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Google’s new “Freshness Algorithm”

Last Thursday, Google announced major changes to the way they present search results. The changes are expected to affect up to 35% of all searches. While relevance and currency have always been important in how high web sites appear in search results, this makes them even more so.

As explained by Amit Singhal in a post on the Official Google Blog, Google is making these changes because:

Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent. If I search for olympics, I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics.

Google is basing the new search on their Caffeine web indexing system, introduced last year, which allows them to crawl and index the web in near real time.

These changes are obviously good for users. The implications for website owners will become clearer after some more usage and the algorithm will likely be tuned by Google, but several things are already obvious. Fresh content, including frequent updates, will be even more important. RSS feeds of your content and date-modified tags will help Google find the updates.

If you’ve been putting it off, now would be a good time to get a comprehensive analysis of your website.

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Digital Public Library of America Video Update

The Digital Library of America (DPLA) is a one-year old project that grew out of a meeting of 40 library leaders held in October, 2011. It’s goal is to create a large-scale digital public library to make the cultural and scientific record available to everyone. The DPLA received two significant donations last week with The Sloan Foundation and Arcadia Fund each contributing $2.5 million to the project.

Last month Maura Marx, Director of the DPLA Secretariat, was at the Europeana Tech Conference, held at the Austrian National Library, where she gave a short update on the DPLA. A video of her presentation was posted on the DPLA website on Wednesday. It’s just over 12 minutes long and well worth watching.

She describes the DPLA as an American project that seeks to provide coherent access to content from a variety of institutions — from museums, from libraries, from archives, and to do it in a way that will encourage participation from users and that will encourage innovation and new development. She goes on to say that it will do so by providing content on the most open platform possible, subscribing to the most open principles possible. The goals are ambitious. They are trying to build a useful, functioning, open digital library. By April 2013, they expect to have a working prototype.

The Secretariat is at the Berkman Center at Harvard, which coordinates the project’s activities.

The most recent developments were six awards to groups submitting Beta-Sprint proposals – code and concepts for how the DPLA might operate. The awards included:

  • Digital collaboration through one unified search tool by the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution.
  • A search tool for the DCC’s collection of cultural and scientific heritage resources, by the Digital Library Federation and the University of Illinois.
  • A multimedia-library-without-walls through an open source, HTML5 platform by metaLAB (at) Harvard, the Harvard Library Lab, and Media And Place (MAP) Productions.
  • A coordinated effort to digitize and enhance government documents using crowdsourcing and linked data by the University of Minnesota, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and HathiTrust.
  • A web-based platform to enable the aggregation of diverse cultural heritage content and metadata by MINT at the National Technical University of Athens.
  • ShelfLife, intended to provide users with a rich environment for exploring the combined content of the DPLA, discovering new works, and engaging more deeply with them via social interactions by the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and multiple partners.

More detailed descriptions of these projects are here: DPLA Beta Sprint Results

The momentum surrounding the DPLA is increasing and we expect to see many more developments in the near future as they move forward on these and other projects.

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Library Linked Data Final Report from the W3C

One of the organizations that we pay attention to at Unlimited Priorities is the MIT-Based, World Wide Web Consortium (often referred to as the W3C). This is the group that oversees standards for the Web. The W3C has several incubator groups working on new and emerging standards. Their Library Linked Data Incubator Group, which includes people from OCLC, LYRASYS, the Library of Congress, Talis and several major universities, has the mission to help increase global interoperability of library data on the Web.

This group has just published a final report in which they characterize the current state of library data management, outline the potential benefits of publishing library data as Linked Data, and formulate next-step recommendations for library standards bodies, data and systems designers, librarians, archivists, and library leaders. These recommendations are focused on helping make the information that libraries create and curate more visible and re-usable outside of their original library context on the wider Web

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Developing Opportunities with Archival Collections

Internet Librarian International 2011 took place on October 27 and 28th in London.

Unlimited Priorities’ Howard Stanbury presented in the B204Driving Collaboration with Repositories session and explained how information repositories of all kinds are being challenged to adapt to a changing paradigm in facilities, resources and services.

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TEMIS and HighWire Press Join Up to Semantically Enrich Content

HighWire Press, an industry leader in high quality hosting and web publishing for scholarly publishers worldwide and TEMIS, a Semantic Content Enrichment solution provider for the Enterprise has announced they have entered into a strategic technology and business partnership. HighWire will integrate the full suite of Luxid® software within its ePublishing Platform. This will allow for automated content annotation, enrichment and linking for its existing customers.

…while Luxid® can effectively tag content using taxonomies, it also performs advanced semantic analysis to identify the new discoveries happening on the cutting edge of research, those that our publishers value the most. — John Sack, Founding Director, Highwire Press

Users have become much more sophisticated in their use of online information and are on the lookout for easier and more efficient ways of locating the information they need most. Publishers are recognizing the need to make their content more findable as part of any efforts to improve customer satisfaction. Semantic content enrichment has become a strategic means to help both consumers and publishers make better use of information.

HighWire’s Founding Director, John Sack says “This new partnership allows us to increase discoverability inside the platform with richer metadata and outside the platform by connecting to the semantic web. The broad discipline coverage and the complete suite of customization tools offered by Luxid(R) give HighWire’s publishers the opportunity to access the full scope of the industry’s most advanced semantic toolset. Also, while Luxid(R) can effectively tag content using taxonomies, it also performs advanced semantic analysis to identify the new discoveries happening on the cutting edge of research, those that our publishers value the most.”

Managing Director, Tom Rump continued, “Luxid® marries well with our new tools for rapid product presentation and content aggregation. They’ll enable publishers using HighWire’s open platform to quickly develop new products and deliver them to market, whether on the web or mobile. It allows us to advance the intellectual and commercial interests of scholarly publishers, by having content reach its full potential and its full audience.”

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Congrats to the 2011 Library and Museum IMLS Medal Winners!

National Medal for Museum and Library Service The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has chosen five libraries and five museums as the 2011 recipients of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The institutes National Medal is the United States’ highest honor for museums and libraries that exhibit extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. The recipient organizations have demonstrated innovative approaches to public service and community outreach.

With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart they have achieved an outstanding level of public service. –Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director

“Congratulations to each of these organizations on receiving the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The work they have accomplished is an inspiration to libraries and museums throughout the nation,” said Susan Hildreth, IMLS Director. “With innovation, creativity and a great deal of heart they have achieved an outstanding level of public service.”

This year’s ten winners came from all over the United States. More details about these organizations and why they were selected are available through the links below.

Library Winners

Museum Winners

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit

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London Calling: Internet Librarian International 2011

Internet Librarian International 2011 will be on October 27 and 28th at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in London.

Internet Librarian International 2011This year’s theme is Navigating the New Normal – Strategies for Success. The reality of the current economic climate means that it’s imperative to provide pertinent services, utilise the most appropriate tools, and explore alternative approaches, regardless of your information environment. Even if you’re managing information outside a traditional library setting – as web designer, content evaluator, portal creator, systems professional or independent researcher – you must continue to offer services that are relevant and cost-efficient.

If you will be at the conference on Friday be sure to swing by session B204Driving Collaboration with Repositories where Unlimited Priorities’ Howard Stanbury explains how information repositories of all kinds are being challenged to adapt to a changing paradigm in facilities, resources and services.  This session will begin at 2:45pm and is the last session in the New Users, New Audiences, New Behaviours track.

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Internet Librarian takes on Content, Connections & Conversations

Conference Buzz: Internet Librarian 2011

From October 17th to the 19th, over a thousand librarians and information professionals gathered in Monterey, California for the 15th annual Internet Librarian conference.

Information Today, Inc, the conference sponsor, describes event as the only conference for information professionals who are using, developing, and embracing Internet, Intranet, and Web-based strategies in their roles as information architects and navigators,Webmasters and Web managers, content evaluators and developers, taxonomists, searchers, community builders, information providers, and trainers. This year the formerly separate Internet@Schools conference ran as a special track within the larger conference.

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