Category Archives: Search Engines


Ruling Could Drive FCC Forward on Net Neutrality

A court ruling this week that seemed on its face to be a defeat for advocates of net neutrality might actually include a road map for how to ensure equitable access for users, according to legal experts and open-Internet advocates.

The 2-to-1 ruling, handed down on Tuesday by a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., allows Internet-service providers to create tiered pricing for certain types of online traffic. It’s the latest turn in a years-long battle over the Federal Communications Comm…


‘Free-Range Learners’: Study Opens Window Into How Students Hunt for Educational Content Online

Milwaukee — Digital natives? The idea that students are superengaged finders of online learning materials once struck Glenda Morgan, e-learning strategist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as “a load of hooey.” Students, she figured, probably stick with the textbooks and other content they’re assigned in class.

Not quite. The preliminary results of a multiyear study of undergraduates’ online study habits, presented by Ms. Morgan at a conference on blended learning here this we…


Internet Sites Go Dark to Protest Anti-Piracy Bills

Students counting on Wikipedia today to help them finish papers or prep for exams are out of luck. The online encyclopedia’s English-language site has gone dark for 24 hours as part of a Web-wide blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261), or SOPA, a bill being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act (S 968), or PIPA. Both bills have come under heavy fire from the tech industry and from Internet-freedom advocates because they …


Google Scholar Opens Up Its Citations

Anyone can now track his or her citations via Google Scholar. The free citation service is “a simple way for authors to compute their citation metrics and track them over time,” the company said in an announcement yesterday on the Google Scholar blog. Google announced a limited-release test of the service in July.

Google Scholar automatically sorts articles into groups. Authors can go through those, identify which articles are indeed theirs, and edit the list. Google Scholars collects citations …


What Wikipedia Deletes, and Why

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, famously allows anyone to write or revise its entries, and the history of each item is open for anyone to review. Except for material that leaders of the effort consider too “dangerous” to leave online.

The fine print of its stated practices notes that in some cases, material is completely spiked from the record. Or, as the policy reads: “a revision with libelous content, criminal threats or copyright infringements may be removed afterwards.”

These total redac…


Smartphones Present Growing Security Problems on Campus, Report Says

As technology advances, so do the threats posed to its users and their devices. One growing area of concern for colleges, highlighted in a report released today by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center and the Georgia Tech Research Institute, is the increasing number of attacks on smartphones and their mobile Web browsers.

Smartphones’ small screen size and abundance of loosely monitored applications make them particularly vulnerable, says Mustaque Ahamad, co-author of the report, Emergin…


QuickWire: New Google Service Mines Patterns in Search Data

Thanks to services like Google Trends, it’s easy enough to find out how search terms are trending online. Today Google announced a new service, Google Correlate, that allows users to see what search terms best match a real-world trend they want to track. Researchers “wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse,” according to Matt Mohebbi, a software engineer writing on the company’s official blog.

The idea got started with Google’s Flu Tracker, which identifies correlations betwee…


HathiTrust Makes Text of Its Digital Library Searchable Through Summon Service

A new partnership between the HathiTrust Digital Library and a popular academic search service will bring the searchable text of the HathiTrust’s 8.4 million digital-volume collection to more than 200 institutions.

The arrangement will make the full text of all the titles in the HathiTrust collection searchable through Summon, a library search engine created by Serials Solutions, a subsidiary of ProQuest. The collection contains the digital content of more than 50 partner institutions.

Users wil…


Colleges Can Buy Rivals’ Names for Search-Engine Ads, Canadian Court Says

Colleges can buy their competitors’ names from search-engine companies and use them to promote their own institutions, a court in British Columbia ruled recently.

The Vancouver Sun reported this week that the Court of Appeal for British Columbia blessed this strategy by upholding a previous ruling by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in favor of several private colleges in Vancouver owned by the Eminata Group.

The suit was brought by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency, which reg…


Harvard Undergrads Develop Site That Delivers News on Pals

A new Web site created by two Harvard University undergraduates makes online news more personal, offering articles and blog posts mentioning friends and contacts.

Jonah Varon, the site’s co-founder, says that algorithms he developed with his first-year roommate, Axel Hansen, find news articles related to the people users are following and rank them according to their timeliness and importance. He says the system finds information people might not share themselves, as well as material that might …