Google Scholar to index Proquest content

Proquest will work with Google Scholar to enable indexing of its full text.

ProQuest and Google collaborate with full text indexing, Proquest (March 24)

“ProQuest will enable the full text of its scholarly journal content to be indexed in Google Scholar, improving research outcomes. Work is underway and the company anticipates that by the third-quarter of 2015, users starting their research in Google Scholar will be able to access scholarly content via ProQuest.”

Google getting smarter

The job of the search engine marketer gets more difficult by the day. The factors Google uses for ranking results are increasingly complex. Long gone is the day the search engine ranked on frequency of words, proximity of words, and links (etc). Nate Dane, in this piece, observes – firstly, that Google makes fewer announcements about algorithmic changes and with less fanfare; and secondly, that Google through investment in AI is getting “smarter”.

They Fooled Us All: Why Google May No Longer Announce Major Algorithm Updates, Search Engine Land (March 27)

Blekko Farewell

Blekko, a modest-sized search engine with a distinctive approach to indexing curated sites, has been taken over by IBM Watson. Blekko’s volunteers identified quality sites (thereby keeping out spam) and classified them using #slashtags – and searchers used those tags for more exact searches. There was more to it – and it is likely the “more” that IBM Watson wanted for its work in cognitive computing.

“Blekko brings advanced Web-crawling, categorization and intelligent filtering technology. Its technology crawls the Web continually and gathers information from the most highly relevant and most credible Web pages. It uses classification techniques to create thousands of topical categories, making that data more useful and insightful.”

[From Data, Data Everywhere – Now a better way to understand it, Building a smarter planet, March 27]

Matt McGee at Search Engine Land gives a recap of Blekko’s short live, 2008 to the present.  Goodbye Blekko: Search Engine Joins IBM’s Watson Team

For the Birds

Northern Mockingbird Songbird

Northern Mockingbird Songbird (Source: Pixabay)

Bird populations are in alarming decline – songbirds especially – as we see in CBC’s Nature of Things program on SongbirdSOS (March 2015). We have lost nearly half of songbirds in the last 50 years. The episode is available online along with supplementary information on what action we can take.

There are several excellent websites for learning more about birds – whether aspects of birding through field guides and tutorials, or the urgent need today to protect birds and their habitat.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a good starting point for bird lovers of every age and knowledge level – especially its section on All About Birds. The main Cornell website also has tutorials, news, and videos for free viewing, and some learning resources for sale.

Audubon is all about birds and birding – news, projects, magazine, conservation, advocacy. It provides THE Field Guide to North American birds. Those in the United States can join a local Audubon chapter.

Bird Studies Canada advances “the understanding, appreciation and conservation of Canada’s wild birds and their habitats.” BSC is based in Port Rowan in Ontario and has regional offices across Canada. It issues a monthly e-newsletter, the quarterly Bird Watch Canada, and occassional studies. The newsletter will keep you informed of events, surveys, new studies, and opportunities for volunteering.

eBird Canada partners with Bird Studies Canada to provide a means for participants to record their bird observations through a real-time, online checklist program.

Boreal Songbird Initiative focuses on protecting the North American Boreal forest for birds and wildlife. The boreal forest in Canada’s north is “North America’s bird nursery” that are essential for migratory birds. The BSI aim is to conserve at least 50% of this forest. It is currently running a program to gain widespread support for Boreal Birds Need Half.

I hope that this short resource list will help us all appreciate birds more and do what we can to halt the population decline.

Google’s Knowledge Card Patent

Google had developed the means to identify and employ entity analysis at least as far back as 2013 as this posting by Bill Slawski shows. The purpose of the patent he describes is to “to provide a factual response to a query showing different aspects related to a ‘single conceptual entity.'”

Google’s Knowledge Cards by Bill Slawski, SEO by the SEA (Mar 18)

Knowledge cards assemble “name, description, image, facts and related searches.”

Getting past barriers

Hola - a great Chrome or Firefox browser extension for accessing  web sites that would otherwise be blocked based on your IP number. A WebSearchGuide reader sent me this tip. Hola makes it possible to access Google.com from outside the United States and view anonymously (ie privately) the search results complete with in-depth articles – a feature still not rolled out to the rest of the world. Canadians will also appreciate that it  makes it possible to receive music played from US-based services.

From the FAQ:

Hola’s goal is to make the Internet faster and fully accessible to everyone. Install Hola on your PC, phone or tablet to make your Internet faster, more open and more anonymous. Hola lets you have unlimited access to information that is otherwise not available in your geography while protecting your online privacy. It also lets you stream videos faster than ever before. Hola is a collaborative Internet — it works by sharing the idle resources of its users for the benefit of all.

Worth taking some time to try out.

Snowden Archive Built by Canadian Team

Bravo – “A Canadian team has created a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in hopes it’ll help citizens better understand the complex files trickling out around the world. ”   Two principal agents were  the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. Through their work, the database holds 386 indexed and searchable publically released documents and some supplementary documents. More will be added as they become available.

Edward Snowden archive aims to ‘piece together the bigger picture’, CBC News (Mar 4)

The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression is hosting the Snowden Archive website.

This was launched on March 4 at Ryerson University with a live Q and A with Edward Snowden and a panel discussion moderated by CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti.  See Snowden Live: Canada and the Security State for background and video recording.

Canadians might like to browse for Communications Security Establishment Canada under Creating Agency.