Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Information Discoveries and Behavior

Today I heard about a musician I had not heard about before, so I looked first in the Oxford Reference Online resource and found nothing on this particular artist. However, I did find a good little article in the Encyclopedia Britannica on Dan Fogelberg. This led me to discover that I could share the article about Mr. Fogelberg with readers if my blog. I think this is pretty cool that Encyclopedia Britannica allows its readers share useful articles with those who do not have paid subscriptions to their encyclopedia. It makes some sense; if people see the quality articles they are writing, they might be more inclined to pay for a personal subscription themselves.

Also, I googled "Dan Fogelberg" and found a bunch of websites and videos focusing on him. The first result took me to another Google results page that listed all of his albums with links to the record labels where you could no doubt purchase individual tracks or the entire album. Perhaps this should not surprise me, because the internet really does cater to business interests. In other words it's a great place to buy and sell things and find where you can do this, which you probably already knew.

From the second results page I saw something else I had never seen. At the top and bottom of the webpage, the Google search button said "Search Music," and it was placed next to another search button titled "Search Web." These are little things, but it tells me that Google continues to make improvements to its product. They must realize the searchers like to limit their options. If they are searching for music, they don't want medical sites to pop up. Apparently, though, you have to enter your search and select what you want before this limiting function appears. In this case "Dan Fogelberg" was a big enough or unique enough name (though I don't recall having ever heard of him in all my born days before today), so that Google could tell he was a musician. The logic follows that if you want to know more about this musician, maybe you would like to learn more about other musicians.

I wonder how much information behavior has changed because of the Google algorithm. My limited understanding is that it returns results according to their popularity as determined by the number of links pointing to particular webpages. The more sites pointing their hyperlinks to a particular page, the more likely you are to find it by just surfing the internet. Anyway, something to think about.

Yeah, Dan Fogelberg definitely appealed more to the generation that preceded mine. Chances are that I've heard some of his music without learning about him--that he was the artist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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