A little experiment

Posted in: Research, A Summary View, Thomas Jefferson

A few days ago I set up a Google Alert to let me know when any new material appeared on the Internet (or technically speaking, in Google's index of the Internet) with the phrase "Thomas Jefferson." Amidst all the reportage of Thomas Jefferson High School's basketball triumph over West Diddlyfunk and so forth, in each day's update is a huge preponderance of blogs, columns and news articles that quote Jefferson. A good portion of them are not actually Jefferson quotations, and from my brief look at all these sites it looks like the website or chain email - I haven't determined which - that was the subject of my Epic 10-Part Reference Question is responsible for a lot of it.  What an unjust universe in which that thing is more popular than our meticulously-researched encyclopedia compilation!

So, just out of curiosity, I've decided to do a little experiment.  For the next week, I'm going to look at all the TJ-quotation included in my Google Alert, and see what percentage of it is wrong.  Meet me back here next Friday for the results...

Comments

says

[...] Alerts I’ve gotten in the past week (even the weekend ones, that’s how dedicated I am), just as I said I would, and came up with the following [...]

says

Yes, you have indeed hit on a perpetual problem - although I have noticed that specific pages in the Encyclopedia may be fairly highly ranked, or even at the top of search results if the subject is unusual enough. I'm passing your comments on to our Fearless Leader - this is a constant concern of his. Thanks for your insight!

says

Sorry about the quick doubled-back comment. I was absentminded about posting a second thought.

I have noticed that Google's PageRank for The Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia is a low value. Actually, low page rank and libraries are a very common occurrence. This is understandable, because acquiring good Google PageRank has become something that is associated with crass, self-promoting marketeers, and few librarians are willing to prioritize that. Another way to look at it is that assuring a library's web published assets have good Search Engine Optimization should be a high-priority foal for any librarian who believes that their publicly available net information should be accessible to the largest population possible. Knowledge flow naturally if not somehow restrained.

I do not know if librarian organisations have contemplated SEO for library internet assets. An easy and good way to begin would be for libraries to set up a subnet that consists of a multiple page categorization of links to other research institutions/libraries that have online collections. Libraries need to get a large interconnected network of inbound/outbound links created to aid their web search visibility. It's best to go for fewer links on more pages, because there seems to be some sort of a value reduction to an outbound link's relative SEO kick, that increases with the number of links on the page it's published on.

says

Although I've yet to play around with Google Alert, if it uses the same set of boolean operators as does the main Google Search engine, you can safely an exclusionary filter with -basketball, since James Naismith is credited with creating the game in 1891.

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