DMOZ at 18 Years

Dmoz – the Open Directory – has a new look. The new front page uses icons as well as words to mark the categories. Scrolling down the page is now responsive in highlighting selected items. As stated in its Happy Birthday notice, DMOZ has been a volunteer-run directory for 18 years. The category structure at DMOZ is one of its best features and the subject categories alone can be an excellent introduction to a topic. It claims to hold 3.9 million “sites” now, and has 91,340 editors. Its main weakness is that it is next to impossible to keep the lists fresh and the links up-to-date. But it has survived where others haven’t – even the mighty Yahoo Directory folded. I wish dmoz well.

Your privacy settings at Google

Google has made it easier to review the information that Google displays about you – and for you to change the detail.

Search on your name to see a small knowledge panel with the profile information and a button to update the profile. Also sign into your Google accound and click on your name in upper right to get to a full page in reasonably clear English on Google’s policy, and to My Account where you can easily turn public into private.

Googling yourself will soon lead to personal privacy controls, Michael Liedtke, AP via Globe and Mail (Jun 2)

Google Patents for Display

Search today is less about keywords and more about entities as is made clear (again) in this examination by Barbara Starr of Google patents.
Structured Data & The SERPs: What Google’s Patents Tell Us About Ranking In Universal Search (Search Engine Land, May 29)

Google packs into search results knowledge panels, answers, images. Much of this derives from use of structured data and identification of entities involved. One patent quoted notes that, “In some implementations, search results are retrieved from a data structure. In some implementations, the data structure also contains data regarding relationships between topics, links, contextual information, and other information related to the search results that the system may use to determine the ranking metrics.”

Starr describes with examples four entity-specific metrics. “The patent provides strong evidence that semantic web technology is being used as background context for the definitions of the metrics and the environment in which they are framed.”

Lastly, we learn that thare are “different algorithms for different screen areas”; ie., different displays for different devices.

New Search Filters at DuckDuckGo

Bravo for DuckDuckGo – it is adding search filters to help searchers, and has done so through its partnership with Yahoo. (Which makes us wonder about its partnership with Bing.)

DuckDuckGo adds date filters & sitelinks to search eatures, Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Land (Jun 2)

“Searchers can now filter the search results by date, and searchers will now also see sitelinks for some of the top search results.”

Also see DDG blog – New Features from a Stronger Yahoo Partnership

Title tag at Google

Who knew display of the title tag in search engine results could be so complicated?  Dr Peter Meyers has figured it out in Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition.(May 31)

Bottom line – if you’re writing title tags on your web pages, keep to 60 characters; if you are a searcher be aware that Google makes some adjustments. Google will break a title at a whole word (this is good), but sometimes modifies a title by appending the brand name at the end (which may or may not be helpful).

Jurn for academic research

When searching for academic materials consider a search engine developed by David Haden in the UK. It is powered by Google Custom Search of freely available academic articles and theses in the disciplines of Arts, Humanities, Business, Law, Nature, Science, and Medical.

“Established in 2009 to comprehensively cover the arts and humanities, in 2014 JURN expanded in scope. JURN now also covers selected university fulltext repositories and many additional ejournals in science, biomedical, business and law. In 2015/6 JURN expanded again, adding over 600 ejournals on aspects of the natural world.”

The site has good instructions on syntax and strategies to use. Sources have been classified so that you can browse topics to identify the classification of 3000 of the 4000 e-journals.

The curator also provides a guide to academic search that contains excellent advice and examples.

Jurn was recently recommended in the May 2016 edition of The BestBizWeb Enewsletter.

“… one of the features that makes JURN special is that it also incorporates curation, so the materials in the database are carefully selected to include the most substantive and relevant free academic and scholarly resources. “

Subscribe to BestBizWeb to benefit from its selections every month.

Daily Dispatches


For news analysis and extended coverage of current affairs nothing beats the daily newsletter by email. Tweets are too short, and Facebook postings too overwhelming. Here are a few e-newsletters to consider.

The Economist – Daily Dispatch  delivers headline and paragraph from four stories a day of international interest. It’s short and focused.  This newsletter is available for free to registered users as are  Editor’s Picks, and New on the The non-paying user may view three articles a week.  The paying subscriber has full access to content and more choice in newsletters.  Locate the choices through the subscribe button in your user account – the “newsletters” tab. ee The Economist newsletters.

Bloomberg’s newsletter has top business stories and a couple of articles that examine an issue or topic. It’s good if all you need is a sampling. Simply sign up on the front page of the web site for “the best of Bloomberg delivered to your inbox daily” – no fee, no registration required.

CNW – Canada Newswire – a PR Newswire Company – helps you pick up press and news releases on Canadian companies and industries you wish to follow. The e-newsletter has been redesigned to show on all devices and include images.

Most newspapers offer subscription newsletters – sometimes for free, and certainly to paying customers.

Whatever your interest, you are likely to find a newsletter through a website that will keep you informed.