information retrieval

202 search tool now available

Hello everybody,

Our promised 202 search tool is now available on

You can enter a query and the tool will perform 4 different searches against the corpus of 202 lecture slides. The search algorithms are:

Through the Google goggles (reloaded)

Google realizes that its search algorithm is far from perfect. It seems that even the "politically incorrect" opinions could be able to show up in the first places out of Google control. If you search for words such as "jew" or "obama" you may find disturbing results and images.

On DEVONthink

And now, a word about DEVONthink. They describe it as a "smart information assistant", although you could think of it as a sort of MyResearchBits.


Inventor Wayne L. Wanous might be surprised that his invention, the APPARATUS FOR SORTING AND RETRIEVING CARDS, was mentioned in Bob's class today.

As context, there was a question in class regarding whether IR systems existed before the computer. Evidently, old-timey librarians had been at it for quite some time.

Weinberger has a metadata problem


Nobody is immune!

Semantic web search in the near future? Or a bunch of automated inaccuracy?

 According to this article, it looks like there is some movement on creating a semantic web search, though the article writer seems a bit skeptical of its ability to deliver. T2 (a new project by the makers of Twine), which may come out by the end of the year, is hoping to index the top few dozen sites in major categories. Interestingly, T2 will be adding the semantic tags, not the owners of the sites themselves.

Wolfram Alpha does a good job of finding data, if you know how to ask for it

Wolfram Alpha is a new search engine that launched in May that is geared toward an educated audience looking just for data. Instead of providing a list of links like Google or another search engine, WA returns just the data and relevant graphs. The system's strengths are real-time calculations, powerful algorithms that search the web, and curated data sets.

One Ring to Rule Them All: Google Voice centralizes calls to your home, office and cell--and transcribes messages

 This article in TIME Magazine by Josh Quittner briefly describes a service offered by Google where you can pick one central phone number which will simultaneously route the call to x number of other phones (landline and/or mobile numbers), freeing you from being at a particular phone in order to answer the call... for those times when someone *really* needs to reach you quickly, I guess.

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