Cool Search Engine

Check out Omnipelagos, a search engine that “finds the shortest paths between any two things.”
It reminds me of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon trivia game in which you tried to connect Kevin Bacon and any other actor through films or television shows the two worked on using no more than six steps.
Omnipelagos lets you enter two names or concepts and then connects the two. Here’s a preset example I saw when I visited.
From Desperate Housewives to William Shakespeare:
Desperate Housewives
set on Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview and written by Marc Cherry. The series tracks the lives of four housewives
Marc Cherry
Designing Women as Dixie Carter’s personal assistant. In 1990 he became a writer and producer for the longrunning hit sitcom
Dixie Carter
A Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare. In 1967 she married businessman Arthur Carter (to whom she is not related)
William Shakespeare

Cheating doesn’t pay

BMW’s web folks in Germany created countless “doorway pages” linking to their site to increase their search rank for a search in Google for “used car.” Google figured out what they were doing, and so long to BMW’s ranking. BMW’s German site has now been given a search rank of zero. You might be able to fool the searchers, but you can’t fool Google…at least, not this time.

Travel Search Engines–are they reliable?

Consumer Reports, our consumer information standby in the library, has written a report comparing eleven different online travel search engines. Sites like CheapFlights, PriceGrabber, and TravelZoo did not pass muster with CR’s investigators. The key findings from the report:
– None of the sites culled fares and rates from the entire universe of travel sites available.
– There’s a disturbing “customer service vacuum” since many of these sites do not encourage direct communication with consumers.
– Technological glitches may prevent certain itineraries and rates from being captured by travel search sites.
– Questions remain about potential bias on display screens.
So, why should librarians care? Print out a copy of this report and make it available in your consumer resources section. Include it in your next class for users about online travel or e-commerce. And hey, librarians actually travel too, so the report might come in handy for your own next trip planning too!

Cool movie keyword search feature

From one of my favorite blogs, ResearchBuzz!, I found out about a new feature from the Internet Movie Database—Movie Keywords Analyzer (MoKA).
You can find titles that have a particular keyword and get a tally of all keywords from the titles that matched your initial keyword set.
I searched “tomatoes” because I was thinking of the funny sci fi parody I saw years ago and these are the matches I got. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! was among them.
tomato (41 titles – Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002), …)
mashed-potatoes (2 titles – Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), …)
giant-tomato (1 title – Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978))
stuffed-tomato (1 title – Penny Wisdom (1937))
comatose (6 titles – “Carnivàle” (2003), …)
automat-restaurant (1 title – That Touch of Mink (1962))
marcantonatos (1 title – Wannabees (2002))