Deciphering student search behaviour – SEARCH – Research Information

Some interesting questions arise here …

Deciphering student search behaviour – SEARCH – Research Information.

… firstly – does it matter?
On the assumption that it does; why?
I certainly don’t see any problems with students discussing what they’re learning with each other; whether it’s via Facebook, MSN, over a cuppa, or whatever.
The second is something that I’d like to know more about; so, when students say they’re using Wikipedia, but citing from the items it references; are they doing something that I see as fine – using Wikipedia as a starting point, to then go and *read* the refs; or are they using Wikipedia & claiming they’ve read others?
To me, a lot of this returns to the question of assessment design; is the assessment ultimately to test whether or not facts are known, or is it how facts are used? If truly the latter; then, finding (and *verifying*) facts is only a starting point. And why not find them wherever is easy.
Oh, and have a look at ref. 1; in a bit more depth & some useful Presentations (inc. lots of refs)

Creating a shared bibliography.

Recently, 4 of us have been working on a shared bibilography – using a number of different tools.
For the actual referencing, we considered Mendeley, Zotero and EndNote Web for the shared area. Mendeley was the first one we tried, but it didn’t play as well with the multiple machines we had (Linux, Windows XP/7, iPad) – Zotero appeared to behave better. EndNote Web, while we could get accounts via the University, could have been difficult for sharing with others outside the uni at a later date; so it’s Zotero. As it is, we’re using it in different ways; some preferring the online version, others the browser plugin, while I like the standalone version.
We’d started putting the papers we’d found on a shared directory at work, though that was a little difficult due to the fact it’s possible, but not always easy to get to work directories off campus (especially on the multiple devices we have!) Dropbox has solved that problem; again, we can all use it in ways that suit us best, whether it’s a synchronised folder on the computer, via the website, or via a handheld device.
Now we have a work flow – Timothy is locating the papers, (and generating some nice mind maps of search terms, graphs of numbers of hits etc), while Jane, Jon and I are then reading, evaluating – and, if worth including returning to the original paper to add to the database. Two reasons for that – firstly It’s easier to add all the data automatically; zotero does the hard work, and secondly, the library databases recognise the extra hits & count them

We’re beginning to realise, though, the difficulties of a shared bibliography – and the need to agree on tags, rather than just select our own!

We’ve been doing this work at our secret hideout!
Day 19

Audio bits and bobs.

EveryZing – attempts to analyse the audio in online audio and video to enable searching (Technical details are outlined in SpeechTechMag). I’ve just tried searching “News” for “Peter Tobin” – who has cropped up a lot in the UK news in the past few days. I didn’t get any hits, though when I extended this to “All sources” I got several YouTube videos (including several from UK based news agencies). I guess that it’s predominantly the North American (US?) news channels that it searches. Blinkx gave me quite a few more hits.
I’ve been using Talkr for a while now, to create audio podcasts of my blog posting. From Scott’s blog, I discovered xFruits, which he’s using to create a pdf of his rss feed. I’ve just managed to do the same, though it took some time, as I wasn’t sure which RSS feed it wanted -and it seemed to be quite fussy (the atom one satisfied it) xFruits have a range of services, including an audio generating one. After quite a few false starts, I’ve managed to create one, and after a while I’ve discovered how I think that I can listen to it. As far as I can tell, I have to go to VocalFruits – and sign in. The voice is better than the talkr one, the drawback – probably related to the quality of the voice, is the fact that I can only have 100 free listens. I’ve used up a few already testing it. If I want to use it more, I have to pay €35 a month (for up to 1,000 listens). Guess I’ll stick with Talkr! (The .pdf creation would appear to be free).

Searching For The Best Engine

Freedman in Newsweek, looks at the competition currently facing Google. He starts with a history of Google – commenting

in 1998 word started getting around about a new search engine from a tiny company with a goofy name that sometimes returned more-useful results

It was in Summer of 1999 that I was doing my MSc project – looking at search engines – most of my classmates saw me as really rather odd using Google rather than AltaVista. Now, when I ask students to use different search engines, they look at me as if I’m a bit odd…
Freedman goes on to look at several different search engines; the difference between the position of Google now, and Altavista then is of course a much bigger user base – and far more at stake financially.

Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, March 2007

Top 100 Alternative Search Engines, March 2007 This is the third of KNight’s lists of “alternative” search engines (i.e. those that aren’t Google). In this list he’s listed quite a few engines that cluster. It was the clustering of Northernlights that I particularly liked when I was doing the research for my MSc (in the days when Google was an “alternative” search engine – all my peers using Altavista)
Though quite a few of the sites in his list are familiar, the “Search Engine of the Month” is new – KoolTorch. [Hmm… I’ve just tested it. No good for “Ego-searching”, but I did get quite a few (predictablish) results for Educational Blogging.]

Google For Educators

Google For Educators This is Google’s latest idea, they’ve also got a Newsletter for teachers etc., Most of the tools are those that I’m already using, but clearly with this and Google Literacy they’re trying to get into the education market.

I’ve also recently been looking at Windows Academic Live – I think I prefer the presentation of results to Google Scholar’s, though I’ve not yet compared the actual results for what both are finding.