"I certainly never write a review about a book I don't think worth reviewing, a flat-out bad book, unless it's an enormously fashionable bad book." --
says, John Gardner in Conversations with John Gardner
Quoted from 'Dictionary of Library and Information Science Quotations'     Edited by Mohamed Taher & L S Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423 (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) p.150. Available @ Amazon.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Information literacy books -- Is there a saturation in this genre?

Reading now: Information Literacy Instruction that Works: A Guide to Teaching by Discipline and Student Population, Second Edition by Patrick Ragains (Editor)
Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2d ed. ISBN: 9781555708603. 2013, 342 pages. $85.00 paperback.

Any reader of this Information literacy (IL) book may ask “Do we need yet another book on the best practices in IL?” The answer is not given in the book. Compared to two pages about its content organization, there is no clearly stated objective of this anthology, or a justification for the need of this book, given the fact that there are many competitors today that ‘help the students.’Many librarians struggle to  deliver benefits with a focus on: a) users/readers and b) cost effective. On both these fronts, the book in hand is not a good fit. Considering a ROI is necessary for every one, a fact that must be remembered by every author and publisher is that there are already so many titles in this genre, and an increasing number of competitors today that ‘help the students.’ According to a list by informationliteracy.org.uk there are over thirty books (2008 to 2012), and tends to show the near saturation of the genre.More such lists are: INFORMATION LITERACY BOOKS  / ALA'sTeaching & Learning Information Literacy Skills: Textbooks  /  Popular Information Literacy Books - Goodreads

Assessment of the actual task, the most wanted item by IL librarians, will find it only in the case relating to the disciplines of Psychology (Chapter 12), Engineering (Chapter 16). Whereas, other selected disciplines will have inferences and indirect reference to what works.

Futher, comparative librarianship would expect all the selected studies/caes to be from similar settings (or from one level of institutions within an academic sample). Where as the 17 contributors of this anthology tell a different story--4 are in Colleges and 13 in Universities). More details about the contributors herein indicates another story about the levels of specialization.  The job title, Instruction (per se), is only in the case of one college and two university level librarians. Others are either aadministrators or faculty status holders.  

The strength of the book is in its twenty chapters, with selections-specific discussions  from humanities and social sciences. It is divided into four sections, viz., Planning to Teach; Teaching Specific Student Groups; Literacy in Specific Disciplines; and Teaching Special Topics. A weakness of the book is in its random selection of subjects that are tempered by the availability of contributors.

One single instance, may make this book different from the others. The following quote illustrates this highly desired momentum in all our IL theory, practices and the genre. "There is also an increasing recognition that students must move beyond scientific and technical expertise in these fields and develop an understanding of the cultural, social, aesthetic, and political aspects of scientific issues... This shift reflects the necessity of interdisciplinarity that integrates the social sciences and humanities with the sciences, creataing a holistic approach to scientific research" (Elizabeth Berman, Scientific Literacy, p. 217). Does the entire book reflect this intent or motif, anyways??? Nope. All other discussions sail in the same old boat of disciplinary approaches.

There is no explanation of why included are, stray areas, such as, Patent Research (and why not include standards' search, or how to search primary sources, as well) or subject domains, such as, Engineering (presented as a single monolithic domain, a fashion in 19th century), and why there is a namesake ‘discussion’ of science literacy (again as if science is still a single subject of study). Subjects then missing (even from humanities and social sciences) are sociology, social work, political science, public admin, religion, and philosophy. Hence, it is not a book that can be recommended for every type of library. Nevertheless, this book may be of value in the library of major library schools in  the US, that have a course on information literacy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank -- Do they? Is this ranking global or local?

Who's Bigger?: Where Historical Figures Really Rank by Professors Steven Skiena  and  Charles Ward.

In identifying the most significant figures in human history the authors measure the impact of opinions. Thus the book, is a quantitative (aka metric) 'study' of opinions. Period. The ranking is based on a sample of the World's selected online resources, based on their format (i.e., web-based). It is not a rank by size of literature produced by a scholarly body or by historical period of occurrence or any other benchmarks of quantitative studies.

Summarily, this book is ranking of figures in human history by way of measuring the impact on opinions. WHEREAS, anyone who values facts, will not go near heresy/opinions/impressions/likes/dislikes, etc. Moreover a select sample of the Web, that includes the Wiki and similar community sources (attributed by academics as by and large anonymous, unreliable, and volatile nature), cannot be a means of a study to rank the sages of the ages. People who are looking at this pseudo-ranking approach, are getting excited that someone gets Top Rank. Is s/he really at the same NUMBER (based on the rule: What You See Is What You Get/vice versa, aka WYSIWYG/WYGIWYS) among the great historical figures??? Think twice, go check FACTS, and don't make historical judgments, based on opinions of Facebookers, Tweeters, clickers, likers, so on and so forth.

Hence, in deciding the place of historical figures, one must be careful. An Amazon's reviewer says: "Please don't buy this book. ...." [source: elmo]. In short,  opinions don't count, it is facts that are supposed to be used for ranking, and I would still recommend, The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History by Michael H. Hart.

Book Description: 

Is Hitler bigger than Napoleon? Washington bigger than Lincoln? Picasso bigger than Einstein? Quantitative analysts are rapidly finding homes in social and cultural domains, from finance to politics. What about history? In this fascinating book, Steve Skiena and Charles Ward bring quantitative analysis to bear on ranking and comparing historical reputations. They evaluate each person by aggregating the traces of millions of opinions, just as Google ranks webpages. The book includes a technical discussion for readers interested in the details of the methods, but no mathematical or computational background is necessary to understand the rankings or conclusions...

The 100 Most Significant Figures in History (first 25 ranked)
(image courtesy: miketrap.com/bostonglobe.com)

On the same shelf:

  • Who’s Biggest? The 100 Most Significant Figures in History ... ideas.time.com "A data-driven ranking. Plus, have former TIME People of the Year been predictive?" 
  •   The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History (Arabic Edition) Anis Mansour
  • The Film 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in the History of the Movies Scott Smith
  • LIFE 100 People Who Changed the World (Life (Life Books)) Editors of Life
  • The 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived: How Characters of Fiction, Myth, Legends, Television, and Movies Have Shaped Our Society, Changed Our Behavior, and Set the Course of History Dan Karlan
  • Friday, November 29, 2013

    The Librarian's Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals

    The Librarian's Skillbook: 51 Essential Career Skills for Information Professionals Authored by Deborah Hunt (MLS, ECMp), and David Grossman (MLS, MBA). Information Edge (2013) ISBN: 0989513319

    “Having the right skills is a critical component for landing a new job or any type of career advancement. Librarians and information professionals possess many marketable and transferable skills that can easily equip them to pursue a wide range of information-based jobs or start a new career in one of many related fields within or beyond the library world, such as Archives Management, Digital Asset Management, Knowledge Management, Records Management or Web Site Design." [source: ATG Book of the Week]

    The skills presented in The Librarian’s Skillbook are divided into six broad categories:
    1. Computer/Technical Skills
    2. Beyond Reference Skills
    3. Business and Management Skills
    4. Interpersonal Skills
    5. Attitude Skills
    6. Intangible Skills [source: createspace.com]

    What others say:
    “This book is a roadmap to your future as an information professional. The unspoken theme of this work is that transformational librarianship is the goal. What do we need to do so that we make ourselves essential, valuable, and hirable so that we can make the difference we want to see in the world? If you find yourself frustrated, confused or adrift at this point in your career, try the ideas outlined here. As part of a community of information professionals who are committed to making a difference with their lives, the wisdom and plan outlined in this book provide an excellent start.  Go. Engage. Develop.” — Stephen Abram
    “A must read for those who want to be more employable whether as librarians or in outside jobs.” – Naomi House, Editor, Publisher and Founder, INALJ.com (I Need a Library Job blog)
    “This should be a required text in any Library Science program and for seasoned professionals interested in greater job security or a change in pace.” – Chris Vestal, Government Consultant, LexisNexis
    “Deb Hunt and David Grossman have contributed a very important work to the whole field of career management for all professional knowledge workers," says Guy St. Clair, President, SMR International and Knowledge Strategy Specialist, Columbia University.
    AIIP President Jocelyn Sheppard concurs, adding, "More than half of the members of our association hold library and information science degrees. We applaud Deb Hunt and David Grossman for highlighting the potential benefits of an independent info pro career." ...Continue readingprweb.com

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Library Web Sites : Practical Considerations and Research Completed

    Library's have their own websites. Most libraries started a Web presence with a library catalog/catalogue.

    How good is their look and feel, how value-added is their content and how nicely designed [re: World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)'s standards on usability] are these?  Are they as cool as Google and as tempting? One may find the answer in the following:
    • Building an Academic Library Website: Experiences and challenges at IISER Mohali. By RAJESHWAR MISHRA and MALLIKARJUN ANGADI,  Journal of Indian Library Association 2011, 47(1) 5-10
    Cited sources:
    [1] R. W. Ongus, T. D. Kemparaju, and C.M. Nyamboga, “Evaluation of University Websites Targeting English Speaking Users: A Comparative Analysis Of Selected Sites In Developed And Developing Countries”, Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, vol 11, 2, pp. 61-74, 2006.
    [2] Mignon Adams, and Richard M. Dougherty, “How useful is your Homepage? A quick and practical approach to evaluating a library’s website”, College and Research Libraries News, vol 63, 8, pp. .590-92, 2002
    [3] Charles Belangar, Joan Mount and Mathew Wilson, “Institutional image and retention”, Tertiary education and management, vol 8, 3, p. 217, 2002.
    [4] L.A. Clyde, “The Library as Information Provider: The Home Page”, The Electronic Library, vol 14, 6, pp.549-558, 1996
    [5] Sherry Piontek and Kristen Garlock, “Creating a World Wide Web Resource Collection”, Internet Research, vol 6, 4, pp. 20-26, 1996
    [6] Pamela Harpel-Burke, “Library homepage design at medium-sized universities: A comparison to commercial homepages via Nielsen and Tahir”, OCLC Systems & Services, vol 21, 3, pp.193 – 208, 2005
    [7] Rozic-Hristovski, Anamarija and Dimitar Hristovski Ljupco Todorovski, “Developing a medical library website at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia”, Program: electronic library and information systems, vol 33, 4, pp. 313-325, 1999
    [8] R. Raward, “Academic library Website design principles: development of a checklist”, Australian Academic & Research Libraries, vol 32, 2, 2001 Available at http://www.alia.org.au/publishing/aarl/raward.html [inactive link]; see, the Checklist
    [9] M. Stover, “Library Web sites: mission and function in the networked Organisation”, Computer in Libraries, vol 17, pp. 55-7, 1997 
    [10]Mark Stove and Steven D. Zink, “World Wide Web Home Page Design: Patterns and Anomalies of  Higher Education Library Home Pages”, Reference Services Review, vol 24, pp. 7-20, 1996
    On the same shelf:
    •  The Mission and Role of the Library Web Site, Mark Stover
    • Linda Main. Building Websites for a Multinational Audience. Scarecrow Press, 2002. Information Processing and Management, 40, 2004, 583-585. [reviewed by Dr. Mohamed Taher]
    • Content and Workflow Management for Library Websites: Case Studies, Holly Yu (Ed.), Idea Group Inc, Hershey, PA, 2005 (259pp.) International Journal of Information Management, Volume 27, Issue 1, February 2007, Pages 59-60 [reviewed by Dr. Mohamed Taher]
    • Melody Y. Ivory. Automated Web Site Evaluation: Researchers' and Practitioners' Perspectives. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003.Information Processing and Management, Jan2007, Vol. 43 Issue 1, p. 288-290 [reviewed by Dr. Mohamed Taher]
    • UContent: The Information Professional's Guide to User-Generated Content, By Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo, Information Today, Inc. (2012), ISBN-13: 978-1573874250.
    • Hock, R. (2002, September/October). A new era of search engines: Not just web pages anymore. Online, 26(5), 31.
    • Janowski, A. (2005). Instant web sites! (Just add content). School Library Journal, 51(1), 50-52.
    • Sauers, M. P. (2006). Blogging and RSS:  A librarian’s guide.  Medford, NJ:  Information Today

    • Vesey, K. ( 2004). Building a better clicks-and-mortar library. Library Media Connection, 22(7). 
    • Young, T. (2002). The weakest link: Library catalogs. Book Report, 20(4), 6-14.

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    One for the Books, by Joe Queenan

    This is not a book to rhyme with 'one for my master...' It is also not just a  book about the author's taste-buds. It is much more and quite different from the other existing histories of reading, histories of books, and histories of bibliophiles. However, this is also not a book that will be on the desk of every researcher of the history of books, historians of bookstores and book-shelf. Why will it not be? Because among other reasons it is from the pen of a journalis, and this is true with many who report in the media (with malice towards none), probably they don't feel the importance of  citing or referencing. In short, the entire book simply lacks citations and bibliographic sources relating to facts, figures, etc. Read more here: Fareed Zakaria says many journalists don't attribute quotations ...

    Just one example from the first opening sentence of CHAPTER ONE (to feel the pulse):  "The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds this more than sufficient." [page 1].  And a reviewer says both about the facts and figures, in a best manner:

    "Cultural critic and writer Joe Queenan’s book, One for the Books, begins with a dispiriting fact: “The average American reads four books a year, and the average American finds this more than sufficient.”
    Of course the actual number of books that Americans read is much lower than that. The law of averages (proper statisticians call this concept the mean) pushes up the figure.
    Queenan, who reads up to 200 books a year, has the nastiest things to say about book clubs. And to make sure no one is in two minds about what he really thinks, he points his machine gun directly at those who belong to them." [source]
     One for the Books Joe Queenan

     What others say:
    "Joe Queenan's One for the Books is an attempt to impose order of his otherwise disorderly reading life. Unlike Murray's book-collecting mania, Queenan has a lunacy for remembering and listing almost every book he's read." [Lowery, Robert G. "Joe Queenan: One for the Books." Irish Literary Supplement 32.2 (2013): 27]

    And another reviewer's last sentence: "Most will agree that "reading is intensely personal," and the author splatters his personality over every page. An amusing homage to reading that contains something to offend even (especially?) the most ardent book lover." ["Queenan, Joe: ONE FOR THE BOOKS." Kirkus Reviews 1 Sept. 2012.]

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Ideal role of public libraries... 1851

    "Public Libraries will supply the whole people with ample sources for im- portant practical information. . . . Where they are provided every farmer will have access to the best books on agriculture, every mechanic to the best books on the arts, every merchant ... to the best exposition of the laws of trade and the sources of wealth. Would not this be a great advantage? Is it not important to practical men? Would it not much promote their success, to become ac- quainted with what is already  known on the subjects which occupy their atten- tion? And is it not undeserving of remark, that, even in the most simple and uni- form operations of labor, it has been found that . . . more is accomplished, and the work better done, by intelligent and weH-informed individuals? " John B. Wight, "Public Libraries," Common School Journal, XIII (1851), 260.[source]John B. Wight, "A Lecture on Public Libraries Delivered in Boston in the Hall of the House of Representatives, 1854, and in Several Other Places" (unpub- lished MS in the possession of Mrs. John B. Wight of Wayland, Mass.).
    Also quoted in Dictionary of Library and Information Science Quotations   Edited by Mohamed Taher and L S S R Valluri Ramaiah. ISBN: 8185689423 (New Delhi , Aditya, 1994) (p. 385).

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    B&N Says Book Sample Downloads Don't Infringe Copyright, Law360

    Law360, Los Angeles (November 01, 2013, 8:32 PM ET) -- Barnesandnoble.com LLC asked a New York federal court Thursday to toss out an e-book author’s copyright infringement suit, arguing it cannot be held responsible for readers downloading digital samples of a book to their e-reader or computer after it was removed from the bookseller’s website. continue reading Law360

    On the same shelf:

    Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Five sighted sites teens flock to instead of Facebook

    Where America’s youth go online to avoid Mom and Dad


    If your kids aren’t on Facebook, where are they? Try 

    • Snapchat. (This app’s files self-destruct. The service is designed for savvy teenagers who don’t want to leave an Internet footprint)  www.snapchat.com
    Twenty-six percent of 18- to 29-year-olds with cellphones use Snapchat, according to Pew Research Center, compared with 5% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 3% of 50- to 64-year-olds. Parents might want to monitor and check in on their kids’ social media activity from time to time, says Kelli Krafsky, coauthor of the book “Facebook and Your Marriage,” but “Snapchat is impossible to check.” —By Quentin Fottrell ((source)
    On the same shelf: 

    Saturday, November 09, 2013

    Posting Frequency of Different Types of Bloggers -- Are there any patterns?

    This post is inspired by: Ideal Posting Frequency For Different Types Of BloggersPosted by Sarbajit Saha
    Here is a quick sample from different bloggers (bearing in mind many corporate blogs don't show the Archive/past post/history button).

    Samples here are from Real Estate, Knowledge Management and two from religious and spiritual care.

    In this age of self-publishing, many have blogs. But, "Blogging frequency is fairly infrequent, on average." (source). While there is some truth in the statement: "I believe people are looking for higher value, more useful information... (source)." Nevertheless, the fact remains to be seen: How often and what is the pattern in the blogging map???

    Do the following numbers show any posting pattern (may be by most and / or least productive periods/years)? The answer is for you to compare similar blogs and judge. Is there a similar tool or measure (like  Blood pressure monitor) to know the frequency? Please let me know if there is a tool. Your comments and suggestions to improve this blogging map is going to be very valuable to many in the cyberspace!!! 

    A. The following is one example of a real estate agent, Samina Vakil's blog: The summary is 13 (Jan-Oct 2013); 8 (2012); 18 (2011); 50 (2010).

    Thursday, November 07, 2013

    The question of religious identity in a global village - Readings

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Google Search Secrets, the Book -- Web intelligence demystified?

    Q. Is Web intelligence demystified in this book, Google Search Secrets?
    Ans. Not really. This book has very less semantic and much of it is presentational, helping you as 'What you see is what you get' (WYSIWYG). In short, this is another Library Guide (not to be confused with LibGuides by Springshare), also telling you 'What You Get Is What You See.'
    Google Search Secrets  by Michael P. Sauers and Christa Burns 
    Paperback: 224 pages; ALA Neal-Schuman (October 28, 2013); ISBN-13: 978-1555709235

    Table of Contents:

    Welcome to Google; Google Web Search; Google Images; Google News; Google Videos; Google Maps; Google Blog Search; Google Scholar; Google Patents; Google Books; Google Alerts; Google Search Tips and Tricks

    Google can be an incredibly powerful tool for research, but the top-of-the-page results are seldom the most beneficial to library users and students, and many of the search engine's most useful features are hidden behind its famously simple interface. Burns and Sauers reveal the secrets of effective Google searches in this invaluable resource showing how to get the most out of the service, with
    • An overview of all the tool's search services, including Image, Maps, News, Blogs, Discussions, Scholar, Patents, and Books
    • Ready-to-use instructions on how to go beyond the simple search box and top results to get library users the answers they need, fast
    • Straightforward guidance on using filters to refine search results, with examples of common searches like images with Creative Commons licenses, news searches set for a date range or into an archive, and videos with closed captioning
    • An explanation of the bibliography manager feature of Google Scholar, which allows students and researchers to build bibliographies with ease
    • Tips for configuring Safe Search on workstations in children's departments and schools

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Iṣṭalāḥāt-i Sūfiyah by Khwaja ʻAbduṣṣamad, A Glossary of Sufi Technical Terms in Urdu

    PREFACE: Librarians continue to play an important role in creating consistent bibliographic records and in dealing with cataloguing issues, on an on-going basis. To be consistent the cataloguers and indexers need re-education of the trends, problems and alternative ways to resolve the problems. One great help comes from the big libraries, such as, Library of Congress, British Library, etc. in setting up working standards and best practice guidelines. Ask me for more on this. 

    Istalahaat-E-Sufia  By Hazrat Khawaja Shah Muhammad Abdul Samad. Lahore, Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2011.

    My review of this 2011 print: This glossary is a useful reference book in Urdu on Sufism. It helps a beginner as well an advanced student to know the esoteric and exoteric meaning of Sufi terminology. The value of the book is it makes use of Hadith / Quran or other sources to explain some of the important terms. However, it lacks an index (that helps find synonyms, or contextually related words). In addition wherever it mentions Quran, Hadith, etc., a full citation is missing. A future revision may restore the attribution of ownership, as well as improve its user-friendliness.  One may also see A Glossary of Sufi Technical Terms  by Abd al-Razzaq al-Qashani ("This is the first accessible English translation from the Arabic of a book that has been required reading in Sufi circles for more than six centuries").

    The consistency of transliteration as an example, here, is in ISTALAHAAT as found in the verso of the book. According to the Practical Standard Twentieth Century Dictionary: Urdu  into English, istilah (N.F), istilahat (plural) p. 58, 1980; Library of Congress is same; but Toronto Public Library uses Iṣṭalāḥāt. So much about the inconsistency in data entry. The resulting data search success or failure is dependent on a semantic search enginge (such as Google) or a literal search box (as most libraries have).
    This post is also about the importance of attributing the ownership, systematizing bibliographic work and tackling cataloguing Issues, based on the case of an Urdu book on Sufi Terminology: 
    (a) issues in transliteration (or Romanization) of Urdu Books,
    (b) dealing with a Market that is more open / competitive / irresponsive and
    (c) how to troubleshoot/avoid all related problems (esp., in dealing with rare/reprinted books, conducting proper search in library catalogs, retaining consistency in title, author name, searchability, findability and access).
    The Urdu title that brings forth the above concerns, here is, ISTALAHAAT-E-SUFIA (اصطلا حاتِ صو فیا). While the book did not track down the original source, the catalogers too did not indicate that this a reprint of either a 1983 work (printed in Lahore, Pakistan) or 1929 (printed in Delhi, India). Compare the three prints of the same title, here:

    2011 print  (note the changes in transliteration of the title, in each print):
    1983 print:
    • ʻAbduṣṣamad, Shāh Muḥammad. Iṣt̤ilāḥāt-i Ṣūfiyah / Shāh Muḥammad ʻAbduṣṣamad. Lāhaur : Makkah Buks, [1983?] 172 p. ; 22 cm. Note: First published in Delhi, India.  Library of Congress record
    1929 print  (probably* the original work):
    • Iṣṭalāḥāt-i Sūfiyah, Shāh Muḥammad ʻAbduṣṣamad, Dihlī : Dillī Printṭing Varks, 1929, 176 p. World Cat Record -- (*reviewer's note: According to the J Royal Asiatic Society dated 1847 ... paid Hafiz Ahmad Kabir for printing 500 copies of Istalahat Sufia. Based on this information, a future researcher has to ascertain the name of the actual  author who was definitely an adult in 1847, and thence track the date of its first publication???)
    PS. The reading list, below, helps in understanding the crux of the problems as listed above (a, b & c).

    Transliteration issues: 

    Urdu Book Market, Media reports:

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Reading now: Information Retrieval: Implementing and Evaluating Search Engines (incl. sample chapters)

    Information Retrieval: Implementing and Evaluating Search Engines by Stefan Buettcher, Charles L. A. Clarke and Gordon V. Cormack. ISBN: 9780262026512; 0262026511. Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c2010.

    About the book:
    Information retrieval is the foundation for modern search engines. This text offers an introduction to the core topics underlying modern search technologies, including algorithms, data structures, indexing, retrieval, and evaluation. The emphasis is on implementation and experimentation; each chapter includes exercises and suggestions for student projects. ... The modular structure of the book allows instructors to use it in a variety of graduate-level courses, including courses taught from a database systems perspective, traditional information retrieval courses with a focus on IR theory, and courses covering the basics of Web retrieval.


    "This book is a must-read for all search academics and practitioners!" from the foreword by Amit Singhal
    "This book is a fine addition to the growing literature on information retrieval (IR)." Donald H. Kraft Computing Reviews

    Table of Contents (incl. sample chapters) 
    Foundations; Basic Techniques; Tokens and Terms; Static Inverted Indices; Query Processing; Index Compression; Retrieval And Ranking; Experimental Comparison; Evaluation; Applications And Extensions; Computer Performance.

    On the same shelf:

    ABSTRACT Web-based search engines such as Google and NorthernLight return documents that are relevant to a user query, not answers to user questions. We have developed an architecture that augments existing search engines so that they support natural language question answering. The process entails five steps: query modulation, document retrieval, passage extraction, phrase extraction, and answer ranking. In this article, we describe some probabilistic approaches to the last three of these stages. We show how our techniques apply to a number of existing search engines, and we also present results contrasting three different methods for question answering. Our algorithm, probabilistic phrase reranking (PPR), uses proximity and question type features and achieves a total reciprocal document rank of .20 on the TREC8 corpus. Our techniques have been implemented as a Web-accessible system, called NSIR. Peer Reviewed 

    Tuesday, October 01, 2013

    ABC of Evaluating Library Resources: Authority, Body and Currency

     A - Authority: includes author, publisher, editor, compiler, etc. -- Can we trust the authority; What makes (qualifications, skills, expertise) this person (him/her) an authority;

    B Body: includes the content in the body of the source to be evaluated for its objectivity or bias, accuracy, completeness, relevancy, format;

    C - Currency: current, up to date content. -- Info courtesy: 'ABCs of Evaluation' (online sources: p. 69; Databases: p. 73; Print sources: p. 75) The Research Virtuoso: How to Find Anything You Need to Know Victor Gad, Jessica Rovito and Peggy Thomas of Toronto Public library (see pages: 68-77) 

    The following Library guides have examples to evaluate Library Resources, such as, Printed Books, Databases and E-Resources (Websites, online and digitized):

    On the same shelf: