Search Becomes Personal and Social
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services, United Kingdom
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It has been many years since search results were simply based on how often your search terms occur in a document and where. In 1998 Google added another dimension by including links to a page as a key element of their sorting algorithm. Bing claims to have 1000 ranking „signals“ and Google 200, each of which may have up to 50 variations but these are now overridden by localisation, personalisation and the searcher's own social networks. Providing information that is directly relevant to the country and even the town in which a user is located is not new but with more searches being conducted via smart phones this has become an increasingly important factor when presenting results. Personalisation based on past search and viewing behaviour is commonplace and now activity within a searcher's own personal social networks is often given priority. Google, for example, has openly stated that it is combining information on a user's behaviour on all of its services to provide „a better, more intuitive user experience across Google for signed-in users“. How can we use and control customization to our advantage when carrying out serious research; can we switch it off; and how can tools such as Mendeley and Pape.li improve the quality of our results?
Author's professional CV
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services, UK Karen Blakeman is a freelance trainer and consultant providing help and advice on the use of the Internet, electronic information, and on social media and collaborative web tools. She has worked in the information profession since 1978 and became a freelance consultant in 1989. Prior to setting up RBA she worked as a microbiologist at the Colindale Central Public Health Laboratory and then spent ten years in the pharmaceutical and health care industry. She then moved to the international management consultancy group Strategic Planning Associates. Her clients include all sectors, types and sizes of organisation and she takes a very “down to earth” approach to locating and managing electronic information. Karen edits and publishes a monthly, electronic newsletter called Tales from the Terminal Room. Her blog can be found at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/. She is an Honorary Fellow of CILIP: The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).