"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, 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: