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Monday, January 21, 2008

Google Scholar.

New Research Study shows ‘Google Generation’ is a myth.

The availability of data is not creating more intelligent and web literate generation.

A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation' – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate. The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information and that they find on the web.

The report Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future also shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their immediate information needs – are now becoming the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and manufacturing degree undergraduates to mba students on through to college professors.

Commissioned by the British Library and JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), the Google keyword search study calls for libraries to respond urgently to the changing needs of researchers and other users. Going virtual is critical and learning what researchers want and need crucial if libraries are not to become obsolete, it warns. “Libraries in general are not keeping up with the demands of students and researchers for services that are integrated and consistent with their wider internet experience”, says Dr Ian Rowlands, the lead author of the report.

The findings also send a strong message to the government. Educational research into the information behaviour of young people and training programmes on information literacy skills in schools are desperately needed if the UK is to remain as a leading knowledge economy with a strongly-skilled next generation of researchers.

Dame Lynne Brindley DBE, Chief Executive of the British Library, said of the report findings: “Libraries have to accept that the future is now. At the British Library we have adopted the digital mindset and have seized many of the opportunities new technology offers to inspire our users to learn, discover and innovate. Turning the Pages 2.0 and the mass digitisation project to digitise 25 million of pages of 19th-century English literature are only two examples of the pioneering work we are doing.

“We are a trusted and independent source, both in cyberspace and through our vast printed collections, with more than 67 million hits on our website in the past 12 months and 500,000 readers passing through our doors every year.

“We welcome the report findings, particularly on information and digital literacy skills. We focus on research skills, creativity, critical thinking and visual, verbal and information literacy, within our overall learning programme.”

Dr Malcolm Read, Executive Secretary of JISC, welcomed the publication of the report, saying: “These findings add to our growing understanding of subjects that should concern all who work in further and higher education – the changing needs of our students and researchers and how libraries can meet their needs. We hope that this keyword search report will encourage debate around these important questions. We hope it will also serve to remind us all that college students, part time mba students and university researchers will continue to need the appropriate skills and training to help navigate an increasingly diverse and complex information landscape.”

In the absence of a longitudinal study tracking a group of young people through schooling to academic careers, CIBER developed a methodology which has created a unique ‘virtual longitudinal study' based on the available literature and new primary data about the ways in which the British Library and JISC websites are used. This is the first time for the information seeking behaviour of the virtual scholar to have been profiled by age.

The British Library and JISC commissioned report Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future conducted by the Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) at UCL was launched in January of 2008.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Google and Panasonic Set To Launch Internet TVs.

Internet Search Leader Google has announced that it is developing televisions that display Internet content such as photos and videos together with Panasonic that is owned by Matsushita Electric Industrial Company.

The new Internet TVs from Google set to launch this spring allow users to directly browse and access videos from YouTube, a video-sharing Web site owned by Google, and view Picasa Web Albums, a free online photo-sharing service from Google, Panasonic said in a statement on Monday.

"Panasonic's cooperation with YouTube and Google's Picasa Web Albums exemplifies our commitment to leading the natural evolution of the Internet and extending it to the High Definition television," a Panasonic Consumer Electronics Vice President said.

The Google internet TV news sent comes just after Matsushita, the world's top plasma TV maker, said it would take control of a liquid crystal display LCD TV joint venture and may build a new factory, marking a major shift in its strategy for the flat panel TV market. Matsushita has until now invested aggressively in plasma displays in the belief that it was the most cost-effective technology for flat TVs larger than 37-inches, while procuring LCD panels to make TVs for smaller sets.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Microsoft To Buy Norway's Fast Search For $1.2 Billion

Microsoft Corp. said it will pay about $1.2 billion to acquire Olso-based Fast Search & Transfer as part of a move to expand its data-search business in the corporate market.

The Norwegian software developer, founded in 1997, develops search technologies used by business customers to search their databases, although Fast Search has lately branched out into the field of online advertising. Microsoft has been beefing up its MSN keyword search and online advertising capabilities to better compete with Google and Yahoo.

Microsoft (MSFT) said it will pay 6.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.23 billion), or 19kroner a share, for Fast Search, representing a 42% premium.

Shares of Fast Search, a company bathed in controversy over the past year, slumped in 2007 after the company acknowledged serious flaws in its accounting methods. Yet Fast Search's core algorithmic search codes and technology was still considered valuable enough for Microsoft to swoop in to buy the company.

The board of Fast Search has unanimously recommended the offer and shareholders representing 37% of the stock have made a binding commitment to the deal. Those commitments include Fast's two biggest shareholders, Orkla ASA and Hermes Focus Asset Management.

Shares in Fast Search surged 39.3% to 18.60 kroner in Oslo. In U.S. trades, Microsoft stock was down 0.6% to $34.43.

John Lervik, CEO of Fast Search, said Microsoft's sales, online tickets and marketing platform will help Fast grow much more quickly.

"This acquisition gives Fast an exciting way to spread our cutting-edge search technologies and innovations to more and more organizations across the world," Lervik said in a statement.

Erik Hjulstroem, an analyst at Kaupthing Bank, agreed. He said Microsoft will be able to integrate Fast Search's search algorithms across many of its divisions, both to corporate and consumer clients.

The analyst previously had a reduce rating on Fast Search because the company on its own would struggle to build the necessary scale. "We advise investors to accept the bid, given the poor outlook the company has on designing cufflinks or standalone basis," Hjulstroem said in a note to clients.

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, said the acquisition would enable business customers to pick just one vendor to handle all of their needs. "Until now, organizations have been forced to choose between powerful, high-end search technologies or more mainstream, philadelphia apartments infrastructure solutions," he said in a statement.

Microsoft said the deal is subject to approval from shareholders representing more than 90% of Fast's shares and added it expects the deal to be completed in the second quarter of 2008.

Goldman Sachs advised Microsoft, and Merrill Lynch is acting as adviser to Fast Search.