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Recommendations needed

In one of our research projects, we are trying to compare some alternative algorithms for generating recommendations based on content similarity. As you might expect, we have some data we’re playing with, but the data is noisy and sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the variability: is it due to noise in the data, [...] → Read More: Recommendations needed

Looking for an HCIR intern

Looking for an intern to help evaluate an interactive search system → Read More: Looking for an HCIR intern

Google eBooks

So Google has unveiled its eBook store, setting itself up to compete with Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and everyone else selling books. Google offers its editions through the browser and on a range of devices such as Android phones and the iPad. The reading experience on the browser on my laptop was OK: not great, but the [...] → Read More: Google eBooks

Don’t go there

The field of information retrieval is inherently (some might say pathologically) data-driven. We need datasets to test algorithms, to compare systems, etc. This is all good. It’s particularly good to have data that are meaningful and relevant, because it makes it easier to motivate users and to generalize findings to data that people care about. I [...] → Read More: Don’t go there

Revealing details

Thanks to Mor Namaan, I came across an interesting blog post by Justin O’Beirne that analyzed the graphic design of several different maps — Google, Bing, and Yahoo — to show why Google maps tend appear easier to read and to use. The gist of the analysis is that legibility is improved through a number [...] → Read More: Revealing details

No such thing as bad press?

A recent NY Times article exposed the machinations of a sleazy guy who ran an online business that relied on links — positive, negative, whatever — to his web site that caused it to be promoted in Google search results. In fact, he found that by being nasty to his customers, his rankings improved. The [...] → Read More: No such thing as bad press?

Technology and education

Scott McLeod’s MindDump blog featured a set of pie charts reflecting professors’ use of technology. The charts are reproduced from a piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is based on a survey of about 4,600 professors from 50 Universities, collected in the spring of 2009. The piece cites, but does not link to [...] → Read More: Technology and education


Rumor and inference have it that Apple will release the next generation iPad next spring. The new device is expected to have two cameras (front and back), and may be able to work with multiple carriers, rather than just AT&T. These seem like obvious enhancements, which makes me wonder if the press has thought this [...] → Read More: iPad2


Those of you who’ve followed this blog and Jeremy Pickens’ blog will recall his many comments about Google’s un-Googly behavior. Recently, Benjamin Edelman actually tested the hypothesis about Google injecting bias into organic results. His post details several kinds of queries that don’t produce organic results. Which ones? Ones that are related to Google properties [...] → Read More: Evidence

Learning to apply the DMCA

Panos Ipeirotis posted a great, (unintentionally) funny letter one of his students received from some clueless person claiming that the student’s site warrants a DMCA take-down because it allegedly deprived another similar site of $0.52/day in revenue by affecting its page ranking in some search results.
The letter Panos quotes is worth reading for its sheer [...] → Read More: Learning to apply the DMCA