The “Google Generation” of researchers, the legacy of Project Gutenberg and the ultimate insult

September 9, 2011

Hello again, I did say I’d be back again quite soon – and here I am.

I have just responded to a colleague on Twitter who couldn’t locate a specific article, and it’s a bit of an eye-opener, even though it doesn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

Once upon a time I took a contract position in a University teaching information literacy – which included beginners to advanced Internet research as one of the topics. It was a popular module and well attended by the students, but the first time I taught this particular topic, I was expecting the students to wipe the floor with me, after all – this is THEIR generation – isn’t it? They didn’t – far from it. I sparked their imagination with the huge array of search strategies and tools for the job at hand. The article I sent to my colleague is about a report sponsored by JISC and the British Library entitled The “Google Generation” not so hot at Googling , after all and it’s written by Nate Anderson.

How’s this for a front cover? If they wanted shock factor – they achieved it. That’s just horrid!

The report is called: Information behaviour of the researcher of the future, and you’ve got the url to read this fascinating study for yourself. But I liked Nate Anderson’s comments about plagiarism and instant gratification because it mirrors a blog about young employees searching Google to sort out their corporate tech problems instead of calling the help desk. ServiceDesk360 posted the blog Young employees ignore helpdesk, search Google instead. Bomgar, who researched this corporate behaviour, says these employees are known as “Millennials”. Hmmmm…..I could call them something but it wouldn’t necessarily be “Millennial”.

The founder of Project Gutenberg , Michael S Hart, passed away recently. If you don’t know what Project Gutenberg is – you may be reading the wrong blog. Apparently there are 37,000 e-books freely available and that is a sheer amazing  legacy to leave to the world.  An article in The Atlantic says: “In an obituary on the Project Gutenberg website, Hart is remembered for the depth of his commitment to literacy. But the early texts speak to a core civic hope that is related but distinct: that there is power in ideas and that by spreading them we could make this country better. Sure, the number-one most downloaded book on the site is, by a long shot, the Kama Sutra, with more than 25,000 downloads. But Michael S. Hart, and by association his project, were about something much bigger than that.”  Thank you so much Mr Hart for leaving such a great legacy to the world;  rest in peace.

The Ultimate Insult has arrived in the form of an article twittered by another colleague Arthur Weiss.  This time I am definitely not at a loss for words. Disgraceful!  How dare the US government and their “security logistics” tactics get in the way by banning firefighting heroes from attending such an important event – and on the 10th anniversary of this sad occasion. They lost people too. This is unbelievably disrespectful. Firefighters – ignore all and do as Arthur says: Just turn up anyway.

9/11 – show some respect and include the firefighters.

You may or may not know that I have data coming in from quite a range of resources, including those from MI5 and the FBI. The FBI has a Gotcha section and recently they highlighted Operation Double O. I cannot believe anyone could be stupid enough to carry out a robbery, blow their nose and then leave a dirty tissue for forensics to play with the DNA.  Have a look at the podcast.

There’s more to come – but I’ll leave you with this for now. Back again soon.


Summer Madness! and Spam-Art via the enBW Recycler

July 29, 2011

Hello again!

Google has been a bit prolific in recent weeks with its artwork/doodles commemorating various anniversaries, but I particularly liked their 21st June First Day of Summer (below) Madness artwork and the 22nd July interactive artwork celebrating Alexander Calder’s 113th birthday. The Google Doodles collection goes right back to 1998. First Day of Summer. Doodle by Takashi Murakami, 2011.

Business Librarians (BUSLIB) has a new group on Facebook which you can join and participate with research queries, discussions, and more. Here’s the page:  While I’m on the subject of social networking, I found another group on LinkedIn called Interns over 40. This is a goldmine for the skilled worker seeking employment, who is on the mature side, and finding it difficult to move into that next position.  and with over 500,000 hits in 2010, it is a popular blog, with a huge amount of sound advice. The link I have provided is for a blog called 100 tips and tools for hunters over 45.

Since the weather has now taken a dip in temperature, I found some time to mess around with the Spam recycling software that I wrote about in my last blog, and so here are the results of my first few attempts. As spam has been somewhat prolific for me recently, I’ve stopped deleting it from my junk folder until I can analyse  what is the best of the dross to convert into art  

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and I’m sure you can do a lot better. Come on – show me what you’ve created!

Rebekah Brooks and the phone-hacking scandal that has wreaked havoc on Murdoch’s empire. Over the years, I have known a number of business people who are “Teflon Coated”. She’s one of these people, and pleads ignorance to ensure that nothing sticks. Private Eye’s latest issue is having a field day with this scandal; they have called themselves Private Eye incorporating News of the World and the headline is “GOTCHA! Murdoch goes down with all hacks”. About 80% of this edition is Murdoch-related reportage, and given that the bigger breaking news happened just 24 hours before the next print run, I can only surmise that Private Eye’s hacks have been compiling their data for a while, in readiness for this scandal to break.

Finally, I wouldn’t normally comment on something like this – but – Amy Winehouse – you silly girl. What an incredible waste of a great talent.

I’ll be back.

A little something to while away the snow

December 2, 2010

If you are reading this from the UK, no doubt you are struggling into work or working from home whilst waiting for the roads to thaw. My family plus some friends, made an igloo using a cold cooler storage box to create the ice blocks for it – cool – in more than one sense. There’s team work and great imagination for you; and yeah – we had plenty of snow with which to create it.

So here’s a few snippets to help keep you occupied.

So today let’s take a look at: 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. This is a blog written by three  law librarians/geeks (sorry to state the blindingly obvious) and Geeklawblog is an award winner for the third year in a row.  The content is very good. The 2nd December 2010 blog is all about cheap/free gadgets and is interesting to the point where I wanted to upload everything and try them all out 🙂 However – If you have tried any of these apps and want to post back your opinions – you know where to come.

“A simple change in the law could open up online access to the BBC’s archives”. Stephen Edwards who is Media Partner at Reed Smith LLP,  reported in the Guardian on this potentially explosive  access to a wealth of social history on 25th November 2010. The article outlines the importance of everyone gaining legitimate access, not just to film and TV, but also to radio and photographic archives. We like this!

And we can’t ignore WikiLeaks right now, as they have had a lot of exposure in the news recently. I thought I’d point you to an article from BNET here

“Bank of America is not the only company that should fear WikiLeaks”. It isn’t just the “skeletons-in-closets” – as mentioned, but ongoing lack of  responsibility to acknowledge bad corporate behaviour or to stop it from happening in the first instance. Money makes the world go around. Read the responses to this blog…..Actually, I’d like to see some leaks on FIFA’s decision that Russia should host the next world cup….just thought I’d throw that one into the mix. 😉

The above link is for Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2010. I’ve given you a visual glimpse of perceived corruption (including Russia) in 2010 on a global scale. This annual report is very carefully compiled using excellence and ongoing professional standards in their methodology. Previous years data are available for comparison. Enough said!

Back again soon! Enjoy your Christmas parties.


Google ain’t working

November 16, 2010


I’ve got a gripe today: It’s called Google. Read this please, and then follow on. I received the following correspondence:

“LEGAL WARNING: Our science & technology team has recently launched Google web software to protect and secure all Gmail Accounts. This system also enhanced efficient networking and fully supported browser. You need to upgrade to a fully supported browser by filling out the details below for validation purpose and to confirm your details on the new webmaster Central system.

Account Name:
Pass word:
Note: Your account will be disabled permanently if you failed to provide the details required above within 72hours. Gmail will not be held responsible for your negligence.
The Google web Service.”

To me, this is clearly a spoof phishing jobbie. BUT my gripe is this: How come Google can suck in our personal data ad infinitum for future use – but when we want to alert them to these dodgy scams, we cannot CONTACT them? We go around and around in circles because they only provide the “positive” side of using Google in the help sheets, and you cannot ever speak to a human being. The very least Google ought to be doing as a Duty of Care to the global masses which created Google’s popularity, is to alert them to these dodgy practices. Right or Wrong? GOOGLE – HELLO!!!!  stop playing with your algorithms (if there’s  a  double entendre there – it’s intended)  and talk to me and the world please……

An alert on the Google home page globally might be nice for everyone. That’s a really small ask and you know it, when you can add beautiful diagram-enhanced anniversaries on a whim. Come on Google – do it for all of us. 🙂


Internet Librarian International 2010 and other snippets

October 26, 2010

Hello! I always aim to please my readers, and so at this time of year it’s conference time, so we kick off with a two-day conference I attended at Internet Librarian International 2010 at the Hammersmith Novotel. I will provide you with some extra information about the conference, but as  firm believer of NOT re-inventing the wheel, just adding a few more spokes, I’ll point you to a series of three blogs I wrote for SLA-Europe, along with blogs written by my other SLA colleagues who attended the conference. We are all here: The conference was a really good one, and if you read the SLA-Europe blogs, you will see how much everyone got from the conference. Humour was in abundance as well as a learning curve within the presentations.  So – go and digest the blogs on the SLA-Europe web site and then return here for updates pertinent to the services/products/web “stuff” a la the speakers, including Phil Bradley, the vendors, publishers and much more. The social networking environment appears to be taking a new turn in the business world………..therefore, I’ll be back shortly.