Testing trunk.ly - your personal search engine

Originally posted April 19 2011

I am currently in a kind of test socia tools modus. No, this is not about Facebook (which I, frankly, find of little use), but rather the use of tools used to find, save and share posts, articles and sites on the Web.

I am currently using two tools for this: our weekly Pandia Search Engine News Wrap-up over at pandia.com and twitter. For all practical puposes I am building a large collection of links to interesting and useful resources, but I have no way of searching this content.

Enter trunk.ly, a new kind of bookmarking site that wants to take over if delicious is abandoned by Yahoo.

If you sign up, you may connect it to your twitter, Facebook and RSS reader accounts and let it sync all the links you have included in tweets and posts. It will then index your links and the pages they are pointing to and generate your own personal database of online resources. You may even import (but not sync) your delicious bookmarks.

Given that this is a social site, you may also follow other trunk.ly users and get access to more relevant information. It looks promising. My trunk.ly links are found over at trunk.ly/perkoch.

Update December 2011: Trunk.ly has now been bought by Delicious, and will be closed down in January. Delicious has still not implemented the trunk.ly technology. Too bad.

On joining the Twitter community

Men in computerI must admit I have been a Twitter sceptic.

A service that lets you send ultrashort messages to a group of contacts? Come on!!!

There is enough information noise in my life already: email, phones, RSS feed and web sites to follow, meetings, text messages. The list goes on and on.

My wife convinced me, however, and I have now opened my own Twitter account.

Sure, there are enough of Facebook like messages: “I am taking my dog for a walk!”, “It is raining” etc. — the kind of bonding and grooming oriented chatter we humans are so good at.

But there are also highly useful messages announcing meetings, online articles, news items etc, and if you follow people having the same interests as yourself, you will get the latest news awfully fast.

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Search engine intelligence for librarians

My wife Susanne and I visited NOLUG on Monday and talked about search engine intelligence for librarians.

Nolug, or Norwegian Online User Group, is a community for users of online databases and search tools.

There are a large number of search oriented sites out there, but you only have to follow a few to get the essential news and commentary.

Susanne also presented her favorite RSS web feed readers and online bookmarking services and discussed why such services help you cope with information overflow.

Here is the main presentation in Slideshare format:

You can also download the PDF file from Pandia.

We also made a short presentation of the history of our search engine oriented site Pandia. It is, indeed, a strange story. Pandia is definitely the only site of this kind out there that was indirectly caused by an act of parliament!

Well, you can read about it in this short slideshow:

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The Kate Bush Spot

Kate BushOver at Pandia my wife and I try to keep track of the latest development in the social web scene.

One service we are particularly fond of is Fanpop. It is not as popular as MySpace and Facebook, and for a while we actually believed it would die from lack of oxygen.

Now, a year since we covered Fanpop the last time, it seems that it has reached the critical mass needed to deliver thriving online communities.

So, I spent some time yesterday catching up with the site, and Susanne helped me set up my first Fanpop spot.

A spot is a kind of mini web site or portal focusing on a particular topic.

You may include videos (often fetched from YouTube), add links to online resources, put up comments, start a discussion forum and add pictures. So it is both a directory containing relevant resources and an online community.

I found to my surprise that there was no spot for one of my favorite pop artists Kate Bush. She definitely deserves one, so Susanne and I found some illustrations, added some videos (including the brilliant Cloudbusting video with Donald Sutherland) and put up some links to Kate Bush sites.

If you are into her music, do take a look at the Kate Bush spot. And please add some comments! I gain “points” that way.

Claiming a post at Technorati

I am not really expecting a lot of visitors to this blog. As long as our two cats keep track of these posts I am happy.

However, Timian and Basilikum are using Technorati to follow the blog scene. And in order to get your blog listed in Technorati you need to claim it. One way of doing that is to include a link to your Technorati Profile in a blog post.

What is Technorati, you ask. Well, it is one of the more successful attempts at mapping the blog scene online. It definitely has its part of blog spam (i.e. artificial blogs — or splogs — set up to lure visitors into clicking on ads), but it still works as a good blog search engine.

By all means try it out.

Personalized home pages

My wife Susanne has written a review of personalized home pages over at Pandia, and has come to the conclusion that Netvibes is the best.

Personally I haven’t had time to test them all, but definitely see the need for a personal home page where I can gather most of the online resources I use daily.

For my search engine related activities I use Google Reader at the moment. The search engine news and blog community is very Internet savvy and all of them have RSS feeds. This means that I can cover the headlines from a large number of sites without visiting each and every one of them.

Unfortunately the research and innovation policy community is not equally up to date with modern technology, and as far as I can see, there are close to no blogs (or RSS feeds) in this area. (One notable exception is my old research colleague Ian Miles at the University of Manchester.)

This means that using an RSS reader for covering the research in research and innovation scene definitely is overkill.

By the way, Susanne has also written a presentation of the Top 5 online RSS readers.