When 15-Day-Old News Is Too Old

How frequently do you use Google’s Advance Search function to ensure that you are getting the most recent information on a subject? I’ll answer that – pretty much every time I do a Google Search. And every time that I do a search that way, I curse the fact that I have to perform three extra clicks to make sure I am getting the latest and greatest information, particularly on ever-changing subjects, like technology.

In true Web 2.0 style, when there is a need, there will shortly be an answer. Check out NowRelevant (link here) –  a search engine designed for advertisers that leverages The Internet Time Machine to ensure that all results date back no further than 14 days from the date of query.

The Internet Time Machine software is a set of cloud computers linked to monitor supply and demand curves in search engines and online communities. The impetus behind the idea is finding new ideas and products that people are talking about and looking for, but unable to locate. For the casual user or researcher, this means very fresh discussions on your topic of choice.

NowRelevant was introduced in beta form in early May, 2010. It must be onto something, because shortly thereafter, Google introduce time filters in its sidebar, which are only accessible after your enter your search result. Tsk, tsk, still adding that extra step, Google.

Apparently, the quality of results is improved as well. The results filter out spam, SEO dummy sites and other forms of clutter. Per founder Curt Dalton:

“Another definite advantage we have over Google is that we have 0.0% junk sites in our organic results, end of story…. Nowhere on any other search engine are there as fresh and relevant results from blogs, mailing lists, and newsgroups as what we have. We cover millions of sources and have over 67,000 PR6+ blogs that we index daily.”

Check it out – you will definitely see a difference when you search your terms in Google and compare them to your results in NowRelevant. At the very least, NowRelevant should serve as an effective redundant search to ensure that you are getting the best, most recent information on your inquiries. Check out Mr. Dalton’s explanation and pitch below:

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The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Books

With all apologies to Shakespeare and Ray Bradbury, I am not talking Fahrenheit 451 here. I am talking the new Engineering Library, opening this August, at Stanford U, now with 85% fewer books! Apparently, the reduction is due in some measure to lack of interest – many volumes hadn’t been checked out in five years or more. To combat literary overcrowding, the new library will be lean and mean with 10,000 physical volumes representing the library’s most popular books, compared to the prior, more than 80,000 dusty tomes crowding the shelves. The materials will still be available in searchable, digitized form and brows-able from laptop or “other” mobile device.

Library administrators foresee a time when the library will hold no physical books at all. Engineering is a rapidly changing field. Thus, the material upon which engineers rely must change quickly. Sound familiar, lawyers? Faculty already embrace e-books, which are more responsive to these changes. And faculty and library staff can see how students’ interactions with material have changed dramatically, as new students rely more heavily on virtual information for  reading, research and composition.

Stanford is not alone in this. Quoting from the NPR Digital Life article (link here), where I found this story:

And while it’s still rare among American libraries to get rid of such a large amount of books, it’s clear that many are starting to lay the groundwork for a different future. According to a survey by the Association of Research Libraries, American libraries are spending more of their money on electronic resources and less on books.

Lawyers, law librarians, and legal publishers, take heed. The paper book, as a research or reference device, may well be on its way out and practitioners will welcome the ability to scan and search treatises online. It’s the wave of the future.

You can listen to the NPR story here:

NPR Digital Life

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