Friday, July 23, 2004

Vivisimo, the 9/11 Commission's final report, wheels and nails.

ResourceShelf notes a really cool thing Vivisimo has done to the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission. "Keyword search the entire 500+ page document and then review the first 200 matching paragraphs in breakable folders. Another useful resource from Vivisimo." According to their web site, Vivisimo's clustering engine categorizes textual information from a single or different content repositories into on-the-fly into meaningful folders.

And there are about 30 universities apparently using the clustering engine....and here is why, according to Vivisimo:

The search function at university websites shows its content as long, insufferable lists of search results. Alumni, prospective students, visitors, and university members view few, if any, pages before their patience with the format is exhausted, so much of what a university has to offer is simply overlooked.


"Long, insufferable lists of search results..."  Substitute "university" with "library OPAC" or "FirstSearch" and that would about describe the result, I think.  Seeing I have the bully pulpit here, I have to tell you, dear readers, that I have been a squeaky wheel here at the OCLC Mothership on the matter of using visualization tools and/or content clustering tools like Vivisimo as an alternate way of searching WorldCat and other FirstSearch databases, for, oh, about 2 1/2 years.  The lack of such alternate ways of viewing WorldCat search results will give you a clue as to how much grease this wheel got, so far.

Which reminds me. I went to an OCLC Inclusion Training session yesterday (because we realize that being a global cooperative means more than saying we are) and our Director of HR, Mark Matson, gave this example. In the U.S. and Canada, we use the phrase "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" in an admiring sense...that people who put themselves forward are rewarded. However, in Asian cultures this saying is used: "the nail that sticks up is the one that gets pounded down."  But, I'm thinking that many people might think their work place experiences resemble the Asian proverb more than the North American one?

And I am definitely not remarking on my personal experience of working at OCLC. The very fact of my continuing employment (going on 8 years now) is proof that all nails that stick up here are not pounded down. Mind you, I do have a few pound marks... all well-earned though.  

 



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've used Vivisimo for a while, and turned quite a few patrons to it as well. I believe it is easy for patrons new to the web, to do searching this way. Google vets are just not willing to let go of the notion that if it's not on the first page of google results it's not worthy.

ruhan said...

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