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Mark DuBois Illinois Central College Information Trapping.

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1 Mark DuBois Illinois Central College Information Trapping

2 Your background Why are you here? What do you hope to gain from this presentation? What do you know about? RSS feeds (live bookmarks) Micro-formats e-Mail Tagging and social bookmarks

3 Source of a lot of this information Information trapping book Information Trapping: Real-Time Research on the Web. Tara Calishain. (2006) ISBN: 0321491718

4 Why trapping? Suppose you need to keep up to date with a given technology You could Subscribe to various specialty magazines and e-news letters Use search engines to methodically obtain information Searching is so 1990’s Much of the information available on the WWW today differs what was there yesterday Why not set up RSS feeds and other traps Once these are established, you review the results periodically

5 Huh? Consider the process (contrast with a search) 1. Examine your subject and carefully develop search queries 2. Evaluate places to search 3. Establish your queries 4. Receive and periodically evaluate the results The initial process is more time consuming It is not as easy to tweak the traps as it is to modify a search query However, once you have the traps set, you can collect results for months or years

6 Simple Example

7 Initial questions What is the topic you are interested in? What are the likely sources of information on this topic? This likely includes questions such as what and where (in the event a geographic locality is involved or you wish to focus your results on particular institutions or individuals) How frequently do you wish to receive results? How do you want to receive the results? Do you prefer e-mail, RSS feeds or what?

8 RSS fundamentals WikiPedia definition (slightly modified) “Family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, or podcasts.” “An RSS document, which is called a ‘feed,’ ‘web feed,’ or ‘channel,’ contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually.”

9 Consider current versions of Firefox – subscribe to this page (instead of bookmark this page) RSS fundamentals

10 Firefox addons Wizz RSS - US/firefox/addon/424 US/firefox/addon/424 Purpose to read and manage RSS feeds Useful for small number of feeds Perhaps only critical ones Public and Private Need Wizz account for latter Limited security

11 Firefox addons Sage - US/firefox/addon/77 US/firefox/addon/77 No need for an account Linked to Technorati (see what others link to for items of interest) A lightweight alternative (like Wizz)

12 Web based RSS readers Lots of options Part of CNET Can use OPML (Outline Process Markup Language) – XML based file to allow importing/ exporting of RSS feeds Public page if you want to share

13 Client side RSS readers - may recall Wizz Java based version for desktop Mobile device RSS reader (based on Wizz) Requires.Net platform There are many others, but a fair number cost NetNewsWire (for Mac) $29.95 NewzCrawler (for Windows) $24.95

14 Ok, now I have the software… So what? First need to identify possible sources of information (next slide) Need to understand the technology so you can use it effectively Some sites updated frequently, others, not very often Before you try to set up traps to monitor sites, I recommend you understand the capabilities of the technology and the nuances of the sites you plan to monitor

15 Sources of feeds (for weblogs) Types of feeds Static Keyword based RSS fundamentals

16 What does RSS look like? delivers up-to-the-minute news and information on the latest top stories, weather, entertainment, politics and more. en-us © 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. Sun, 04 Nov 2007 12:22:34 EST 5

17 Page Monitors Isn’t RSS enough? Sometimes the content is not available via RSS Sometimes you only need a little information What is a page monitor? Automated tool that takes a “snapshot of a web page” Returns later and takes another Compares the two and reports on differences Can have false positives (perhaps someone changed the spelling) Web based or client side tools

18 Page Monitors (2) Web based Free, must register Has been reported on some blacklists Free (for up to 5 sources) Free (up to 5 sources) Somewhat limited options (no frequency of monitoring) Free as well

19 Page Monitors (3) Desktop (Website-Watcher) Free trial (relatively inexpensive) $50 (free 30 day trial) owl.html (Internet Owl) owl.html Free Mac her.html (Web Watcher) her.html $20 shareware

20 e-Mail alerts Why? May want to monitor entire sites (not just selected pages with a page monitor) Most don’t have as many false positives as page monitors May want to have content sent to places other than your computer (perhaps a cell phone) There are quite a few of these Search for entomology ("email alerts" OR "e-mail alerts") gave me 257,000 possibilities

21 e-Mail alerts sites is one is another (not affiliated with Google – this site came before Google alerts)

22 Microformats These are small islands of HTML data Yes, HTML is a data type these days, just like XML, SQL databases and so forth As long as everyone agrees on underlying format/ names Can actually use these to interchange data

23 Microformats Solve a specific problem Have a low barrier to entry Design for humans first, machines second Reuse building blocks from existing standards Are modular and can be embedded in web pages Encourage decentralized content and services

24 Types of microformats Hcard – for marking up contact information for people and organizations Hcalendar – for marking up event information for meetings and conferences Hreview – for marking up reviews including products and events Example sites - wine reviews (hreview), contact (hcard) - profiles (hcard) - concerts (hcalendar) - events (hcalendar), profiles (hcard)

25 Microformats Desire to re-use bits of HTML (good reference site) Operator (Firefox add-on) - Dreamweaver microformats extension ats/ ats/ Consider a few examples hCard (for people and organizations) hCard creator

26 with Operator Screen capture below

27 hCard Example Mark DuBois WOW 1 College Drive East Peoria, IL, 61635 USA

28 hCalendar Compact Code example November 1st — 2nd, 2007 WOW Meeting — at Las Vegas Review established curriculum model and current technology trends as they affect web curricula

29 Queries Yes, we also will need to use search engines We need to verify we have the desired sites (and have not overlooked something) How should I actually create queries to obtain needed information? Many just plug a couple of words into the text input box Consider Using unique language – instead of ants (which turns up Java related terms in addition to insects), I might look for Formicidae Use more words (I believe Google has a limit of 32 words) How many have ever approached that limit? Try to be as narrow as possible

30 Searching Basic syntax Caterpillar –tractor (using the minus sign in front of a word to exclude those sites from the results) JavaScript tutorials examples – since I did not specify, most search engines today assume a Boolean AND is between each word Sidebar - Special searching syntax Intitle:keyword (for Google and Yahoo) – word must be in title InURL:keyword (for Google and Yahoo) – word must be in URL Site:domain (.edu,.com, etc.) – might help if looking for academic information

31 Tags and conversations Tags – keyword someone uses to describe a resource in a directory People often build a folksonomy (or collaborative tagging) These are not full descriptions, only a few words Conversations – discussions on mailing lists or forums There are specialty search engines which index conversations is an example Why treat these differently? Language

32 Searching within tags Potentially working with huge datasets Consider that by 2010 Gartner Group estimates there will be 1 zettabyte of information generated annually 2 to the 70 th power 10 to the 21 st power “Grains of sand” A lot of this information is in the form of audio, images, and video This is why tagging has become so popular – helpful to find What do we look for?

33 Searching within tags (2) Tags are only a couple of words Consider that you can look for different levels of information Insects Ants Labor Day ants Lasius neoniger Last one might be appropriate for website search but is probably too specific for tag search Try to stay simple and general

34 Searching within conversations Create queries that reflect how you would discuss a topic If you are interested in professional conversations, use their vocabulary Many of the conversation search sites have advanced search options Use them Example on next slide

35 Advanced search - conversations

36 Tagging information Might want to use some existing sites as well (doesn’t look or act like a search engine) Yes, there is a search box, but also try

37 Filtering the input You may have set a number of traps RSS feeds can be organized in the software itself eMail tends to accumulate and may hinder your best efforts to control it One alternative is Gmail Lot of storage space (4.5 GB at this time) Good filtering ability Excellent anti-spam capabilities Great searching capabilities Can also create multiple addresses – send me a message sometime

38 Gmail example Results of filter for mail sent to

39 Gmail example (2) Setting the filter

40 Gmail example (3) Setting the filter – part 2

41 Gmail example (4) Searching Show search options Note that when you select a label, you are doing a search in your inbox

42 Organizing the information Consider starting with simple text editor I use Notepad++ Multiple sources of information If you use a tool like MS-Word, you get all sorts of formatting (yes, you can deactivate it, but it can be a pain) Could also use Wiki (portable one is TiddlyWiki) That is what I will provide all these links with Can download from

43 Some of the items we covered RSS Web page monitors eMail alerts Microformats Queries Searching Tags Conversations Filtering the results Organizing the results

44 References Information trapping book Information Trapping: Real-Time Research on the Web. Tara Calishain. (2006) ISBN: 0321491718 Microformats: Empowering Your Markup for Web 2.0 John Allsopp (2007) ISBN 1590598148

45 Mark DuBois Illinois Central College Information Trapping

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