Readings for 9/26

Ok, there was a lot of data to mine for class this week: Cohen’s piece on data mining “From Babel to Knowledge” discusses his adventures with an Application Programming Interface (API) he developed to test the power of such tools in searching through large databases and pulling together relevant results. He would conclude that it is best to tap into all sources when developing such tools; quantity being actually better than quality, since algorithms can be developed to weed out the junk.

 “30 Search Tips in 40 Minutes” is oriented to the professional researcher, maximizing time-for-dollar value for the client. I like tip number 30; sometimes you can’t use the web for your search. Its good to remind people that not everything is online. (yet)

 Turkel’s articles proved a refreshing break from some of the acronym- and techno-laced readings. Comforting to hear that he feels we need archivists, librarians, and curators now more than ever (“Methodology for the Infinite Archive”), while encouraging us to build our skills in order to use this new environment effectively. He envisions more of a partnership, rather than the cart (gee-whiz technology) driving the horse (us historo-folks).

 Turkel’s discussion of “spidering” (in “Teaching Young Historians to Search, Spider, and Scrape”) touches on what I said in an earlier post about moving forward. Spidering is arguably not a “linear” process,  since it is randomized by how the entries are arrayed in the piece, but it does move the viewer forward toward the desired clarity (“I’m not interested in that, but I am interested in this”).  



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