Libraries your passport to discovery

This week (25-31 May) is Library and Information Week and this year’s theme is “Libraries your passport to discovery”. ALIA says that this year’s theme seeks to highlight “the self-directed discovery element of libraries and to celebrate libraries as the place to access, communicate, connect, educate, entertain and inform.”

Mosman Library in Sydney is currently getting into the swing of Library and Information Week by pitting their reference librarian against *that* search engine. Each day during Libray and Information, a typical reference query will be issued to the library’s reference librarian (who will use items from the library’s electronic reference resources) and to their Internet and IT service librarian (who will use *that* search engine – yes, you know the one!).

Mosman Library vs that search engine

Mosman Library vs that search engine

Each librarian has 45 minutes to research the question and an additional 45 minutes to answer the query, as well as outline the search strategy that they employed to find the answer. You can follow the action – and vote for the winning search strategy and answers to the queries – on the Mosman Library vs that search engine challenge blog. Questions are posted to the blog daily at 10 AM (AEST), with answers posted at 12 noon. The winner will be announced on Monday 1 June.

Google search continues to evolve

For many of us, Google is the preferred search engine of choice. One of the main reasons that it continues to enjoy such a consistent level of popularity is its easy to use interface, as well as a raft of innovative features that are continually being improved upon.

Google has recently announced the upcoming release of Google Squared, which aims to include smarter, more relevant search results from any Google search. Search results will display graphically, in “squares” (table format), providing snippets of relevant information about the search term. The information that is displayed about the search topic can also be customised by the user.

Google Squared search results, via Google Blogoscoped

Google Squared search results, via Google Blogoscoped.

You can view a brief demo of Google Squared’s capabilities here.

Google Squared will will soon be available for testing via Google Labs so keep your eye on upcoming developments and why not have a play with a few of Google’s other offerings in the pipeline while you’re there?

While you wait for Google Squared to be tested and implemented, you might want to take advantage of even more search options that are currently available in Google’s search results. You can watch a nice summary of the current search options here.

Swine flu

Pigs protect themselves in Adelaide's Rundle Mall (va email)

Pigs protect themselves in Adelaide's Rundle Mall (via email)

With the recent outbreak of swine flu and the overload of information available from so many information channels, including over 10,000 tweets on Twitter per hour, what is the best way to keep track of what’s happening? Over at Mashable, there’s an interesting article suggesting a few ways to manage the information as it comes to hand.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US is embracing Web 2.0 technologies to spread the word and has a full run down of the 101 ways in which you can get information about the swine flu outbreak from them (including widgets, e-cards, podcasts and video feeds, RSS and mobile updates to name just a few).

You can also find the latest official Australian government responses to the outbreak on the Department of Health and Ageing’s website, as well as the latest updates.

The World Health Organization is also updating information daily on its website, and mapping the spread of the disease (example of the spread from the WHO, 5 April 2009) .