Category Archives: Search Engines

WI Historical Society Preserves Text from Scrubbed DNR & other Government Websites

Last month the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that “the state Department of Natural Resources recently scrubbed language from an agency web page on the Great Lakes that said humans and greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change. The DNR now says the subject is a matter of scientific debate.”

The web page in question is http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/greatlakes/climatechange.html.  The article gives links to both the current and old text as archived by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, a digital archive of web contact back to 1996.

What the Journal Sentinel article didn’t mention is that the archived site is also available through an archive of websites curated by Wisconsin Historical SocietyThe archive contains sites from “state agencies and local governments, political campaigns for gubernatorial or U.S. Senate races and related social media, topical issues such as mining and organic agriculture and selected online publications.”

According to the Historical Society,

This effort aims to provide permanent access to websites and other digital materials for researchers and the general public. By harvesting the content of these websites through the “Archive-It” subscription service, the Wisconsin Historical Society collects, preserves, and makes accessible these electronic publications and records for public use.

What’s the difference between the Wayback Machine and sites collected by the Historical Society you might ask?  Thoughtful curation and searchability.  From the Historical Society FAQ:

The primary difference between the general Wayback Machine web portal and Archive-It websites collected by institutions such as the WHS (which are also viewed through the Wayback portal) is that Archive-It collections are full-text searchable. WHS staff selects websites to preserve in various collections and can capture websites at strategic times, while the general Wayback Machine may or may not have an archived version of the website for which a user is searching.

So – if you’re looking for an archived version for a particular URL, stick with the Wayback machine which will include any sites archived by the Historical Society.  However, if you want to determine if particular text ever appeared on those sites, then give the Historical Society web archives a try.

Google Images – Search by Image and Usage Rights

Google Images is a great tool for finding useful photos and graphics on the web.
Did you know that instead of searching for images by keywords, you can search by an image to find similar images? You can either use a photo from the web or upload your own. For more, see this video from Google.
Google has also made it easier to filter your results by the type of usage rights assigned to the image. This is helpful when you want to limit your search to just those images that you can use on your website or presentation.
To filter, run a search then click “Search Tools” on the results page. There is now a drop-down for usage rights. Your options are “not filtered by license”, “labeled for reuse”, “labeled for commercial reuse”, “labeled for reuse with modification”, and “labeled for commercial reuse of modification”.
For more info on the usage rights filter, see Search Engine Watch.

Slim Down Bloated Links from Google Search Results

Ever tried to copy a link from Google search results and ended up something messy looking like this:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEwQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.makeuseof.com%2F&ei=wSArUPj0E5Gu8QSd1IGYDg&usg=AFQjCNET_hI9VptfwU-R4oSaJjjI-f0jgA&cad=rja

The messiness is because Google changes the URL to help them track who is clicking on which links. That’s fine for Google, but it’s frustrating for people like me who want to save or share those links with others.
But there is good news – Makeuseof describes a couple of simple plugins/userscripts which you can install to solve this. I used the Google/Yandex search link fix for Firefox and it works beautifully.

Litigation – WI Law Firm Purchases Search Results for Another Firm’s Name

A suit filed last week by Habush Habush & Rottier alleges that the firm of Cannon & Dunphy effectively hijacked the names and reputation of Habush attorneys by purchasing the keywords “Habush” and “Rottier” for its Internet search results.
From the Wisconsin Law Journal:

Until a day after the suit was filed, anyone who typed in the names Habush or Rottier on the popular search engine Google would see the home site for Cannon & Dunphy appear first.
According to the Associated Press, Cannon has acknowledged paying for the keywords but denied any wrongdoing, saying it was following a legal business strategy….
In the suit, Habush claims that Cannon violated the Wisconsin privacy law – Wis. Stat. 995.50(2)(b) – which states that someone’s name or likeness cannot be used for advertising purposes without written consent from the individual.

Is this a big deal? Consider this from WTN News…”According to Google, 75 percent of Google users NEVER click past the first page. The top three Google results get 79 percent of all clicks. The remaining 7 results share just 21 percent of the clicks.”

Interactive Statistics from Google

Google has recently launched a new search feature that makes it easy to find and compare public data.
From the Google Blog:

If you go to Google.com and type in [unemployment rate] or [population] followed by a U.S. state or county, you will see the most recent estimates.
Once you click the link, you’ll go to an interactive chart that lets you add and remove data for different geographical areas.

I ran a sample search for “umemployment rate Wisconsin” which produced an interactive chart. I then added Michigan which added those statistics to the chart.
googledata.jpg
More from the Google Blog:

The data we’re including in this first launch represents just a small fraction of all the interesting public data available on the web. There are statistics for prices of cookies, CO2 emissions, asthma frequency, high school graduation rates, bakers’ salaries, number of wildfires, and the list goes on.

Monitor Web Content with Google Alerts – Now with Email and RSS Alerts

Google Alerts allow you to enter search terms and receive notification whenever it finds new content matching those terms.
You can specify if you would like to search news, blog, web, video, or group content or all of the above. You choose whether you want it to alert you as-it-happens, once-a-day or once-a-week. You can receive your results via email or now though RSS.
Law Practice Magazine offers these ideas on how lawyers can make use of Google Alerts:

  • First and foremost, enter your own name as a keyword, so you know what the world is saying about you.
  • Likewise, enter your firm name, as well as the names of your partners, so you can help everyone keep track of news related to the firm (and its reputation).
  • Monitor news about legislation, regulations and the like in particular practice areas and business sectors.
  • Keep a weather eye on what competing law firms are doing.
  • Watch out for leaks about highly proprietary data of significant clients. You would be surprised at how often proprietary data shows up in blogs–just ask Steve Jobs at Apple, whose R&D beans were spilled left and right not long ago.
  • If your clients sell a well-known product, watch what is being said about it–and perhaps watch for knockoffs.
  • Keep up with other developments relevant to your firm by entering the appropriate terms, such as “electronic evidence,” “legal marketing forums” or the like.
  • Gauge your return on investment for marketing activities–for example, if you send out a press release or host a national seminar, enter identifying terms for it and see how often it appears in blogs and on the Internet generally.
  • Enter terms that might yield “surprise” information relevant to that pending litigation your firm is handling.
  • Are there experts in your area of law who are always worth reading? Plug in their names, too.
  • Sometimes it’s places that you want to monitor. If you have an office in Peru, news from there may be instructive.

Want to Share a Google Search? Shorten It Up With Look.fo

Ever wanted to share the results of a Google search with someone? Look.fo makes it easier – well, shorter anyway.
Say I want to share the results of a Google search for WisBlawg. I could send you a long, ugly search string that looks like this:

http://www.google.com/search?q=wisblawg&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_en___US216

Or, I could just send you this one:

http://look.fo/wisblawg

Just append your search term(s) after the root “http://look.fo/”
Look.fo will help you generate the url based on what you type in the search box.
And did you know that there are tools to shorten long URLs also? I like TinyURL, but there are lots of others.
Source: inter alia

haika Semantic Search Engine Looking for a Few Good Law Sites

The following post was written by my law librarian colleague, Bev Butula:

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed the hakia search engine on my blog for the Wisconsin Law Journal. If you are not familiar with this engine, it uses semantic search technology. They look for quality results, recognizing that the most credible sites might not be the most popular. Their website indicates that a quality result needs to satisfy “three criteria simultaneously: It (1) comes from credible sources (verticals) recommended by librarians, (2) is the most recent information available, and (3) is absolutely relevant to the query.” For popular queries, the search results are categorized, and presented in an easy to read fashion.
Shortly after my post, I had the pleasure of speaking with Melek Pulatkonak, their CEO and Farrah Hamid, the Communications Coordinator. During this conversation, they discussed their goals for hakia. Currently, they have an established vertical for medical searches having included the Medical Library Association’s top credible web sites into their database.
Their next goal is to move to a legal vertical. They want to use the collective knowledge of law librarians to enhance the users search experience. As a result, they have created a submission tool to assist in this process. They ask that suggested sites have some editorial review, there is no commercial bias, that the site remains current, and has source authenticity. A recent press release outlines the process and their expectations. As an added bonus, anyone submitting an eligible website will be entered into a drawing.
They are also reviewing established websites such as the Librarians’ Internet Index and Cornell’s Legal Information Institute to improve this evolving process.