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Discovery vs. filtering

If you’re like most people, when you want to learn about a new subject, you hop into your web browser and do a Google search. You assume that Google will give you search results that are trustworthy and that best reflect the nature of the question you’re asking. But given Google’s secrecy around their search algorithms, can you trust those results? The Wall Street Journal made a Freedom of Information…

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Google’s war on content

The internet is a big place. How big? Well, it depends on what you’re counting and when (because the numbers change so quickly) but by some measures the internet contains over a trillion gigabytes of information, 500 million websites and 15 trillion web pages. That’s a lot of information. And for us mere humans, it’s impossible to accumulate let alone sort through this kind of bulk without some very cleverly…

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Will Google start dabbling in science journals?

If, as rumoured, google builds a platform for depositing unrefereed research papers for “peer-reviewing” via crowd-sourcing, can this create a substitute for classical peer-review or will it merely supplement classical peer review with crowd-sourcing? In classical peer review, an expert (presumably qualified, and definitely answerable), an “action editor,” chooses experts (presumably qualified, and definitely answerable), “referees,” to evaluate a submitted research paper in terms of correctness, quality, reliability, validity, originality,…

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As Researchers Turn to Google, Libraries Navigate the Messy World of Discovery Tools

Many professors and students gravitate to Google as a gateway to research. Libraries want to offer them a comparably simple and broad experience for searching academic content. As a result, a major change is under way in how libraries organize information. Instead of bewildering users with a bevy of specialized databases—books here, articles there—many libraries are bulldozing their digital silos. They now offer one-stop search boxes that comb entire collections,…

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Google to offer data interpretation MOOC

Google has launched its own Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to teach the general public how to understand surveys, research, and data. Called “Making Sense of Data” and running from March 18 to April 4, the course will be open to the public and, like most MOOCs, will be taught through a series of video lectures, interactive projects, and the support of community TAs. Users who complete the final capstone…

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Google Scholar Wins Raves—But Can It Be Trusted?

Over the past year, Jonathan Eisen’s reading habits have changed dramatically. For most of the past 2 decades, he has kept up with scientifi c literature primarily by combing PubMed, the vast trove of online biology abstracts. But these days Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis, discovers research relevant to his own work without even looking for it. The insightful librarian helping keep Eisen up to…

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Courts expand access to copyright-protected materials

Google Inc on Thursday won dismissal of a long-running lawsuit by authors who accused the Internet search company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission. U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan accepted Google’s argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books, and making “snippets” of text available online, constituted “fair use” under U.S. copyright law. The decision, if it survives an expected…

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First-Place Sweep by American Girls at First Google Science Fair

As a budding inventor and scientist, Shree Bose, in second grade, tried to make blue spinach. In fourth grade she built a remote-controlled garbage can. In eighth grade she invented a railroad tie made out of recycled plastic and granite dust, an achievement that got her to the top 30 in a national science competition for middle school students. In 11th grade Ms. Bose, a 17-year-old in Fort Worth, tackled…

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