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Preview: Phil Bradley's weblog

Phil Bradley's weblog

Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Social Media tools, search engines and their development. These are my personal views.

Last Build Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:22:56 +0000


Google continues to destroy its search engine

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:22:56 +0000

Google really does seem set on a path of self destruction, at least as far as search engine functionality goes. They've changed the way that the search operator 'info:' works, and it's severely damaged the functionality. As regular searchers will know, info: used to provide you with lots of useful information. You got a link to the cache that Google had stored for the particular page, web pages that are similar to the page, web pages that link to the page URL in question, web pages from the site itself, and finally webpages that contained the URL being searched. You...

Google improves search; makes it much harder

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:17:20 +0000

In a blog post Google has said that it's making search results more local and relevant. What it's actually done is to make things much more difficult, and far more messy. Let me explain. When you want to search on Google you type in your search and you get your results. If you want to see results from another country, such as the Netherlands, you could go to the Netherlands page, run your search and you'd get results appropriate for that country. It's obviously useful if you want to get local information about a person, place, event and so on....

Resources for Bram Stoker month

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:42:54 +0100

On one of my courses recently a delegate told me that she was going to be running a Bram Stoker month in November. He was born on November 8th 1847, so this will be the 170th anniversary of his birth. I thought that was a splendid idea, and over the weekend I put together a bunch of resources that might be helpful to anyone else doing something similar. You're welcome to use any, all or none of them, or to take the ideas and create entirely different things. A Symbaloo page. If you visit you'll see a mix of...

Anagram search engine

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:58:52 +0100

I’ve mentioned the Stands4 network in the past – they are a company that specialises in creating small, very niche search tools, such as Lyrics, Poetry, Biographies and Symbols. Their latest is Anagrams and Scrambles at and they have listed a lot of anagrams by subject. So for example in the category of ‘Classic writers anagrams’ we learn that an anagram of Thomas Hardy is ‘shy hot drama’ and for Mark Twain is ‘twin karma’. It’s also possible to search ‘back to front’ as it were to see that ‘midnight kicks’ is an anagram for Dick King Smith. As...

Boolify for easier searching; great for kids as well

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:53:53 +0100

There used to be a really good site called Boolify several years ago, which had a drag and drop approach to building searches. You simply clicked on a building block such as 'word' or 'not' and dropped it into the work area, adding in your terms as you went. The search was then mirrored for you in a search box, and was then executed. Boolify died but has been taken over and resurrected by Kidzsearch and you can find it on their website here: It's still very simple to use, though it can be a little bit fiddly to...

Google's idea of a cure for cancer? Carrot juice.

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 15:21:33 +0100

It's very tempting to search for your symptoms and other related medical information on Google, but you need to warned; Google isn't exactly accurate with the stuff that it brings back. A search for 'cure for cancer' brings us back lots of interesting stuff, but the top result is from a site called Cancer Tutor, which I'm not going to link to, because it's full of crap. I'll copy a little of what it says however: Many people have cured their newly diagnosed cancer by using a very healthy diet and drinking a quart of carrot juice (with a little...

Delicious bought by Pinboard and shuttered

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 12:23:09 +0100

For those with long memories, Delicious was one of the sites to use; it allowed people to bookmark their favourite websites for ease of access. At the time of founding, in 2003 Delicious was a real innovation, as the idea of being able to quickly and easily put stuff onto a third party website and then share that with your friends and colleagues was a really new idea. However, Delicious was unable to keep up with the times as other sites such as Diigo came along to give it real competition. It was sold several times - Yahoo paid between...

Expert Internet Searching 5th Edition

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:11:58 +0100

I'm pleased to say that this book is now with the publishers, Facet Publishing and should be available in about 3 months. This is (as the title of the blog post says) the 5th edition of the title which started life in 1999 as The Advanced Internet Searcher's Handbook. That very first edition didn't even mention Google, which seems almost impossible to imagine. This edition references over 300 different search engines and associated tools. As usual I've started from scratch with it, and while keeping to the same format have added and removed content in almost equal measure. The book...

The dangers of being lax with email addresses

Fri, 12 May 2017 14:15:13 +0100

I had an interesting experience today. I got an email sent to my address telling me that a direct debit to a specific bank account at a specific bank had been set up. My initial response is to complete ignore this as a phishing attempt. However, there were no links to grab my details and the email address from which the email was sent seemed accurate. A few minutes later I got another email addressed to the same account telling me that my account with a 'Groupon' type account had been set up. I decided to explore, so went...

Blue Whale Update

Fri, 12 May 2017 13:43:20 +0100

I'd hoped that the nonsense about the 'Blue whale' suicide game had been a flash in the pan, but it's continuing to be spread. The Daily Mail ran another story on it on May 10th and it's about the 'mastermind' behind it; Philipp Budeikin, who I mentioned in my previous blog post; Blue Whale suicide game or hoax? I don't think there's any doubt that this guy is one very sick individual, and it does look as though he created at least 8 social media groups on the Russian version of Facebook, VKontackte with the express purpose of preying on...