Exercises On One Page (2009)

This page contains all the exercises from the whole semester.


03 Basic Twitter Tutorial

by samooresamoore (16 Sep 2009 13:59; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:14)

These exercises are meant to run you through a few of twitter's capabilities so that you're familiar with them when you need to use them.

  1. Upload a headshot (settings/picture) to your twitter account so that I know who you are when you post a message.
  2. For your twitter account, fill in all the information under settings/account
  3. Find out twitter usernames of people in the class (if you want) and use the follow and on commands (as appropriate)
  4. Go to the [http://twitterholic.com/ list of popular twitterers and see if you want to follow any of them.
  5. Twitter (from your phone, if possible) and tell everyone your favorite LS&A class and professor (and why, if possible) — that is, update your twitter status with this information.
  6. Send the message from your phone that turns messages on from me (drsamoore).

try http://www.twitterfall.com/ to see what people are tweeting about mike_danhofmike_danhof


03 Wiki Tutorial exercises

by samooresamoore (30 Aug 2009 15:07; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:13)

Exercises

We have a couple of goals for today's exercises. The first one is for you to set up a new wikidot site that you will use for your project. The second one is for you to become familiar with the wikidot site, wikidot tools, and editing wikidot pages.

Basics

For each one of the following steps, there is a video available on this page.

  1. Create your own site
  2. Update your profile
  3. Invite me (samoore) to be a member of your site
  4. Create a page called “test page” and use it to practice entering and editing text. Be sure to know how to do the following: simple paragraphs, text formatting (bold, italics), headings, lists, block quotes, links (of all types), inserting an image, tables, and user names.
  5. After you have entered a bunch of text, then see what the page would look like when printed
  6. Find the wikidot syntax documentation and look through it to see what else wikidot can do
  7. Modify the top menu
  8. After you have done the above, complete the following steps.

Templates

Most of the above (except for, maybe, the ability to modify the top menu) is available on almost every wiki engine out there. However, the following “template” capabilities are only rarely available. It's slightly tricky, but the benefits are substantial — and once you figure out the steps, then it's quite easy to do. Do the following; after you have completed the steps it will be easier to figure out what you've done (and I'll provide an explanation below).

Add the blog template

Create a file called “blog:_template” (exactly like that, with the colon and the underscore). Copy the following code into the document.

By %%author%% (%%date|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p%%)

%%content%%

----
putBlogContentHere

Very important: After copying the above code into the document, change the four dashes to four = signs. (If I changed them to equal signs in this document that you're reading right now, then it messes up the formatting of this page that you're reading. Sorry.)

Save the page. It will display but won't look like a normal page because of all of those percent signs. That's okay. We'll see what this page does in a minute.

More information about templates can be found on this page.

Add the bloglist page

Create a page called “bloglist”. Note there is nothing magical about this document name; I could have used anything.

Copy the following code into the document.

This page contains all my blogs from the whole semester. It is sorted in reverse order of the date that the blog entry was created.

[[module ListPages category="blog" separate="false" order="dateDesc"]]
----

++ %%linked_title%%

+++++ by %%author%% (%%date|%a, %m/%d/%y%%; last edited on %%date_edited|%a, %m/%d/%y%%)

%%body%%
[[/module]]

Again, change the four dashes to four equal characters after you've copied it into your document.

More information on the ListPages module can be found on this page.

Create a test blog page

Create a page called “blog:My first test blog” (just like that, with the colon and the spaces between the words). Add some content to the page: “This is my first blog entry. I hope it works.” (Or something similarly simple.) Notice that your name doesn't appear on the page at this point.

Save this page.

View the bloglist page

Navigate to the “bloglist” page. See what it shows you? It should have your blog entry, complete with title and byline. As you write more blog entries, they will continue to appear on this page as long as you continue to name your blog page “blog:xxx”, where xxx is the title of your blog entry.

This is a very cool feature of wikidot.

Now click on the title of your blog entry (within the bloglist page). This will take you to a separate page containing just the entry of this particular blog. Notice that this page is also complete with your name and editing information — even though you didn't type them into the original document. The blog template that you created took care of that nifty bit of magic.

One last thing

You are now going to write a short blog on the course Web site. I have already created the blog template there, so you don't have to do that. You just need to put your cursor up in the address bar, change the page to "blog:Introducing xxxx" (where xxxx is your name). Your blog entry should contain this information:

  • Where you are from
  • When you're supposed to graduate
  • What type of job you hope to get (or already have lined up)
  • What you hope to get out of this class (or why you took this class)
  • One interesting fact about you that most of your classmates would not know

Complete this blog before Sunday evening at 10pm.

Related documentation


04 Search Techniques And Strategies Exercises

by samooresamoore (30 Aug 2009 15:07; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:15)

Exercises

Start up

  1. Go to the Google home page.
  2. Sign in to iGoogle. (If you don't have a iGoogle account, then create one.)
  3. Change the preferences (the “preferences” button next to the search box) so that it returned 50 documents instead of 10.

Special search syntax

Don't forget about the quick-and-dirty search syntax page. You will also want to refer to the more complete GoogleGuide quick reference and Yahoo Cheat Sheet.

Suppose you are interested in steel futures. Let's see how these different syntaxes affect the results that you get.

“Steel futures” example

  1. Search for [steel futures] at Google.
    • What documents does this return?
    • How many documents does this query return? Write this number down.
    • Scan down the list of documents. Note the titles of the documents. Do these all seem to be about steel futures?
  2. Search for ["steel futures"] at Google.
    • What documents does this return?
    • How many documents does this query return? Write this number down. Is this a useful change? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this change?
    • Again, scan down the list of documents. Note the titles of the documents. Do these all seem to be about steel futures?
  3. Make sure that both the word steel and the word futures are in title.
    • How many documents does this query return? Write this number down. Is this a useful change? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this change?
    • Scan down the list of documents. Note the titles of the documents. Do these all seem to be about steel futures?
  4. Make sure that the phrase steel futures is in the title.
    • How many documents does this query return? Write this number down. Is this a useful change? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this change?
    • Scan down the list of documents. Note the titles of the documents. Do these all seem to be about steel futures?
  5. Further refine the above query by ensuring that the document comes from a US-based company (this means that the document comes from a host that ends in .com).
  6. Now make sure that the document comes from something other than a US-based company.
  7. Make sure that, in addition to the document having the phrase steel futures in it, the URL has the word library in it.
  8. You are not interested in the results about the story related to the London Metal Exchange. Define a query that returns documents with the phrase steel futures but not these other stories.
  9. Notice that the documents sometimes refer to the London Metals Exchange. We don't want these stories either. Refine the query appropriately.

Reflect back on where you started above with just a simple query and where you ended up. What does this tell you about the usefulness of thinking about the contents of your query?

Other queries

  1. Suppose you figured out that you don't even know the meaning of futures. Enter a query that returns this definition.
  2. Looking through the results, you are interested in The Steel Index. You wonder who else might be interested enough in this site to link to it on their site. Define a query that finds these web pages.
  3. Suppose that you want to know about the Indian automobile industry. What would you do? Define your query and run it.
    • Here is what I did to return 2,520 documents (2,860 in 2008).
    • What is the strength of your query compared with mine? What are its weaknesses?
  4. The home page of the Ross School of Business BBA Program is www.bus.umich.edu/bba. Suppose you want to figure out what sites other than Ross sites link to this page. What is the query you would submit to Google?

Unique words & phrases

  1. Search for information about behavioral finance.
    1. Start with just those two words
    2. Join them within quotes
    3. Now look through the summaries of the first 10-30 documents that are returned. See what concepts, terms, words you might add to the query in order to make the documents that are returned "meatier". Go ahead and add them and look again at the results.
    4. Are there pages that are descriptions of books mixed in with your results? Get rid of them. There are probably a couple of ways that you might try.
    5. Get just the URLs that are housed at educational institutions.
  2. Find the lyrics to "Louie, Louie" by the Kingsmen. The only words that I am relatively certain of are "me gotta go". Other than that, good luck.
  3. Look for lyrics for a song of your own choosing.

Query specificity

  1. Think of some topic that you would like to know more about, and use Google, Yahoo, and Ask to find out more about it. Use Google Suggest, Yahoo Search Assist, and other related tools to explore the topic. Continually build the query's complexity until it returns the information you need with a relatively high precision.

Alternative naming

People

You want to find information on Thomas Alva Edison, but not Thomas Edison University or Thomas Edison College.

  1. Create a query in Google that returns a reasonable number of documents, that returns high quality documents. Be complete with the name forms that you try.
  2. Find information on Yahoo as well.
  3. Find encyclopedic entries.
  4. Build a comprehensive query that uses all of the name forms and returns all types of information but which maintains relatively high precision.

Places

Find information on Wrigley Field in Chicago. Define the query so that it returns a reasonable number of high quality documents.

Your project

Start looking for information on possible term project topics. Put your new-found skills to the test.


05 More Search Techniques And Strategies

by samooresamoore (30 Aug 2009 15:07; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:16)

Exercises

  1. Come up with a list of 30-40 cities in Michigan.
  2. How many types of poodles are there?
  3. How many people are in the United States?
  4. How many teams are in the National Rugby League?
  5. On your personal wiki, create a page for research notes — call it “Research Notes”. (Shocking!) Related to your project, you should start using it to keep track of the sites that you visit, the queries that you run, and the types of information you find. This is for your own personal use, but you will find it useful as you work through the semester to have these notes to refer back to. I will not ever check on this page; this is just a hint on my part to help you with your project.

06 RSS Introduction exercises

by samooresamoore (27 Sep 2009 23:58; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:03)

Exercises

What we're going to do first is get you signed up for on Web-based RSS feed reader. The one we're going to use to start with is Bloglines. Most students last year used this feed reader all semester and we're satisfied with it; a few others used Google Blog Reader for various reasons. ("Resistance is futile.") This doesn't have to be the one that you'll use forever because you can export your feeds out of it and then import them into another feed reader later. So we just need to give you a place to store them while you go through this exercise. You may (or may not) want to change RSS feed readers later. We'll see how to do that in this exercise.

Next, we'll try out multiple different ways of finding RSS feeds that are related to one topic. If you don't know one yourself, you should try out [sustainable business], [sustainable enterprise], and [sustainable development] — though I highly encourage you to search for information related to your term project. Pretend that you're interested in this topic; pretend that you want to keep up with this topic for a period of time and you want to find 10-20 useful RSS feeds that you are going to monitor for the next month or two in order to get up to speed on the topic. If you have already chosen your term project topic, then you should definitely use that topic during this exercise.

BTW, as you work through this tutorial, you are absolutely required to add to it if you feel it can be improved, changing it so that it would be more useful for others in this class and future classes. Thanks!

Sign up for a Web-based feed reader

Bloglines

If you're going to use Bloglines (which I recommend if you're not wedded to Google), complete the following:

  1. Sign up for account with Bloglines.
    • If you are completing this assignment on your own computer, then you should definitely go to the page that allows you to add a bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. This makes subscribing to feeds much easier. You will use this tool over and over for the rest of this semester — and beyond (really!).
    • If you aren't working on your own computer right now, you can always go back and do this later.
  2. You will want to put information about your bloglines account on your personal wiki so that you (and I) can find it.

Google Reader

If you're going to use Google Reader, then complete the following:

  1. Go to Google Reader.
  2. Sign in and/or set up an account.
  3. Click on "Sharing Settings" on the left.
    • Make your Shared Items public (anyone can view).
    • Check the box to add a link to your shared items on your Google Profile.
    • Near the bottom of the page choose a custom URL for your shared items page.
    • Click on "Home" on the left to get back to the Reader home page.
  4. Once you start sharing items, you can create a page within your wiki like my shared items page.
    • To do this, first go to the tab that says "Shared Items" under "your Stuff"
    • In the right hand corner of the blue box is a link that says "Show details." Click this.
    • Copy the feed URL to WordPad or Notepad
    • Go to Prof. Moore's RSS Shared Items page, go to the edit page, and copy the code
    • Create your own page on your Wiki site, and change the URL in the code to what you copied, and make sure to change anything that has Prof. Moore's name to yours
    • Save the page, and it should be good to go.
  5. You will want to put information about your Google Reader account on your personal wiki so that you (and I) can find it.

Find interesting blogs

Lists of popular blogs

Look through the collections of top blogs at these pages for some blogs (whether personal or related to your term project) that you might be interested in. If so, then add them to your blog reader. It's easier to add and delete later than to try to remember one that you think might be useful, so go ahead and add blogs of interest to your reader.

Searchable subject indices of RSS feeds

  • Yahoo Directory provides RSS feeds of updates to specific Yahoo Directory categories. So see if you can find a directory category that interests you; if you can, you can subscribe to an RSS feed that will update you if/when it is updated. This probably won't be too frequent, but could possibly be helpful if it's a good match for you.
  • Browse through both of the following and see if you can find any RSS feeds of interest. If so, subscribe to them.

Searching for blogs using bloglines

  1. Now you're going to use some features of Bloglines to find some feeds and then subscribe to them. You should use bloglines for this step whether or not you are using it as your feed reader.
  2. Run a search for a term (or set of terms) on Bloglines. This finds RSS articles that match your query.
    • Under Matching feeds (to the right) you can find feeds (not individual articles, but whole feeds) that match your query.
    • Under each article, notice that you can preview the feed and subscribe to the feed.
    • You can sort the result articles by relevance, date, or popularity.
    • You can subscribe to the search itself.
  3. Look again at the search box in Bloglines. Next to it is a drop down box that allows you to search for posts, feeds, citations, the Web, or a specific URL. Try out each one of these. When would you use these different choices?

Searching for blogs using several different blog search engines

Now you're going to move on to other searchable feed databases. Try out searches in each one of the following. Explore the results that the tool gives you. Today what we're trying to do is to get a feel for each of these blog search engines; we'll do more in-depth work with them later. Subscribe to the feeds (that is, into your bloglines (or Reader) account) that you find interesting and/or useful. If you find some that are outside of the scope of the class, that's okay, too. What types of useful information does it give you that helps you find useful information?

  • Google Blog Search
    • Investigate "Related blogs", "Sorted by relevance" vs "Sorted by date"
    • Remember that you can use all of the usual Google search techniques that we have learned
    • At the bottom of the page are three items:
      • Email alert — we'll talk about this in an upcoming class. Don't do anything with this for now
      • Blog search gadget — Useful if you find a really good query that you want to monitor very carefully; otherwise, skip this — you can get the same effect with an RSS feed
      • Blog search feed for Google Reader — if you end up using Google Blog Reader, then this would be helpful. If you're using Bloglines, you can simply click on the Sub/bloglines button in your toolbar and get the same effect.
  • Technorati
    • Search for posts. Under "Posts" near the top of the page is the phrase (or something like it "Search in tags only of blogs with some authority in English"). These are the options that are set for the search. Click on the "change" button next to it and explore what options are available.
      • The "authority" idea is quite useful for searching. Play around with it and see how it affects your search results.
    • Now search for blogs.
    • Check out Technorati's blog directory.
  • Blogpulse
    • Check out this trend looking at Macintosh and Windows
    • Search for [iphone android]
    • Then click on the "trend this" icon and see how this topic exploded recently.
  • Blogs.com
    • Search for [google android apple iphone]. How are these results sorted? (I have no idea.)
    • For fun (and possibly some useful information), check out their lists of "Top 10 Blogs".
  • IceRocket
    • Search for [obama healthcare]
    • Then click on "Results Trend" on the left side of the screen.

Possible class blog topic

One possible blog topic that you might write about is the following: Pick at least three of the most interesting tools. You'll describe how to use the tool (go into more detail if there's anything tricky about it — don't feel the need to explain the obvious), what type of information is returned, and why you found this to be interesting or useful. Also, would you prefer any of these tools to the exclusion of the others; if so, under what circumstances?


07 RSS Lab exercises

by samooresamoore (30 Sep 2009 00:25; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:04)

Your goal today is to find feeds for your term project. First, finish the exercises from last class. There's a couple more general things that I want you to do after you finish those exercises but before you start today's activities.

A point that I might not have made clear the other day: When you are searching for blogs, you're going to come across both blogs and blog entries in the results. Sometimes the blog that you find is exactly on target, and is almost exclusively about your topic. Lovely; you'll definitely want to subscribe to that blog. Other times the blog entry is one of only a few from that site that seem to be about your topic; you can see that it contains useful information, but only some of it will ever be about your topic. In this instance, I encourage you to note this blog entry on a page in your wiki. We will later learn how to filter RSS results from specific sites based on keyword search. Until that time, you need to make sure you don't lose those sites that might be useful in this way.

If you use bloglines as your RSS reader, you should be sure to work through how-to-share-a-bloglines-blogroll.

  1. Use the tools in Technorati (and other searchable feed databases — see bottom of page) to easily find more popular blogs that you might want to add to your feed list.

Exporting and importing lists of feeds

After you have subscribed to a few feeds, I want you to work through the process of exporting your links and then importing them into another feed reader. From your chosen RSS reader, look for the option to "export" your subscriptions. Save it to a file. Then go to a different RSS reader and look for the option to "import" subscriptions. Do it.

The ability to export and import sets of subscriptions means that you are not tied to a RSS reader, even after you have built up a significant set of subscriptions.

Do some research on your term project

Use BlogPulse

Blogpulse has some really powerful tools that can give you insight into what's going on in the blogosphere.

  • Look around this site.
  • Do some searches on your term project.
  • Be sure to explore the "Advanced", "Trend", "URL", and "Conversation Tracker" tools in their search box.

Use Technorati

Technorati also has tools that help you keep up-to-date with trends in blogging and the news.

  • Be sure to explore (in the toolbar) "Channels", "Blogs", "Popular", and some of the stuff under "Blogger Central" (especially "State of the Blogosphere").
  • Look at the "Watchlist" tool under "Favorites". This would be useful for keeping track of your term project topic.

Use Bloglines

Bloglines has an extensive database and a pretty good search tool.

  • The advanced search form has lots of options. Try it out.
  • Notice that you can search for Posts or Feeds, and you can include news-based feeds or exclude them.
  • Also look into the effects of the "Sort by" option.
  • The Bloglines Top 1000 is also a useful list to look through when you have some time.

Use IceRocket

IceRocket has some tools that can help you keep track of real time information. We'll do more on this in a future class, but you can begin to get a feel here.

  • Do a search here on blogs.
  • Look through the results.
  • Then click on "Big Buzz" tab and investigate what this page tells you.
  • Be sure to try out their advanced search page.

Use Google Blog Search

Of course we had to use Google Blog Search. But I wanted to be sure that you didn't miss all of the other tools that are out there because I think GoogBlog has lagged a bit here (though the search engine itself is strong enough).

Resources

Searchable RSS feed databases

  1. Bloglines Search
  2. Technorati
  3. Google Blog Search
  4. IceRocket
  5. Blogpulse
  6. NewsIsFree
  7. Blogs.com

08 News Search exercises

by samooresamoore (04 Oct 2009 12:08; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:04)

Exercises

In today's exercises you're going to do the following:

  1. explore in-depth some familiar general news and news search sites,
  2. make some RSS feeds from searches on those sites,
  3. explore Google's news archives,
  4. use three different visualization tools related to the news, and
  5. use a couple of news sites that focus on providing a variety of tools for in-depth exploration of a specific news topic.

I am going to have you work through specific examples as you learn about these Web sites. At specific points in these exercises, I will point out times when you might work on queries related to your term project.

Looking at the general news services

We're going to start with two highly capable, keyword-based, general news search sites. Our goal here is to be sure that we know all of the different capabilities that these sites provide.

  1. Yahoo News
    1. Search for [samoa earthquake OR tsunami]
      • Be sure to put the search terms in the "news" search box and not the "Web" search box at the top of the page. Confusing!
      • After you run the query, look at the results page:
        • At the top of the page there are pointers to news photos and news videos
        • You can also sort the result by relevance or date
    2. Click on the "Advanced Search" text at the top of the page.
    3. Note the different choices you have here: location of the search term (article, headline, URL), sort key, publication date, source, location, and categories.
    4. Browsing Yahoo News
      • Go back to the Yahoo News homepage
      • Click on the "Politics" tab
      • Look at all of the different parts of the page that help you monitor or explore the news in different ways.
    5. Near the bottom of the page you also have the opportunity to subscribe to RSS feeds related to the news.
    6. As you might guess, each of these features is also available for the other topics, including "Business"
  2. Google News
    1. Search for [samoa earthquake OR tsunami]
      • On the results page, you have a whole bunch of things to look at:
        • You can choose "all news" or just images
        • You can filter by a range of times and dates (including the amazing Google News Archives)
          • Be sure to click on the Archive button
          • Then click on different bars in the timeline (going back to the 1800s!) and see what stories appear.
    2. Click on the "Advanced news search" link near the top of the page
      • Note the different choices you have here: date, source, source location, story location, author (a new feature in the last year), and location of the search term.
      • You can also sort the result by relevance or date (and other specialized choices)
    3. Browsing Google News
      • Go back to the Google News homepage
      • Sign in to Google if you haven't already.
      • Personalize your news front page by clicking on the link on the right side of the page to edit this "personalized page"
      • Click on the "Business" link on the left side of the page.
      • Again, look at all of the different parts of the page that help you monitor or explore the news in different ways.

Creating RSS feeds

You are now going to use either Yahoo or Google to create some RSS feeds relevant to your term project.

  1. Go the the appropriate home page.
  2. Enter a query relevant to your project into the news search box.
    • Go to the advanced search page and limit the results to the last day.
    • Sort the results by relevance.
    • Keep refining it.
    • Only stop when you're happy.
  3. Once you have found a news search that you're happy with, subscribe to the page with your RSS feed reader.
  4. Do this as many times as you would like for as many search queries as possible.
    • You will probably continue to add to, and refine, these queries for the rest of the semester.
    • For the queries you end up using in your RSS feed reader, in your project wiki you should have a description of the query and the source of the data (i.e., Yahoo or Google) and what type of information a user might expect to find in the feed.

This is very powerful and very convenient. Think of the ways that you might use this:

  • Suppose you have an interview coming up with a company. Define a query on this company a couple weeks before the interview, create an RSS feed on it, and then be up-to-date on that company when you walk in.
  • Suppose you were following a topic for a semester project (hint hint). Define several different queries about your topic using both Yahoo and Google, compare and contrast the results that you get over several days, see which one (if either) is better than the other, and then use those query results to stay current on the topic for the rest of the semester. Every other day pick out a big story and make a timeline of stories (and referenced articles) related to your topic.
  • Suppose you followed a sports team. You could define a query, subscribe to the results, and get the news about that team delivered to your RSS feed reader every day.

And so on.

Historical news

Over the last year, Google has quadrupled the size of its archive of old news stories. If you are interested in exploring a news item from more than 10 years ago, this site is an absolute gold mine.

  1. Go to Google News Archive search
  2. Enter [atkins diet] as a search term
  3. Look at the range of dates from which stories are available. We're interested in the stories from the early 1970s, so click on that bar.
  4. This brings up a second barchart. You can now see that the bulk of the references came in early 1973. This was right around the time that the book was published.
  5. Now let's look at the timeline that Google provides. Click on the word Timeline at the top of the page. What does this appear to actually do?
  6. See that there are stories from the 1860s. Since Atkins wasn't even alive then, what could those be about?
  7. Click on those bars and then look at the item shown in 1864 from an article in the Guardian titled "What they said about…".
  8. Click on that article link.
  9. This is an article from August 2005. What's going on here?
  10. This should change your answer as to what you think appears in the timeline. So, what does appear in a timeline?

Visualization and the news

A couple of organizations have tried some visualization techniques with news information with more or less success. Jamesoo was one of the early innovators but it has been surpassed in my opinion. Here we'll take a quick look at three of the more recent attempts at making the news more visually interesting and compelling.

Google News Timeline

  1. The Google News Timeline is an effort of Google Labs. As stated on their site, this site "allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline."
  2. Enter [Goldman Sachs] in the search box and run the query.
  3. Look at what information is displayed.
  4. Click on the "Save" button next to "Goldman Sachs News" near the top of the page.
  5. Play with the "Show", "Size", and "Date" options to see how they change the display of information.
  6. Now run a query for [Bank of America] and save that query, too.
  7. You can switch between the queries by double-clicking on the text.
  8. Now look through all of the different types of queries that can be run by choosing a different item from the drop-down box next to the search box (it probably contains "News" right now).
  9. The top seven items listed should be of interest. See what these different queries return for you.
  10. Try this tool with a topic of your own interest (e.g., your term project).

Fast Flip

This tool is primarily focused on making daily news stories quickly scannable and readable. It appears to be an attempt to make a digital version of a paper newspaper. It's not the same, but it's trying to provide the same experience.

  1. Another effort out of Google Labs is Google Fast Flip.
  2. Be sure to sign in once you get to the site.
  3. Here on the home page you can see thumbnails of Web stories organized in four different ways: by popularity, by section, by specific topic, and by sources.
  4. Explore each one of these to get a feel for how you would work with this site.
    • For example, click on the Business Section.
    • Click on one of the stories.
    • Look at all of the options you have on this page:
      • You can read the first page of the article.
      • You can read the full text of the article on the original site.
      • You can share the document through Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or Delicious.
      • You can email the document to someone.
      • You can flip to the previous or next article.
  5. Now let's run a search and see how it works.
  6. Search for [Bank of America].
  7. A series of articles are returned.
    • But not too many. Why not? What's going on?
  8. Scan through the article snapsnots. Click on any one of the articles that looks interesting.
  9. Now use the arrows to flip through the results.
  10. Try this tool with a topic of your own interest (e.g., your term project).

Newspaper front pages at rayogram

This tool is a very simple tool with one purpose: to show you the front pages of major daily newspapers from around the world.

  1. Go to Rayogram News. This site is not a major research site. It is a site that some company put up because, as far as I can tell, it thought it was cool and possibly useful. (From their Web site, "rayogram is an inter-disciplinary creative services studio developing traditional and interactive strategies to ensure our clients leave an impression.")
  2. Scroll the page to the left and right.
  3. There's a definite gestalt that you get by seeing all of these papers and the information that different ones put on their front pages.
  4. Note that you can also go to the supporting Web site and/or download a PDF of the page.
  5. That's it.

Exploring the news

Now we're going to explore two very powerful Web sites for in-depth exploration of a news story. SiloBreaker has been one of my favorite Web sites of any kind since I became aware of it last year when teaching this class, while NewsSift, only recently launched by the Financial Times, has the power and features to possibly do the same. Let's see what you think of them.

SiloBreaker

  1. Go to the SiloBreaker page.
  2. Click on the "Business" topic link at the top of the page.
  3. There's a lot on this page; let's look around:
  4. Down the main column of the page, popular top business stories are listed. For each story, it links to the specific document, related documents on the Web, a short snippet from the beginning of the news story, and the categories of news that it can be classified under.
  5. Going down the right side of the page now…
  6. At the top of the column is a set of videos.
  7. The In Focus box appears to contain links to different types of things (look at the icons: people, companies, organizations, etc.) that are currently in the news.
    • Mouse-over any link in this box (actually almost any link on the page) and see what happens.
  8. Back on the Business page, the Content Volume box shows how much volume and what type of documents were indexed from that date range (related to the topic on the page).
  9. The Network box shows a network of concepts in a graph. Click on the icon that makes this box larger.
    • You can now see that the graph shows news topics and how they're related.
    • Pick out one of the items on the graph.
      • Hover your mouse over its icon.
      • Hover your mouse over the text of the item.
      • Double-click on that item. Watch the graph change.
    • Now let's change the mix of items in the graph so that it includes more organizations.
      • See the sliders at the top of the graph? Reduce "Keyphrase" from its maximum to about half way.
      • Now take the "Organization" slider to the maximum. How did the graph change?
  10. Let's go back to the Business page. The Hot Spots box shows where the most Business stories have come from.
    • Click to enlarge this map. Look over the map that appears.
    • You can change the date range at the bottom of the graph.
    • In the search box at the top of the page, type "Bank of America" and watch the suggestions that appear below it. Choose "Bank of American Corporation [Company]". Why would you make this choice from the list other than just typing in "Bank of America"?
    • Any stories in Asia that refer to this company (or, actually, to the this company or the concepts it is filed under!)? Click on one of those circles on the map and see what comes up.
  11. Again, go back to the Business page. The Trends box shows the relative volume of stories on particular topics. Click on the icon to enlarge the box.
    • There is a wealth of tools on this page. You can see a few trend lines superimposed on bar graphs of absolute business article volume.
    • You can add a keyphrase to the trend lines by clicking on the terms just above the graph. Do this now, and then click on the "Refresh" button.
    • Click on the drop-down box containing Keyphrase and see what other types of terms you can add to the graph. Try one or two and refresh the graph.
    • Add a search term to the graph (from the search box on the graph) and Refresh the graph again.
    • Change the time period to the last 3 months and see how the graph changes.
    • Note that all of the information in the right column is linked to the terms that you added to the graph.
      • For example, I added "Financial crisis", "Bank of America Corporation", and "Washington DC". All of the information in Network, Hot spots, and Trends come from the set of documents that are retrieved related to those terms.
  12. Go back to the Business page. The Blogs box lists blog entries relevant to business.
    • You can sort these entries by date or by relevance.
  13. Finally, at the bottom of this column is Audio/Video, and it contains just what you would expect.
  14. Do another search for "Bank of America Corporation".
  15. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at More Content. Notice the counts of different types of content. It is dominated by News and Blogs; however, there are also Reports and Fact Sheets. What are these? Let's try to figure this out.
  16. Scroll back up to the top of the page and click on "Advanced Search Options". Here you can select different content types. Let's check the box next to Fact Sheets. Now click on the Search button. (I have yet to figure out what the Filter button does.)
  17. Now look under More Content. Click on "Fact Sheets" in order to get them to show up on the page.
    • Who are these companies and these people? Why do they appear on this page? Where does this information come from?
  18. Now let's repeat this search and choose "Reports" this time.
  19. Notice the information is presented somewhat differently this time.

That's all we're going to look at right now. You can explore this site for a while and continue to get a better understanding. You might look at the links at the bottom of the page under "How to Use" (especially "Silobreaker", "RSS", and "Widgets"). You might also do some research (probably for an extended period of time) on your term project.

NewsSift

NewsSift uses textual understanding to provide a powerful search for business information. You will be rewarded for searching for information based on the tool's knowledge rather than using the usual keyword-based search.

  1. Go to the NewsSift site.
  2. Type [bank] in the search box and let the boxes below (business topic, organization, etc.) become populated with terms.
  3. Click on "Bank of America" under "Organization".
  4. After the results appear…notice that you can sort the results by relevance or date, and you can also change the date range of the results.
  5. Let's look through some of the information that appears on the results page:
    • Down the middle column are Articles from the search results. These come from selected business resources — not the full internet.
    • Now look at the left-hand column.
    • At the top is basic information about the company.
    • Below that is an analysis of the Sentiment of the articles as determined by the web site's algorithm.
    • The Sentiment Trends graph shows how the balance of sentiment has changed over the last few months, while the Positive and Negative Sentiment lists show the most popular themes within those article groups.
    • The Article Sources graph shows the relative and absolute numbers of documents by type within the results. You can click on any one of those types in order to restrict the results (and thus reload the whole page).
    • The Top Organizations shows the organizations mentioned the most times within this set of documents. Again, you can click on any one of these organizations in order to restrict the results. Similar lists are shown for Top Places, Top People, and Top Themes.
  6. Now let's look at other very powerful ways that you can explore your query, modify it, and save it.
  7. If your current page is not the results page for Bank of America Corp, then you should re-run that query.
  8. See "Organization/Bank of America" at the top left of the page? Put your mouse over the company name and see what pops up.
    • The topics above the name are more general topics; the ones below are more specific sub-topics.
  9. Now, let's assume we're interested in stories related to BofA and its relationship with the Federal government. Under "Theme", click on "Federal Government".
    • Across the top of the page, the query representation is updated.
    • In the rest of the page, all the rest of the information is updated to reflect the new query.
  10. Now let's suppose that you're interested in investigating other organizations that are mentioned in these articles about BofA and the federal government.
  11. Click on "More Options" under "Organization".
  12. Look at that huge scrolling box of organizations that appear! Click on the House Committee on Oversight.
  13. As of this writing (October 2009), 4 articles appear in this list.
  14. You can share the results of this search in a variety of ways (email, Facebook, Twitter, delicious, etc.) by clicking on the "Share This" button at the top right of the page.
  15. Realize that you can delete terms from your query by clicking the close-box icon associated with the search term.
  16. Now explore items under "Insight with Newssift".
    • I clicked on the question "How many netbooks will be sold in 2009?" This brings up a saved search just like the one that you created above.
    • Look through the structure of the query and compare it to the question that is asked. This will help you get better at creating these queries within NewsSift.

That's all we're going to look for now. You can explore this site for a while and continue to get a better understanding. You might also do some research (probably for an extended period of time) on your term project using this site.

Possible blog entries

There are so many possible blogging topics today, you could write entries the whole semester on just today's activities. Really. In case you're looking for inspiration, here's what I can come up with off the top of my head:

  • Demonstrate the use of SiloBreaker on a specific topic. Point out specific insights that the different parts of SB gave you on this query.
  • Demonstrate the use of NewsSift on a specific topic. Point out specific insights that the different parts of NS gave you.
  • Compare the results of using Yahoo News and Google News on a search.
  • Discuss your reaction to the two tools from Google Labs, the Timeline and Fast Flip.
  • Describe examples of when you might use a general news search engine or one of the news exploration sites (SB, NS).

Resources


10 Real Time Information exercises

by samooresamoore (08 Oct 2009 14:00; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:04)

As you work through these examples, both in-class and out-of-class, I want you to Twitter some information. When you use a web site that you really like or don't like or really don't understand, send a public twitter:

#bit330 NameOfTool: XX: yourReaction

  • The XX should be a number 1-10, reflecting your ranking of the usefulness or interestingness of this tool. (10 is highest; 1 is lowest.)
  • Your reaction should be just that — highlight what you liked or didn't like.
  • I would expect at least 5-10 twitters sent from each of you.
  1. Use several of the real-time search tools to look for information about the following:
    • current news
    • a consumer good
    • Michigan
    • #bit330
    • your term project
  2. Use Topsy to search for the same information as above, but it'll give results from the Web based on information found in tweets.
  3. Use several Twitter search tools to search for the same information as above.
  4. There are a lot of interesting Twitter trends Web sites right now. Some are more useful than others, but all of the ones listed here are interesting. Use several of these sites to search for information about the above.
  5. Investigate the distribution tools and become familiar with how you can use Twitter to share a YouTube video.
    • Use TweeTube to share one of your favorite YouTube videos with your followers. Be sure to include #bit330 in the accompanying message.
    • Use TwitPic to upload a photo from your phone. Be sure to include #bit330 in the accompanying message.
  6. Use the local search tools to search for information on the above.
  7. Use the Twit search tools to search a couple of the topics above and see who or what is returned.
  8. Look through the each one of the "Other Twitter tools". I found each one of them to be a potentially useful site that I could envision using.
  9. Check out the tools under "Organization" — one of the to-do lists and the sticky-note application.
  10. As you use Twitter more, you might find the tools under "Using Twitter" to be useful.

12 Research Sites exercises

by samooresamoore (21 Oct 2009 14:08; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:05)

As you work through these examples, both in-class and out-of-class, I want you to Twitter some information. When you use a web site that you really like or don't like or really don't understand, send a public twitter:

#bit330 NameOfTool: XX: yourReaction

  • The XX should be a number 1-10, reflecting your ranking of the usefulness or interestingness of this tool. (10 is highest; 1 is lowest.)
  • Your reaction should be just that — highlight what you liked or didn't like.
  • I would expect you to send a twitter for each site that you look at in the exercises below. You should do this both during and after class.
  1. Use each one of the primary Deep Web search tools and search for the topics below and be sure to look for the different ways that different search engines allow you to filter the results (usually by date and source):
  2. Use each one of the library- and book-based search tools to search for the same topics as above. Again, be sure to look for the different ways that different search engines allow you to filter and explore the results:
  3. Now, for the specialized Deep Web search tools, see which ones seem to apply to your topic. I would guess that BNet and Biznar would apply to most of your projects. I'm guessing a few of you will find some use for the scientific deep web search tools (if not for your project then for other dimensions of your life).
  4. Browse through and search against each one of the Web directories for sites that might be applicable to your project.
  5. Finally, go through this grab-bag of sites and see if there's anything of value for your project (or whatever).

13 Change Notification Tools exercises

by samooresamoore (25 Oct 2009 18:30; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:05)

As usual, we're going to see how we can apply today's tool to your project topic.

Email alerts exercises

In all of the following, be sure to use + addressing when signing up for the alerts (if it lets you), and then use email filtering to separate these emails from the mass of other incoming email that you get.

In all of the following, you won't be able to judge the effectiveness of these email alerts for days or weeks at a time. Further, you will almost certainly be updating/changing/eliminating/adding email alerts over the rest of the semester as you become more familiar with them. That's okay with me, and you should expect that to occur. You might want to document your history (this semester) of what queries/email alerts you start with and what you end up with — and why you made these changes.

  1. With the Web searches that we defined for email alerts in today's class, search for site-based email alerts for your topic.
    • You will want to have some alerts that are company specific and others that are industry specific. It has been my experience that this works more effectively.
  2. Use Google Alerts to define some queries that you would like to be repeated, with the results sent to your email inbox.

Exercises

The goal of the following exercises is to become more familiar with the tools for monitoring pages, creating feeds, and manipulating feeds.

Page monitors

  • Look at Page Monitoring Software Examples (from the lecture).
  • Use WatchThatPage to create page monitors that will be emailed to your account.
    • There's no limit on the number of pages that you can monitor with this Web site.
    • On this page, read “What is a channel?” This explains how to use channels to enable keyword matching for your page monitors. If you don't need keyword matching, then you need not worry about this.
  • I would be surprised if you end up defining fewer than a dozen page monitors by the end of the semester — or fewer than 3 by the end of today's class. This is a kind of technology that is hard to see how it can be used to begin with, but once you get the feel of it, you'll begin to see applications for it in many places.

Using other people's work

  1. Search through the Dapps at Dapper.net and see if there are any tools that you can use for your own project. If so, add it to your blogroll (modifying it if necessary).
  2. Search through the popular Pipes at Yahoo Pipes and, again, see if there are any tools that you can use for your own project. The industry search also provides a useful place to start.
    • If so, add it to your blogroll (modifying it if necessary).
    • A simple way to use Pipes is to aggregate a bunch of feeds on a particular topic (e.g., news about a specific company) that don't update very often.
    • Look at some of the example pipes — they can be very complicated. You don't have to do this. I know very few of you are programmers. No worries. But if you are a programmer, Yahoo Pipes can be a lot of fun to play with. It provides a fully-functional visual programming tool that actually works pretty well.
  3. Go back to some “shotgun-style” RSS feeds that you have come across before and have been afraid to add to your blogroll simply because of the volume of information you knew you would get.
    • Create a Yahoo Pipe for that feed that focuses the feed onto one topic. You could possibly spend a whole semester playing with Yahoo Pipes and learning all of its ins-and-outs. You can search for the pipe called “companyinfo” (I created it) to see an example of a simple pipe.
    • Add these feeds to your blogroll.
    • Also, if you create a pipe that other people might find useful, you should also consider writing a blog entry about it.

Feed filtering

FeedRinse is the easiest tool out there for filtering your feed. If Yahoo Pipes just seems too intimidating, then you should use FeedRinse to apply keyword-based filters against an RSS feed that just has too much information.

Feed creation

The following are more complex and are not always needed, but are good tools to have in your toolbox. Expect to struggle a bit as you go through these exercises.

  1. There's two primary feed creation Web sites that we're going to use.
    • Feed43 is appropriate for creating feeds from pages with a list of information or just a piece of information that you want to capture in a feed.
    • Dapper is appropriate for creating feeds from pages that are created as the result of entering data into a search box. It's also a really rich source of previously created tools that you might want to take advantage of.
  2. We're going to look at Dapper first.
    • Go to the site and search for “finance”; see what Dapps have already been created. I found one called “Google Finance News” that looks pretty useful. You might find others (actually a lot of others). Let's look at bit at the Dapp for Google Finance News :
      1. We want to create an RSS feed, so set “Choose format” to “RSS Feed”.
      2. Be sure to click on the “Go” button after choosing “RSS Feed”.
      3. You now need to define the parts of the RSS feed.
        1. The title should be “News A”.
        2. The item text should be News C, D, & B.
      4. Enter the Stock Ticker in the box and click on “Update Input”.
      5. Click on “Get a nice short URL”.
      6. You do not want users to be able to supply the input values (i.e., the stock ticker). You want to define this RSS to deliver information about this particular stock.
      7. Give the service (Dapp; or RSS feed, in this case) a name (e.g., MSFTgooglefinance) or something like that.
      8. Click on “Save Service”.
      9. You can now add this RSS feed to your feed reader.
    • You can create other RSS feeds for other stocks based on this same Google Finance Dapp.
    • Search for other Dapps and see if any might be useful for either one of your projects. You might also go to that same page that you went to above and explore the tags identifying already existing Dapps.
  3. Now we're going to take a look at Feed43
    1. Let's make a feed based on the News page at Ross .
      1. Be sure to create an account and get logged in.
      2. Go to the “My Feeds” page.
      3. Click on the link to Create a new feed
      4. Enter the address http://www.bus.umich.edu/NewsRoom/ into the “Address” box and click on the “Reload” button.
      5. Wait a few seconds and the HTML for the page should appear in a new text box on the page.
      6. Look at the text of the page itself. What's the first news item? When I'm looking at it, it is “The People Paradox blah blah”.
      7. Go back to the page with the HTML. Search for the text of the title in the HTML.
      8. Now find all of the text for a row in the HTML table. Again, when I'm looking at it, this text is like the text on this page.
      9. In the box titled “Global Search Pattern” under “Define extraction rules”, put the following text: Recent News{%}
        • This code can be interpreted as find all matches for news after the string Recent News''.
      10. Copy all of this data (for the row above) to the text box below “Item (repeatable) Search Pattern”.
      11. Now, you want the text in the box to end like the text in this search pattern.
        • This means start with <tr but throw away everything up to the anchor tag. Now, in the anchor tag, save the HREF value and the text of the title. Next, throw away any text that is after the anchor tag.
        • So, at the end of this, we are left with just two values from each news item.
      12. Click on the “Extract” button.
      13. There should now be something like 20 news items in the text box below. If not, then you need to revise the search pattern.
      14. In the text box “Clipped data”, there should be a series of {%1} and {%2}
      15. Scroll down the page to the RSS feed properties.
      16. Clean up the feed title and feed description.
      17. Scroll down the page to the RSS item properties.
      18. The Item Title Template should be {%2}
      19. The Item Link Template should be {%1}
      20. Click on the Preview button.
      21. Once the RSS feed looks like you want it to, click on “Change file name” in order to make the feed name something more readable. For this example, make it “youruniqnameUMrossnews” (since everyone else is making a feed on this same page). Normally, you would just name it something like “michiganrossnews”.
      22. You can now add this feed to your feed reader. You have created a feed for a page that doesn't have a feed. When the page changes, you will be notified in the RSS feed.
  4. While looking on the Web and gathering pages for your projects, be on the look-out for pages like this (i.e., that have information that you're interested in, that don't have RSS feeds, but that you wish had RSS feeds). If you find them, use either Dapper or Feed43 to create feeds.

14 Custom Search Engines exercises

by samooresamoore (27 Oct 2009 14:00; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:06)

In this series of exercises, you're going to construct different versions of a custom search engine for your term project. Before you start, think of at least two or three web sites that it should search. Use these same web sites in each of the following. In each one of these cases, you will be able to go back and revise the list of URLs, so don't obsess about getting a complete and correct list here at the beginning.

Also, when you look at the custom search engines that have been created in these tools below, you should take advantage of being able to see the list of sites that these tools access (or deny) — you can add these sites to the sites you already know about when you create your own custom search engine.

After you have completed this series of exercises, you will be prepared to create a custom search engine for your term project. If you choose to use Google Custom Search Engine, you will need to embed the tool within your wiki; if you use any of the other tools, you will just include a link to the tool. I will definitely expect some type of custom search engine delivered with your term project.

Google Custom Search engine

Google CSEs can be embedded in your own Web page or can be accessed via a link from your Web page.

  1. Go to Google Custom Search Engine and sign in.
    • Google Marker is a tool that can make the process of adding sites to your custom search engine easier.
  2. Create your own search engine.
    1. Click on New search engine…
    2. Set up the search engine by giving it a name, description, enter some sites, choose standard edition (we'll change this in a minute), and then agree to the terms of service.
    3. On the Control panel, you have lots of options but the choices you're going to look at are Basics, Sites, Look and feel, and Get code.
      • Under Basics/Preferences, change Advertising status to Do not show ads on results page. Be sure to Save Changes.
      • Sites is where you can continue to add sites that your search engine will search.
      • Look and feel is where the tools are located to change how your search engine looks and how it's integrated into your site.
      • Finally, Get code is where you get the code that you'll copy into your wiki in order to integrate the search engine into your site.
  3. You can embed the search engine in a page within your own wiki. You have several different options for how to do this. Each is explored below. Before you continue with the rest of this page, you should make sure that you have created a basic custom search engine that returns some results.

Google-hosted search engine results

I have an example on this page. (Note: if you want to look at how this page, or any wiki page, is written, use the options/view source button at the bottom of this page. If you use the edit button this keeps anyone else from looking at the code while you're looking at it.) This is the easiest one to set up and one that I encourage you to try before you do anything else.

  1. Use the GCSE site, under Control Panel/Look and feel, choose Google-hosted page.
  2. Click on theSave and then Get Code button.
  3. This should bring up a new page with a single text box titled "Search box code".
  4. Create a page on your site in order to hold the search engine (and results).
  5. Copy the code below into that page.
  6. In that code, replace codeFromGCSEpageHere with text from the "Search box code".
  7. Now replace theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere with the URL of the search results page that you are currently creating.
  8. Save the page and give it a try.
[[collapsible show=" " hide=" "]]
[[code type="HTML"]]
codeFromGCSEpageHere
[[/code]]
[[/collapsible]]

[[iframe http://theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere/code/0 frameborder="1" scrolling="yes" width="800px" height="600px"]]

IFrame-based search engine

My example is on this page. This is a bit more complicated to set up because you have to create a file on your personal Web space. The contents of this file are the second box of code from the Google CSE page.

  1. Use the GCSE site, under Control Panel/Look and feel, choose Iframe.
  2. Click on the Save and then Get code button.
  3. This should bring up a new page with three text boxes: Specify search results details, Search box code, and Search results code.
  4. You are going to need a plain text page on your personal Web space. Determine the name of that file. For my search engine results, I created a file www-personal.umich.edu/~samoore/teach/bit330f09/nutrition-results.html.
  5. Type the URL of this search results page into the Specify search results details box. This will update information in the other two boxes.

On the wiki search engine page

  1. Create a page on your wiki where you want the search engine to appear.
  2. On the wiki search engine page, copy the code below into the page.
  3. Replace searchBoxCode with the code from the Search box code text box.
  4. Replace theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere with the URL of the search results page that you are currently creating.
  5. Save this page.
[[collapsible show=" " hide=" "]]
[[code type="HTML"]]
searchBoxCode
[[/code]]
[[/collapsible]]

[[iframe http://theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere/code/0 frameborder="1" scrolling="yes" width="820px" height="900px"]]

On the Web search results page

  1. Using whatever method is easiest for you, it is now time to create that text file on your personal Web space.
  2. The contents should simply (and only) be the code from the Search box code from the GCSE page.
  3. Save the file.
searchResultsCode

Wrapping it up

  1. Now you have a wiki page and a Web page.
  2. Go to the wiki page and run a search. If you're lucky the results will appear on that page in the wiki.

What's going on here? After you run the query, the results are put into the Web page that you created, and the contents of the Web page are then copied over the search engine box on the wiki page. So you are never taken outside of the wiki — it appears as if the results are put into the wiki directly, but they're actually being put into a Web page and the Web page is being put into the wiki. Subtle, but that's what's going on.

Search element based process

This is actually the version that I like best. It looks the best and I think it provides the best user interface. The full width version is not that difficult to set up; the compact version is useful for two-column pages or other pages where you don't want search information to take over the whole page; and the two-column version would be really versatile (and the one that I think I would most prefer…if I could only get it to work.

Full width

My example is on this page. This setup demands its own page within your wiki.

  1. Use the GCSE site, under Control Panel/Look and feel, choose Search element.
  2. Under Choose a layout, choose Full width.
  3. Click on the Save and then Get Code button.
  4. This should bring up a new page with a single text box titled "Custom Search element code".
  5. Create a page on your site in order to hold the search engine (and results).
  6. Copy the code below into that page.
  7. In that code, replace searchElementCode with text from the "Custom Search element code".
  8. Now replace theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere with the URL of the search results page that you are currently creating.
  9. Save the page and give it a try.
[[collapsible show=" " hide=" "]]
[[code type="HTML"]]
searchElementCode
[[/code]]
[[/collapsible]]

[[iframe http://theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere/code/0 frameborder="1" scrolling="yes" width="820px" height="900px"]]

Compact

My example is on this page. If you have a two-column setup and want to include this search engine on your home page, then you could probably get this to work in the desired amount of space.

In order to create this search engine style, follow the same instructions as just above except choose Compact instead of Full width.

[[collapsible show=" " hide=" "]]
[[code type="HTML"]]
searchElementCode
[[/code]]
[[/collapsible]]

[[iframe http://theURLofTheSearchPageGoesHere/code/0 frameborder="1" scrolling="yes" width="420px" height="500px"]]

Two column

I could not get this to work. Here is my attempt.

This would be very useful. You could (possibly) put the search engine in the side navigation bar and have it put the results in a separate wiki page. But, as noted, I haven't been able to get this to work.

For your project

You will definitely want to have a custom search engine for your site. This site should use the web sites (mostly) and pages (the really good ones) that you find during the semester. This is one of the most useful ways that you can share your experience and knowledge with someone else.


17 Image Search exercises

by samooresamoore (08 Nov 2009 00:44; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:06)

In this section you should look for information related to your term projects. Think about creating a page that points to images related to the topic at hand — you could have links that point to query results for each of these sites.

As you work through these examples, both in-class and out-of-class, I want you to Twitter some information. For each one of the first 6 points below, I want you to send a tweet when you are done looking at each of the sites. I then want you to tell us about your favorite web site from that section:

#bit330 #image NameOfTool: XX: yourReaction

  • The XX should be a number 1-10, reflecting your ranking of the usefulness or interestingness of this tool. (10 is highest; 1 is lowest.)
  • Your reaction should be just that — highlight what you liked or didn't like.
  • I expect 7 tweets sent from each of you.

You need to be done with these exercises by the time class begins on Wednesday.

  1. Search the following basic image search engines:
  2. Search news sites for images:
  3. Flickr
    • Be sure to explore flickr as well — it's pretty cool
    • Search Flickr using both full text and tags
    • Use Compfight to search Flickr.
    • Use Behold to search Flickr.
  4. Try several different tools for finding similar images.
    • Run some queries at Google Images, and focus on using "Find similar images" to (wait for it) find similar images.
    • Run some queries at Pixolu — be sure to refine your search a couple of times using different photos each time. Try to ensure that the pics that you use in each set are relatively similar — that will help the tool provide better results for you.
  5. Try a couple different tools for searching for face images. Look for someone either related to your project, some other class, or just personal interest. Be sure to try out several queries for several different people in order to get a good feel for how well (or not) these tools work.
  6. Try the three real time image search tools. You will look for a couple of things. First, notice the flow of images on the home page. Is there any difference among the three? Second, try the same search at each site. Is there any difference among the three?
  7. Also search the stock photo sites. See if there seems to be any quality difference between the pay site (iStockPhoto) and the other sites.

18 Geography Based Exercises

by samooresamoore (09 Nov 2009 00:39; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:07)

As you work through these examples, both in-class and out-of-class, I want you to Twitter some information. You need not tweet on any specific sites or set of sites — I simply want you to tweet when you find something you really like, are really impressed by, or could see will be really useful.

#bit330 #geog NameOfTool: yourReaction

  • Your reaction should be just that — highlight what you liked or didn't like.
  • I expect at least 7 tweets sent from each of you.

You should finish these exercises and these tweets by the beginning of next Monday's class.

  1. Find a list of search engines for Australia
  2. Does Yahoo have a search engine home in Australia?
  3. Look through the directory of popular content on Google Maps.
    1. Find what's on the opposite side of the earth from your home town.
    2. Find some other content that you want to add to Google Maps
  4. Look through 100 things to do with Google Maps mashups; see if there's anything that you want for your project or personally (there's some good stuff)
  5. Look through the home page of GoogleSightseeing; read one of the recent posts.
    1. Under Sights by Locality or by category, find one that interests you.
  6. Use Kayak to find out possible destinations for a trip you'll take the first summer after you have gotten a full time job.
    1. Use TripWolf, Uptake, or WeGo to double check the information that you just found.
    2. Use one of the hotel/hostel search tools to find an appropriate place to stay.
  7. Pick a U.S. city that you would like to visit, or just pick Ann Arbor or Detroit if you'd like. Use several of the local search engines (a couple of the big ones, a couple of the small ones) to find restaurants and local events that would be of interest to you.
  8. Pick a U.S. city that you would like to visit.
    1. Use a couple of the travel directions sites to plan out the driving trip. When building the route, see if you can use the tool to specify several different stops along the trip.
    2. Use Roadside America to find some interesting tourist attractions along the way.
  9. Just in case you're going to either planet, you might want to check out Google's Moon map or Mars map.
  10. Explore the variety of US and world maps available. You should especially note the maps that you can print (HRW, NG) and the CIA World Factbook maps.
  11. Look over the maps of current interest (they always change).
  12. Try out this map maker. Add different layers and see how they can be combined. I am sure that there are projects that you have done (or might do) in other classes or in a future job that this will be useful for.
  13. Explore World Mapper. This is another amazing tool.
  14. Where is the sun currently rising and setting in the world?
  15. Use EarthTools in order to determine the time of day in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  16. Look at some of the tools available on EarthPulse.
  17. Use AuctionMapper to find some eBay auctions going on near here or near your home.
  18. Use either Oodle or LiveDeal to find search for some good (maybe some electronics?) for sale locally.
  19. Explore the value of houses in your home neighborhood using one of the real estate search tools.
  20. Look for some foreclosures in your home neighborhood using a couple of the real estate tools.
  21. On, either MapMyRun or Gmaps Pedometer, plan out a walk (maybe your normal walk during the day) and see how long it is.
  22. Simply explore Wikimapia.
  23. Use a couple of the clock/time zone tools to find the times in Moscow, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires.
  24. If you don't download Google Earth to your own computer, I will have failed you. It is the most fun you can have (within context of a school-related activity, of course).
  25. For some random fun to test your mapping skills, try Sporcle.com

19 Video exercises

by samooresamoore (16 Nov 2009 01:51; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:07)

As you work through these examples, both in-class and out-of-class, I want you to Twitter information about each of these tools.

#bit330 #video NameOfTool: Eval: yourReaction

  • Eval should be a number 0 (low) - 10 (high).
  • Your reaction should be just that — highlight what you liked or didn't like.
  • I expect one tweet for each of the tools below from each of you.

The exercise is fairly straight forward. You should run queries related to your project against each of these video sites.

  1. Bing Video
  2. Google Video
  3. Yahoo Video
  4. Blinkx
  5. Truveo
  6. Pod-o-matic
  7. VideoSurf
  8. YouTube
  9. Daily Motion
  10. MegaVideo
  11. Metacafe
  12. Veoh
  13. Hulu
  14. Clicker

You should finish these exercises and these tweets by the beginning of Wednesday's class.


20 Metasearch exercises

by samooresamoore (18 Nov 2009 02:53; last edited on 29 Nov 2009 03:52)

Integrated meta-search

Your task today is to determine how well each of the integrated meta-search engines compare to the most popular search engine (Google). You should do the following:

  1. Devise a moderately complex search related to your term project (use phrases, multiple words, stuff like that).
  2. Submit the query to each of the tools below.
    1. For each tool, count the number of relevant results among the top 10 results delivered by the site.
    2. When you are done, record each of the numbers in the table below. You can use the template below (except replace samoore with your username) to put your data into the table.
    3. You need to do this before leaving today's class.
samooresamoore
Metasearch tools
User Google Info StartPage Search InfoSpace Clusty DogPile URL Scour
aegreenaegreen 9 8 7 8 5 6 5 7 8
maverboomaverboo 4 3 3 1 2 1 3 3 2
bavidarbavidar 4 7 3 3 6 5 2 7 1
campandrcampandr 3 5 3 2 4 4 2 4 3
dabilendabilen 7 6 3 7 5 5 3 3 4
dbaodbao 5 6 4 7 5 6 7 7 8
ranfanranfan 4 3 3 2 2 1 4 4 2
imontyimonty 10 10 7 6 10 4 10 10 10
JEgererJEgerer 8 9 9 7 6 5 9 6 8
jenmmartjenmmart 10 10 10 9 10 9 10 10 9
jkimsaljkimsal 6 9 8 7 9 3 4 8 8
joshuaaajoshuaaa 7 5 4 5 5 3 5 4 4
keyurpatkeyurpat 4 5 2 7 6 8 3 7 5
kfreelskfreels 9 9 7 4 8 3 5 8 8
mike_danhofmike_danhof 10 7 8 9 9 9 6 6 5
mkeagymkeagy 9 9 8 6 9 9 4 9 8
rolay117rolay117 4 8 8 3 6 2 7 8 6
jadwinjadwin 5 6 6 3 3 4 6 6 3
tfornerotfornero 8 5 7 8 8 6 4 9 9
moonparkmoonpark 5 7 2 5 5 4 4 3 2
npajanknpajank 8 9 6 5 9 8 4 9 8
eboweebowe 8 7 5 4 7 5 5 8 6
vivanovvivanov 7 8 4 4 3 2 4 5 5
WdchenWdchen 7 7 2 2 3 2 4 4 2
nikguptanikgupta 5 6 9 6 8 3 6 7 6
lwarbasselwarbasse 6 5 6 5 7 6 6 4 5
rachbasarachbasa 10 8 2 6 10 8 8 5 6
joecoxjoecox 9 7 6 8 7 6 5 8 7
robo24wolverinerobo24wolverine 9 9 7 7 5 5 7 7 8
oish330oish330 8 5 3 4 5 3 5 4 4
Average 6.74 6.93 5.41 5.22 6.26 4.85 5.19 6.33 5.60
Record 6/5/16 5/19/3 4/20/3 8/12/7 4/20/3 5/18/4 10/12/5 6/17/4

(Interpretation of the "Record" row: This is a comparison to Google. A/B/C: A is the number of times this search engine is better than Google; B is the number of times Google is better than this search engine; and C is the number of ties.

Here are my observations from this experiment:

  • Info, on average, gave better results than Google. Info won 6/5/16 directly compared to Google. Both of these are slight wins for Info, but nothing really significant. Last year, Info was also the only metasearch engine to beat Google.
  • The only other metasearch engines close to Google are URL and InfoSpace.
  • The rest of the metasearch engines (StartPage, Search, Clusty, DogPile, and Scour) are not even close to Google in this experiment. Last year Dog Pile was also soundly beaten by Google, so we need to drop it from this exercise.

Unified interface

  1. Go to Soovle and enter the query that you used above. Watch the interface. Press the right arrow key.
  2. These tools are not necessarily about search results but about the search process. The point is to help you explore the topic, explore different results, explore different ways of looking at things.
  3. What do I want you to do? I want you to go through these eight tools (Soovle, Search.IO, etc.). When you are done, I want you to send a twitter only about your two favorite tools:

#bit330 #meta Tool: observation


21 Social Sites exercises

by samooresamoore (21 Nov 2009 22:15; last edited on 23 Nov 2009 15:09)
  1. Log on to (or create) your delicious account.
    1. Searching for [carbon trading]. You'll use the search box in the upper right and change the drop down so that it searches the appropriate information:
      • Search Delicious: Search all of delicious for carbon trading. You just want these two words to appear somewhere in the title, description, or tag.
      • Search Everyone's bookmarks: Search for carbontrading.
    2. Now repeat the search so that [carbontrading] must be a tag for a bookmark. You do this by putting "tag:", with no space, before the search term.
    3. You should check out the following features. These are great tools for finding random sites that are useful and interesting.
    4. Search delicious for terms related to your term project.
  2. Explore Diigo.
    1. Read the home page.
    2. Watch the tour video. And then read the rest of the text on this page. After this, you should have a clear idea about why they think Diigo is better than delicious.
    3. Create an account.
    4. If you use delicious, you can use the import tool to import links from delicious.
    5. Use the Search box in the upper right. Search the community library for information related to your project.
  3. Explore Digg.
    1. Create an account.
    2. If you are using your own computer, install the Digg Firefox extension or the DiggBar in any other browser.
    3. Go through the tour of Digg. Figure out how a story gets higher ranked on the Digg site.
    4. Features:
    5. Go to the search page and try out searches for [carbon trading]. Look for results within promoted stories, and then look for results in only upcoming stories.
    6. Search digg for terms related to your term project.
  4. Explore Reddit.
    1. Create an account.
    2. Look at the following pages:
    3. Look in the FAQ to see how a submission's score is determined.
    4. Edit the Reddit sections that are shown on the front page.
    5. Search Reddit for information related to your project.
  5. Go to Mixx.
    1. Create an account.
    2. Look at the following pages:
    3. Take a tour of Mixx. Figure out how each story's score is determined.
    4. Search Mixx for information related to your project.
  6. Explore StumbleUpon.
    1. Create an account.
    2. Watch the video intro.
    3. Go to the search page and search for terms related to your project. (Sort by rating and then by review.)
  7. Explore Fark.
    • This is a lot of parody, satire, and snarkiness. Nothing at all to help with your project, but it's a lot of fun.
  8. Explore Newsvine.
    1. Create an account.
    2. Check out the welcome screen.
      • Click the second box (that brings up text related to "Voting & Commenting".
    3. Under the help button, be sure to read the Reading FAQ. It will explain the difference between the Wire and the Vine. Also, be sure to understand how articles move to the top of the page.
    4. Also under the help button, be sure to read the Interacting FAQ. It will explain how voting works.
    5. Look at the following pages:
    6. Note the RSS feeds listed in the left column.
    7. Search Newsvine for information related to your project.
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