Beyond Search, which is a a 10-year-old publication that focuses on enterprise search and content processing, is changing its focus to cover products and services related to voice-centric information access by introducing a new blog, Beyond Alexa. Stephen E. Arnold writes: “The idea is that Alexa has become an interesting product niche, but the impact of voice-related information access is now changing rapidly. Frankly it is more dynamic than the decades old keyword search business.” I couldn’t agree more. He also states: “Since early 2008, we have tracked the keyword centric approach to finding and making sense of information. Our changing focus reflects the fact that I wrote about years ago in Searcher Magazine. Keyword search linked to a keyboard, if not dead, was headed for marginalization…We think there’s more ‘beyond’ Alexa. We want to explore the new world of ubiquitous and Teflon-slick information access.” For a related post, please see Voice Search is Growing and is Different Than Keywords in a Search Box.
An interesting new Pew Research Center survey finds that a majority of Americans feel that information overload is a not problem for them and that they “are comfortable with their abilities to cope with information flows in their day-to-day lives.” In addition, owners of more devices “feel more on top of the data and media flows in their lives.” Findings also suggest that information overload is more situational: “Specific situations may arise, such as when institutions impose high information demands on people for transactions, which create a sense of information burden for some Americans.”
Here is a really great Infographic that shows how search engines like Google and Bing work in 2016 from SEO Book. This quote is excellent: “The philosophy of modern search has thus moved away from starting with information and connecting it to an audience, to starting with the user and customizing the result page to them.”
NPR’s Guide to 2015’s Great Reads is not only informative, but is also visually a delight. The Guide is produced by Nicole Cohen, Rose Friedman, Petra Mayer and Beth Novey. When landing on the site, you can scroll to look at all 260 titles via their book covers. Filters can be used to explore the 260 titles that “NPR staff and critics loved this year.” (You can also combine filters!) These filters represent 29 categories. Hovering over the cover shows a quote from the recommender and a link to the full recommendation. Here are a few interesting business/technology related titles not seen (as much) on other lists:
“Only a world-class iconoclast would take on media’s biggest slab of conventional wisdom: that television will soon be killed by digital platforms.” – recommended by Eric Deggans, critic, Arts Desk
“The Dark Net is a meticulously researched and reported look at the hidden world of cryptocurrency, anonymous Web browsing and online subcultures.” – recommended by David Eads, Visuals staff
“Randall Monroe — the former NASA roboticist behind the beloved xkcd webcomic — breaks down complex stuff into simple terms … really simple terms.” – recommended by Beth Novey, Arts Desk staff
“Laura Vanderkam is a best-selling productivity author with four children, and her book is a bracingly practical corrective to the hand-wringers about women, success and having it all.” -recommended by Anya Kamenetz, blogger, NPR Ed
Nikhil Sonnad, a reporter for Quartz, has written a great article that details how the creators of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) have solved the problem of “how to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers.” The online SEP was launched in 1995 by Edward Zalta (Stanford’s Center for the Study of Language and Information). Zalta, in a paper written in 2002, succinctly stated the main challenge when providing information via the information age:
A fundamental problem faced by the general public and the members of an academic discipline in the information age is how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic.
This statement illustrates “if the goal is to share with people what is true, it is extremely important for a resource to have all of these things. The three requirements the authors list—’authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date’—are to information what the “impossible trinity” is to economics.”
Basically, where other encyclopedias fall short:
- Printed books are authoritative, but not up-to-date, nor comprehensive
- A crowdsourced online encyclopedia is timely, but not authoritative, nor comprehensive
- The question-and-answer wiki, or “crowdsourced + voting” model is slightly more authoritative, but not as up-to-date, nor comprehensive
For the SEP to achieve authority, subject editors, responsible for broad areas, identify the topics that need to be covered. Qualified philosophers are then invited to write entries on those topics. An executive editorial board ensures that the encyclopedia is comprehensive. Each entry is expected to “contain the freshest possible information and research on a topic.” In four years, or earlier if needed, the author is expected to provide a new, updated entry.
Stanford pays for most of the costs. Contributors donate their time for several reasons, the main one being to simply “further the enterprise of philosophy by creating a place to better understand it.”
Gary Price, writing for INFOdocket (Library Journal) highlights findings from a new report from Pew Internet on the impact of the Web in the last 25 years. “This first report looks back at the rapid change in internet penetration over the last quarter century, and covers new survey findings about Americans’ generally positive evaluations of the internet’s impact on their lives and personal relationships.”
From Pew’s Susannah Fox and Lee Rainie: This report is the first part of a sustained effort through 2014 by the Pew Research Center to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Lee wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web. He eventually released the code for his system—for free—to the world on Christmas Day in 1990. It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over a network of computers called the internet—a system that linked computers and that had been around for years. The Web became especially appealing after Web browsers were perfected in the early 1990s to facilitate graphical displays of pages on those linked computers.
Concerning overall judgement about the impact, “90% of internet users say the internet has been a good thing for them personally and only 6% say it has been a bad thing, while 3% volunteer that it has been some of both.”
Click here to read the report.
Thank you Edward Vawter for posting this on LinkedIn.