Saturday, July 3, 2010

Google - Alert to the World

Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but also judgment, the manner in which information is collected and used.

Dr Carl Sagan

A really nice thing about the Web 2.0 programme is how we get a chance to "play" with various web tools that we would otherwise no doubt just bypass or ignore completely, albeit more from the fact we either don't know what they can do, or that they even exist. Most people, myself included, tend to only use the search function of Google, including images and maps, but 'Alerts' is another useful part of the Google Empire. I set up 2 alerts, one very general - Major League Baseball - which I am happy with so far as the "dailies" act as a kind of "highlights" package, but I may play with this in future to concentrate more on the couple of teams I particularly follow. My other alert was more specific, using a search term that I wouldn't have thought of myself, but which came up in a result I got from another Google search. I am well satisfied with the results produced for "Greater Yellowstone wolf population" with a nice variety of items which fit the search criteria well. While set to daily, results haven't come through every day, but they are regular and so far no duplicates, which is good news when you are wanting to filter out as much unnecessary information as you can. This is something I will likely continue with via another email account, and would suggest it to patrons if there is a particular event, or they have an interest in a particular area that they would like to focus on. A clever idea and relatively simple to set-up, but a useful little tool to "assist" us in our ever-expanding and for some, insatiable, quest for information. Just don't forget you can also turn off the flow when it all gets too much!

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