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July 30, 2003 08:48 AM Information Retrieval  |   Link
Networked Information & the Government

I'm totally confused. We want all information networked in some way through publishers, internal networks, the web, but when the government tries to do their job in protecting us we are up and arms about what kind of access they have to searching. Yes in certain cases some could be abusing the access to all that information, but just think of all the bad people out there using networked resources for fraudulant activities. There is always a risk for putting everything online. This article in Wired News _Federal Data Searches on Hit List_ is pretty interesting. The solution as mentioned in the article is to formulate better policies for how that information is gathered and used.

I learned alot during my Florence trip about how US Passports are issued and the level of necessary background check is required to issue even temporary/emergency passports. Knowing that the level of information is required to protect all of us, made me feel better. In that context, it made sense that background checks protect me.

So how does this relate to Information Retrieval, well since 9/11 the government is really pushing the technology for IR and data mining tools. There is this very important need to make sure that information is accessible to many government agencies so that analysts can make the connections for potential threats to the US. Whoa! Sounds big, and there are flaws...lots of the systems where the information is housed are not up to date, there is little or no metadata standardization across these systems, and who is to say that the data is even "true." I will probably monitor these types of stories because it's bound to produce lots of great search technology in the coming years.

July 24, 2003 07:35 PM Information Architecture  |   Link
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

A combination of various professional organizations(ACM and IEEE) talking about digital libraries from technical infrastructure, metadata, taxonomies, and search.

Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

They are already soliciting for JCDL 2004 proposals.
JCDL 2004 | Tucson, AZ | June 7-11, 2004

July 21, 2003 09:21 AM Information Retrieval  |   Link
Good explanation of "Google Dance"

The Google Dance finally explained By: Serge Thibodeau , 07-21-2003 in Internet Search Engine Database

It just pretty much reminds you that there's true point to companies who claim to help optimize your site for search engines. Coming back to Karl Fast's presentation at IA Summit 2003, search engines are just like people, they look at your content and click on all the links on your site...as long as you write your content well for your users, there should be no need to hire search optimization companies for better placement.

Information Retrieval  |   Link
Amazon to provide full text search of books

Just read in NYTimes, "Amazon Plan Would Allow Searching Texts of Many Books"(free registration required).

This is really fascinating news. Just imagine if they are successful in negotiating access to the actual content of all the books they already have in their catalog. There are definitely issues, like having to secure the access to the full text content, a business model(like subscriptions) for allowing portions of the text to be accessible online. I can see publishers benefiting from this as well with perhaps some micropayments, greater access for their potential readers.

One of the shortcomings of our basic library catalogs, is that there is a definite separation of physical and online. What Amazon plans to do will probably effect how people do their research for homework, evaluate for purchasing a book online, and who knows whatever else.

I wonder what search technology they are planning to use. We already know that a parametric search technology(with good metadata) defintiely differs from full-text searching of unstructured information.

July 14, 2003 08:38 AM Information Retrieval  |   Link
Yahoo buys Overture

My gosh...up until now I thought Overture was planning to be on its own to dominate the search sphere after acquiring AltaVista and Fast...but it looks like it was just some behind the scene ploy.

I saw this in NY Times today

Yahoo to Buy Overture in $1.6 Billion Deal (Free Registration Required)

Why does this matter? For the most part as an end-user knowing that I have choices in the selection of using a variety of search engines is great, but when your choice narrows down to only a handful, I don't feel like I'm getting true access to richness of the Internet. Overture already has FAST & Altavista, Yahoo just purchased Inktomi...so who are the players now? And it seems that only a few years ago many were huffing and puffing about Microsoft taking over the browser war and all things monopoly-like.

July 10, 2003 04:05 PM Cars  |   Link
Best of 2 Worlds: Spas & Race Car Driving

Dreaming of my next next vacation is going to marry the best of both my favorite worlds: Day Spas & Race Car Driving.

"Race Car Driving at Château Élan, Braselton, Georgia

Attention, thrill seekers. Live your Paul Newman fantasy, the one about car racing, not making salad dressing, at Panoz Racing School. Licensed drivers who qualify after an intensive drill on a practice course are suited and booted, then get in a GT-RA (the new spec-GT race car) and zoom around a 2.5-mile Grand Prix track, with elevations, 90-degree turns, and blind corners, at up to 150 mph. Such excitement costs $550 for one day, $975 for two, with instructors who include current and former champions. Book well in advance, and arrange for spa treatments afterward. You will have earned them."

Excerpt from SpaFinder.com

Whine  |   Link
Recovering & Reving Up

I guess I can't complain about being busy when I've just returned from a wonderful and relaxing trip to Florence. It was a great time to reflect on life, write poetry, spend time with my friend, and figure out what I should do with my life.

But I have to whine, it's the point of this site. I have a ton of weddings coming up and I am just so excited, I'm also anxious and I'm still recovering from the jet-lag...it's all going to feel like jet-lag again...dios mio!

Sandra & Wade
July 12, 2003
Portala Valley, CA

Leslie & Phil
August 2, 2003
Woodside, CA

Kirstin & Tom
September 20, 2003
Sonoma, CA

Joan & Paul
November 22, 2003
Paris, France