A new search engine created by ex-Googlers went public today: Cuil, pronounced, the site tells us, “cool;” it’s the Gaelic for “knowledge.” (And “hazel,” which seems less relevant.) The site seems to be suffering a bit from newcomer’s paralysis — the info page is currently not loading and some searches are timing out. Cuil claims to have indexed 120 billion pages, more than Google (which knows about over a trillion, but only indexes a small portion — though just how small, or large, Google’s not saying).
At first blush, I like Cuil’s layout. It presents results in two or three columns (you decide). Many results come with a small thumbnail image. In some cases, though, the image was of questionable relationship to the search; images were not present on the page you link to in a few cases. How images are applied is a mystery to me.
A search for “"University of Michigan Library"” (a phrase, including the quotes) finds it. It also presents “categories” of results on the right, with nicely bundled results.
However, its currency is a bit poor, at least for low-traffic sites like RSS4Lib. A search at Cuil for RSS4Lib pulls up the main page as the first result, but the text shown dates from October 2007, quite a few posts ago).
There’s no apparent way to save a search alert (by email or RSS), which is unfortunate, as that seems to me to be just part of doing business. The interface, though, is quite clean and (at least for now) free of advertising. I’ll be curious to see how this new search tool develops.
For those of you who enjoying poring through your servers log files, Cuil is powered by the “twiceler” crawler you may noticed going through your site.
The Combined Arms Research Library at Fort Leavenworth now has an RSS feed for new items in their digital library. The feed, at http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/CARL/rss/generate_rss.asp?feed=carl_dl, includes items from their military history, MA of Military Art & Sciences theses, World War II Operational Documents, and more.
There’s a wealth of information here… And if you ever want to know how the Army measured soldiers’ feet during World War I, here’s your chance to find out: Army foot measuring and shoe fitting system.
EUFeeds is a special-purpose RSS aggregator for European newspapers that provides access to more than 300 papers from the European Union. Provided by the European Journalism Centre in the Netherlands, this site lets you quickly browse the print media from each EU member nation.
The site defaults to UK newspapers; there is no apparent way to set a different country as your default entry page. It also does not provide an RSS feed for the aggregated content — so you cannot subscribe to the aggregated Czech Republic news, only visit it on a web page.
The Library of Congress’s Law Library of Congress now offers RSS Feeds on the following topics: News & Events, Research Reports, Webcasts, and Global Legal Monitor.
The “Research Reports” feed, for example, includes such topics as “How to Do Russian Legal Research” and “Childrenâs Rights: International Laws.”
These new feeds are just a small portion of the complete list of Library of Congress RSS Feeds.
The U.S. Census Bureau launched a set of RSS feeds — see the census feeds directory. Along with news releases by topic and general Census information, the site currently offers three podcasts, including a daily Profile America podcast (also in Spanish: Al Día).
Gale databases now offer RSS feeds for your searches — and, as well they should, include your institution’s proxy server in the full-text URL. Which means, of course, that if you set up the RSS feed as an authorized user for your institution, you’ll be able to get to the full text of new items on- or off-premises.
Note the RSS icon and “Create a Search Alert” text in the upper right of the image.
RSS feeds do not seem to be available in all Gale databases; it is present (in the example above) in Academic OneFile, but not in, for example, Biography and Genealogy Master Index.
WisBlawg’s Bonnie Shucha points us to a May 2006 item at Library Boy: RSS feeds for pending legislation in the Canadian parliament.
To see it in action, go to the LEGISINFO site and click on any of the lists of bill under “Senate” or “House of Commons” on the left side the screen. The result is, not surprisingly, a list of bills under consideration. The pleasant surprise is that each bill comes with an RSS feed to update you whenever that bill’s status changes.
I’m impressed. Perhaps there’s a similar tool in the U.S. Library of Congress’s THOMAS legislative toolset, but I can’t find it. I should note that they are working on a new search interface that allows searching by topic or legislator, the search results are not “RSSified.” (See “About the New THOMAS” to learn more — and try out — the new search tools.) It seems foolish to launch a search service without allowing an RSS feed of the search results to your users.
Are there are other national or local governments that offer legislation tracking via RSS? Leave a note in the comments and I’ll compile a list.
Update 11 Apr 2007 Changed link to LEGISINFO page to go directly to legislation.
The European Union’s Press Office has launched a large number of RSS feeds for press releases (by EU political domain), commissioners’ speeches, and European institutions. And, to top it all off, there’s a single feed for the day’s press releases.
Library Stuff notes that the Library of Congress now has RSS Feeds — so far, these are news and information feeds about the LOC, along with current patent legislation and Federal Register notices.
Wouldn’t a new books by LC call number feed be a great thing to have as a collection development tool?
I received a press release from the folks at ScienceDirect announcing their “TOP25” service:
The TOP25 provides lists of the most popular articles from over 2,000 scientific, technical and medical journals available on ScienceDirect. Updated quarterly, it’s a great tool to help take the stress out of research and quickly identify the key developments in your area.
These most popular lists are published on the TOP25 website
but you can also register and set-up free email alerts – a great way for busy researchers to efficiently pin-point those “must-read” articles.
Elsevier’s ScienceDirect is used by about 10 million people, which means you can be sure that the TOP25 is an authoritative, one-stop method of finding out what your peers and colleagues are reading.
I have two complaints, one minor, one major. The minor one first — a quarterly updating to the alert may make sense, but more frequent updates would be better. Particularly in regard to my major complaint.
My major complaint is that receiving these alerts by email is all well and good — but where’s the RSS? If done properly, a library could get RSS feeds for use on a subject guide, for example, that include OpenURL links links, pre-formatted for the library’s link resolver. That would drive visitors to the ScienceDirect site and make my life easier.
UPDATE 13 November 2006 10:00 AM: In response to my email (with similar suggestions oulined above) to ScienceDirect, I received a reply from Brant Emery, the TOP25 Project Manager at ScienceDirect. He wrote (quoted with his permission):
[We’re] currently looking to develop RSS for the TOP25 service. This should be implemented by early 2007 (April). When it is available we will alert all TOP25 users to its existence with a Customer Service notification.
…. We will also be implementing RSS feed capability for our other ScienceDirect alerts – the Volume/Issue, Search, Citation and Topic alerts very soon.
So stay tuned…