Digital Culture

Fred = Superstar

As if we needed more proof that SILS own Fred Stutzman was quickly becoming an academic superstar, he drops the news that he was invited to speak at Google about his Facebook research.

The video is, of course, available online.

Great stuff from Fred, who has definitely found his academic niche, and is doing fascinating stuff in it. Between ClaimID and Facebook, he is definitely becoming an authority on online identity creation and evaluation.

Digital Culture

Microsoft Vs Google, Round 5238423

From Arstechnica:

Microsoft, in an attempt to spread the word about Windows Live, has struck a deal with 72 colleges all across the world. And what is this said deal? The colleges have agreed to let Microsoft host their student’s e-mail accounts.

Windows Live@edu, as the service is called, will allow university students to keep their existing e-mail addresses but use Windows Live Mail as their client. Better yet, students won’t have to deal with ads because Microsoft has agreed to turn them off for those specific accounts, at least until the students graduate.

Google has already done this with one school…MS just hit 72. How do we feel about for-profit, publically held corporations taking over infrastructure duties of public universities? I am more than a little wary of these sorts of deals…

Digital Culture

Microsoft Academic Live Search

Today, Microsoft launched their answer to Google Scholar: Microsoft Academic Live Search. It’s an interesting product, but clearly young. Google Scholar is much larger (Academic Live currently only indexes a few scientific sources), and seems to have more integration with libraries. But the interface for Academic Live is much better, from a librarian’s point of view. Here’s a quick roundup of the important differences:

  • Academic Live allows sorting of results…Google Scholar only sorts by relevance
  • Academic Live has a much better interface, and allows customization of what you see…Google Scholar does not
  • Academic Live has built in support for citation managers like EndNote…Google Scholar doesn’t
  • Academic Live does a very poor job of letting you know if a paper is available freely, or via library subscription…Google Scholar is far ahead in this area

In all, it’s nice to see some competition, even if it is from the evil empire. Librarians will definitely have to keep an eye on this, and see how we can integrate it into our search strategies. Things I’d like to see:

  • RSS feeds for common searches…Google does it for News, why not Scholar?
  • Live Bibliography: using GreaseMonkey or some other client side script, enable an automatic search of information in a bibliography of a paper…being able to look at a bibliography, and link out of it to another Google Scholar search would be amazing

Last thought: in the FAQ, Microsoft Academic Live suggests that if a library is interested in getting their OpenURL resolver attached to Academic Live, they contact their link resolver company. This strikes me as a completely unrealistic expectation. We’re supposed to drop our provider a line, and then expect them to provide Microsoft with our IP range? Seems easier to do it the Google way, and have each school contact Google if they want listing.

Digital Culture

Google Trusted Tester

Check this out….Google has a private alpha tester network of people invited by current Google employees. The Trusted Tester program can be seen as a login option here, and there’s a Tester FAQ online here. Interesting to know how the first draft of stuff gets looked at. Would be really interesting to see all the different things they have tested, but never make it to public beta.

Anybody out there wanna invite me along for the ride? đŸ™‚