become popular because they address issues with early generations of federated search products from competitors who shall remain nameless. Discovery Services return results quickly, and don’t have issues with connectors breaking, are perceived to be able to better rank results and are better able to filter results. Since I really don’t want to say too many good things about the competition let me point you to the following blog article which presents one of the most balanced reviews of Discovery Services that I have read:

8 Things we know about Web Scale Discovery systems in 2013

I would of course be remiss if I didn’t point out that our Explorit product is a next generation federated search product that has solved the issues with these early generation products. That’s the subject of another blog post.

Now for some of the bad. I’m going to focus on two areas: transparency and the “one shoe fits all”. Perhaps my biggest issue with Discovery Services is their lack of transparency. Discovery Services don’t make it easy (maybe impossible) to determine what content is in their index. Just because content from a particular publisher is included in their index, doesn’t mean that all content from that publisher is included in their index. Just because content from a particular journal is included in their index doesn’t mean that all content from that journal is included in their index. Recently I was speaking with a prospect who was evaluating Explorit vs. a Discovery Service and was surprised to find out that some specific physics content that was very important to them only went back 10 years. What about Discovery Services indexing meta-data only vs. meta-data and full-text. Do you know when full-text is indexed?

Discovery Services are aimed primarily at academic libraries. Their “one shoe fits all” approach means that it is hard for users to limit their searches to a particular set of content, e.g. engineering content, or music content or history content. Also, because of their “one shoe fits all” approach, Discovery Services are much less appropriate for specialized research areas such as medical research, legal research, energy research or pharmaceutical/life sciences research.

Now for the ugly. I’ve been writing and speaking at conferences for a while now on the issues that Discovery Services have, especially issues with being reliant on the relationships that they establish with content owners for what content they are able get into their indices and what content they are not able to get into their indices.

So just a few weeks ago Thomson Reuters, publisher of the popular database Web of Science, announced that they were pulling Web of Science content from all the major Discovery Services. Although, at least for now, Thomson Reuters backed-off this decision, Thomson Reuters highlighted one of the ugly things about Discovery Services, that they lack control of what goes into their services. I wrote about this in the recent blog post:

There’s Another Chink in the Discovery Services’ Armor

Continuing with the ugly, it is really problematic that the two major Discovery Services are companies that fiercely compete for libraries’ database subscription budgets and thus have no interest in including their competitor’s content in their index and when they reluctantly do so EBSCO will make sure that ProQuest and Gale content will rank low in EDS and ProQuest will make sure that their competitor’s content ranks low in Summon. Back in 2010 I wrote a blog article:

If Google might be doing it …

which addresses the concerns that every librarian should have with the lack of vendor neutrality by the Discovery Services.

Ed Chamberlain, a librarian in the UK laments on the problem that Discovery Services’ owners don’t play nice with each other in the recent blog article:

Discovery Vendors and pre-indexed data. What can be done?

Also you might want to read the following editorial asking Discovery Services to play nice:

Discovering Reciprocity

In conclusion, enough concerns have been raised about Discovery Services that NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, has recently released a draft recommended practice as part of their Open Discovery Initiative:

Promoting Transparency in Discovery