Silly Saturday #25 Librarians do Gaga

29 05 2010

You probably have seen it all. First at Nikki Dettmar’s blog “Eagle Dawg‘s, then retweeted through the Twitterverse and finally even mentioned by Boing Boing (thanks @drShock). But as a librarian and a former dancer I just can’t resist this video, even though I seldom use the ca, ca, catalog….

Enjoy! it is much better than the Eurovision Songfestival, which I didn’t follow live but was “forced” to follow on Twitter. Well in a certain way the #eurovision tweets were quite enjoyable (and preferable to the live songs, I think). At visible Tweet you can follow the recent ones (for a week or so).

And now for the Librarian GaGa. Librarians rock. ♥♥♥ You did know that, didn’t you?

“Librarians do Gaga” was an entry at the the iSight Film Festival. The video was produced by Sarah Wachter, a student in the iSchool’s Master in Library and Information Science program and the dancers were students and faculty members from the University of Washington’s Information School

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Beware of Top 50 “Great Tools to Double Check your Doctor” or whatever Lists.

1 09 2009

Just the other week I wrote a post “Vanity is the Quicksand of Reasoning: Beware of Top 100 and 50 lists!”

In short this post describes that (some) Top 100 etc lists may not be as useful or innocent as they seem. Some of these lists are created by real scam-sites, who’s only goal is to make money via click-troughs and to get as much traffic as possible, via YOU (and me)!

The scam appears in many guises.

  1. As submissions for a  blog carnival, i.e. 100-weight-loss-tips-tricks.
  2. An offer of a health care student who asks you to do a guest post (you only have to link back to his/her site).
  3. In the form of a mail, dropping you a quick line that you’re included in a top 100 list, possibly worth mentioning to your audience.
  4. You just noticed a top 100 list with excellent sites, worth mentioning on Twitter or Friendfeed, so your followers become aware of the sites and pass the message.

The first two are pretty obvious scam. The latter two are more difficult to see through.

Why do I write another post? Because it happened again, today. And I think I should bring the message home more clearly.

Below you see what happens. Berci has found a list with 50 great tools to “Double check your Doctor”. He tweets the link to what he considers a great resource list, and in no time the message and the link are tweeted several times. Some people also post a link on their blog.

  1. Bertalan Meskó
    Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  2. Liza Sisler
    lizasisler Good resource list RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  3. Bart Collet
    bart RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  4. Guy Therrien
    gtherrien RT @bart: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes http://ff.im/-7q9pK
  5. zorgbeheer
    zorgbeheer DELI 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor – Online Nursing Classes: You probably know that Googling yo.. http://bit.ly/n1NXc
  6. ekettell
    ekettell RT@Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  7. Robert L. Oakes
    RobertLOakes RT @Berci: 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA (via @ahier)
  8. dr. Horváth Tamás
    ENTHouse RT @Berci 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor http://ff.im/-7q7DA
  9. Sagar Satapathy
    sagar13d 50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor. URL: http://tinyurl.com/mlmf47

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Finally this will result in more traffic to the website onlinenursingclasses and a higher rank in Google.

Indeed 12 hours after Berci’s tweet, searching for “50 Great Tools to Double Check Your Doctor” (between quotes) gives just 21 hits (similar hits not shown), many of which can be traced back to the twitter posts.
All but one are positive: the last hit is my warning, which was only received by ahier and TheSofa. Ahier deleted his original positive tweet from Twitter.

Also worrying is that the spam site was bookmarked by various Stumble upon visitors. And that the one person that made the Stumble upon review also “liked” similar sites, like Online Classes and Learn Gasms. So probably a whole team takes care that the site is socially bookmarked. When several people “like” a site others may be attracted to the site as well. That is the principle of social bookmarking sites. And you and I do the rest….

1-9-2009 0-55-13 Google results 50 great tools

Why is this bad? You can read more in my previous post or in the post “Affiliate sites” at Ellie ❤ Libraries.
In addition, Shamsha brought another post to my attention, again from a librarian:

Top 100 Librarian Friendfeeds to follow at cheapie online degrees com at Tame the Web.com.

which refers to

http://www.librarian.net/stax/2970/why-i-dont-accept-guest-posts-from-spammers-or-link-to-them/

Tame the web gives some very good advice

I sometimes see other libloggers linking to sites like these and I have a word of advice: don’t. When we link to low-content sites from our high-content sites, we are telling Google and everyone that we think that the site we are linking to is in some way authoritative, even if we’re saying they’re dirty scammers. We’re helping their page rank and we’re slowly, infinitesimally almost, decreasing the value of Google and polluting the Internet pool in which we frequently swim. Don’t link to spammers.

How do you know that you can’t trust that particular site?

Well here are some features I’ve noticed (for the spam sites in “my”field)

  • All the sites that publicized such list were educational, mostly directed at nurses or other health practitioners. Some even end at org. Examples:
    • nursingschools.net
    • associatedegree.org
    • rncentral.com
    • Learn-gasm
    • onlineclasses.org
    • onlinenursepractitionerschools.com
    • searchenginecollege.com
    • collegedegree.com
    • ultrasoundtechnicianschools.org
    • phlebotomytechnicianschools.com
    • MiracleFruitPlus.com.
  • All sites have a Quick-degree, nursing degree, technician school etc finder. Mostly it is the only information at the ABOUT-section (?!)
  • The home page often contains prominent links (clicks) to Kaplan University, University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and/or others.
  • People behind the site often approach you actively (below are some examples) to gain your interest.
  • It is unclear how the lists are made and who is behind it.
  • There is no real information, only lists and degree finders.

So spread the word! Be careful with those list. DON’T LINK TO THEM! And if you see a possible interesting list, first CHECK the site: WHO, WHY, WHAT, WHERE AND WHEN. Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all!

31-8-2009 21-23-07 online nursing

The degree finder at the about page

1-9-2009 1-32-11 about 100 list

Prominent links to some Universities

1-9-2009 2-30-23 universities online nursing

An example of a letter drawing your attention to a list

1-9-2009 2-56-49 hi we just posted an articleAn example of a letter asking to write a guest post.

31-8-2009 23-56-03 guest post

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Vanity is the Quicksand of Reasoning: Beware of Top 100 and 50 lists!

26 08 2009

During the weekend I added some links to sites referring to this blog in the sidebar. There was the 3rd place in the Medgadget competition for the Best New Medical Weblog in 2008,  a nice critique by Danielle Worster (the Health Informaticist) in the “Library + Information Gazette”, the inclusion in the Dutch Twitterguide and a place in the Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs list of RNCentral (”the place to learn about nursing online”) in 2008.

And recently I was included in another ranking lists, to which I was alerted by a personal email of Amber, saying:

Hi,

We just posted an article, “100 Useful Websites for Medical Librarians” (http://http://www.nursingschools.net/blog/2009/100-useful-websites-for-medical-librarians/). I thought I’d drop a quick line and let you know in case you thought it was something you’re audience would be interested in reading. Thanks!

Both the RNCentral and the nursingschools.net lists are subjective ranking list of useful sites on nurses-oriented webpages. And although subjective, they contain numerous excellent and trustworthy sites. I was honored and pleased that I was included in those lists together with the Krafty Librarian, David Rothman, the MLA, the NIH, and NLM.

In all fairness, there are also many list (in fact far more such lists) that do not include me. I remember that there was a list of 100 top librarians with quite a number of Australians and no @laikas. I found one post at Lucacept – intercepting the web saying:

BestCollegesonline.com has posted a list of the Top 100 Librarian Tweeters and I’m honoured to say I appear on the list. In fact, there are five Australian Librarians who made it on the list. The other four were heyjudeonline, neerav, bookjewel, gonty.

Unfortunately, they didn’t include Kathryn Greenhill, an amazing librarian who is currently in the US and putting out some very helpful tweets from conferences she is attending while there. She is sirexkathryn on Twitter.

Other great Teacher-Librarians to follow include …..

Check out the list and see who else is there you might like to follow. I know that my professional learning has benefited from the generous nature of Librarians who are active on Twitter.

This shows that people are pretty serious about those lists and sensitive to who is included or not.
There were some mild protests from a few people on Twitter, i.e. from Shamsha here (RT means you repost a tweet, so @shamsha retweets my retweet of @philbradley‘s tweet of the bestcollegesonline list) and from @BiteTheDust (here) regarding @laikas’  omission from the list. However, I’m sure there were many others studying the top 25, 50 or 100 lists with a frown. But wouldn’t any list look different?

25-8-2009 13-32-32 shamsha

25-8-2009 17-40-09 bitethedust

Apparently it concerns the same bestcollegesonline.com-list as referred to by Lucacept.

Back in April there was also a Top 50 Librarian Blogs- list published at the getdegrees.com. This provoked a blogpost from the UK-blog Cultural Heritage ” Top 50 (insert topic of choice here). Quote:

The colleague who alerted me to this noted that all of the blogs listed were published by librarians in the US and wondered whether we should be doing our own list of top UK librarian blogs. Further, she wondered, if we did, who would we be putting at the top and why?

Who (are on the list)? and Why? Those are good questions!

This reminded me of a recent remark of @aarontay on Twitter, He sighed something like. “Now I’ve seen 3 of those list. Who makes those lists anyway?” That is a 3rd relevant question.

I couldn’t find @aarontay’s original Tweet (Booh!, these are not archived), but here is a message I found on FriendFeed:

25-8-2009 14-31-57 aarontay 3 lists

Friendfeed not only keeps the messages but also shows the comments. Apparently Ellie (from Ellie ❤ Libraries) found evidence that such sites were dodgy as @aarontay had suggested. Some quotes from her post:

Both this site (http://associatedegree.org) and Learn-gasm – who has the top 100 blogs post going around currently (www. bachelorsdegreeonline. com) are sites designed solely to earn revenue through click-throughs.

The “bachelorsdegreeonline” at the end is a tracking mechanism to allow collegedegrees.com to reward sites that send them visitors.
While all the schools linked to are legitimate schools, both are misleading sites since they only link to schools that offer an affiliate kickback. They also only link to forms to enter your contact information at third party sites, not to the actual school websites.

While the content of the top 100 blogs and 25 predictions lists is completely non-objectionable, the fact that librarians are taking these sites seriously is.

What the author is doing is trying to increase his traffic and SEO. He likely does some minimal investigation to determine what sites would have the biggest impact – so in that sense, the lists are probably somewhat representational of influential sites – like I said, the content isn’t the objectional part. He creates the page with the links to the 100 top whatever, then emails all of them to let them know they’re on the list. Every one of them that posts that they’ve made a top 100 list and links back to him increases his site’s page ranking. The more important your site is, the more it helps him, both in search engine algorithm terms (being linked to by someplace important counts for more than being linked to from less popular sites) and because it brings him more incoming traffic. Which also increases his site’s page ranking (and the chance of someone clicking through in a way that gets him paid).

…But, this particular little batch of sites that is currently targeting higher education – they are ones that are ostensibly trying to help people find colleges, choose degrees, etc., when in fact they are only linking to forms to enter your contact information for a small subset of online only colleges that offer affiliate linking programs.

…on the surface they seem related to education, some have .org addresses, but when we start looking at them critically they fail every test easily – no about page (or at least nothing informative on it), unauthored posts,  little to no original content. One of the main components of being a librarian is teaching people to think critically about information, so when we fail to do so ourselves I find it incredibly frustrating.

O.k. that hit the mark.

A good look at the sites that linked to my blog showed they were essentially the same as those mentioned by @aarontay and Ellie. With links to the same schools.

Vanity or naivety, I don’t know. I didn’t pay much attention, but I still (wanted to) quot(ed) them and didn’t doubt their intentions. Nor did I question Clinical Reader’s intentions at first (see previous post).
In some respect I really dislike to be so suspicious. But apparently you have to.
So, I hope you learned from this as well. Please be careful. Don’t link to such sites and/or remove the links from your blog.

Vanity is the quicksand of reason George Sand quotes (French Romantic writer, 1804-1876)


Top 50 Health 2.0 Blogs list
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Forget Hyves. Go Twitter!

6 06 2008

Week #10 of the Spoetnik course (library web 2.0 course) was devoted to Hyves (Holland’s most popular website to keep in touch with friends) and other social networking services, like Facebook.

Well finally, at the end of the Spoetnik course, I accepted the invitation of Brughagedis to become his friend at Hyves and in my turn invited a handful of others. I brightened up my background. That was it. My account: http://laika-spoetnik.hyves.nl/)

When I gave an overview of all things learned at Spoetnik (in Dutch) at my blog, Dymphie/Dee adviced me to start twittering, as twitter has its good points -according to her-).

So, May the 27th I started twittering and invited some spoetnik-collegues, although mostly in vain (“not yet another account, please!”). And I’m addicted allready!

Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service utilising instant messaging, SMS or a web interface. It is meant to keep in touch with friends, relatives and soulmates. It is NOT just bladibladibla in 2 sentences. You have 3 kinds of twitter-messages:

  1. Tell the word what you are doing. Like “I’m eating an apple”, “I’m going home now”, i.e. the Bladibladibla-stuff.
  2. Linking to the posts on your own blog/webpage, like a kind of alert.
  3. Sharing new ideas, thoughts and links to interesting pages.

Well 1 is all right, but only if you’re interested in the people you follow. If you know them or if you would like to know them. So I like the follow Spoetniks for this reason alone.

2 is bad. I dislike it, when one only links to oneselve and doesn’t twitter about anything (1 and 2) else. I cancelled a subscription because of this. I felt taken in, when each time I followed a link I arrived at the same post already found through RSS, Technorati and Co-comment.

3 is it! It is the reason why I became addicted to Twitter in just a few days. I’ve seen so much ‘inside information’, good ideas and wonderful links passing by. The Medlib Geekery site is worth mentioning. I particularly like the contributions of eagledawg, davidlrothman and pfanderson till now. A very good mixture of 1, 2 and 3.

Are there any cons? No, not really.

  • You can take an-RSS feed to reduce the number of readings.
  • However, some things are not directly clear to me. E.g. why can’t I respond to the MedLib-twitter?
  • And if twitter is down, you are down (dependency)
  • Be restrictive in who to follow and
  • even more so in who to accept as a follower. There are some people out there, who are using you to attract people to their site (with dubious content and links). But you can block them. I just blocked Billbettler (all about money)

Want to join: Go to Twitter: http://twitter.com/

Want to be my follower, be my guest: https://twitter.com/laikas

Interested in how twitter works? Look at the famous twitter in plain English by the commoncraft

Interested in why twitter works? Look at this compilation of twitter-experiences of followers from problogger

(the latter video as well as the addicted twitter-figure were picked up from http://www.omolenaar.com/

—————————

NL flag NL vlagWeek #10 van de Spoetnik cursus ging over Hyves, en andere sociale netwerken zoals Facebook.

Pas na week #13 ging ik in op de uitnodiging van Brughagedis in om vrienden te worden op Hyves. Op mijn beurt nodigde ik weer een aantal anderen uit. Ik leukte mijn pagina een beetje op en dat was het zo’n beetje.

Toen ik een overzicht gaf over alle spoetnikweken (“alle 13 goed”) kreeg ik als commentaar van Dymphie/Dee : “Maar begin zeker met Twitteren: daar zitten ook hele leuke kanten aan!”

Dus een week geleden ben ik aan het twitteren geslagen. Ik heb meteen enkele spoetnikers uitgenodigd, maar de meesten sloegen de uitnodiging af: “jé, niet weer een account, sorry!”

Ik ben er al helemaal verknocht eraan.

Twitter is een populaire dienst die vanuit de Verenigde Staten is komen overwaaien naar Europa. Het combineert webloggen met instant messaging, SMS of via een web-interface. Via deze dienst kun je makkelijk contact houden met vrienden, kennissen en geestverwanten. Ik kwam 3 soorten berichten tegen:

  • Mededelingen in de trant van: “ik eet nu een appel” of “ik ga nu naar mijn werk”
  • Links naar eigen website of blog (a.h.w. een alert).
  • Delen van nieuwe ideeen, gedachten, informatie (evt. door linken).
  • 1 is o.k. als het iemand is die je kent of graag wil leren kennen. Ligt er natuurlijk een beetje aan wat hij/zij te vertellen heeft. Vind het leuk om zo iets meer van de andere spoetnikers te weten. Moeten ze het natuurlijk wel niet bij 1 dag twitteren laten…. 😉

    2 vind ik niets. Heb 1 abonnement afgezegd, omdat diegene continu naar zijn eigen posts linkte. Denk je iets nieuws tegen te komen, kom je voor de zoveelste keer op hetzelfde bericht (via RSS, Technorati and Co-comment).

    3 is het helemaal. Zoveel informatie en ideeen gekregen op deze manier. De Medlib Geekery site (geheel op mijn vakgebied) is een aparte vermelding zeker waard. Ik vind de bijdragen van eagledawg, davidlrothman and pfanderson helemaal tof.

    Zijn er ook nadelen. Nauwelijks.

    • Je kunt je abonneren op een RSS-feed, zodat je er maar op bepaalde momenten naar kijkt (bij mij niet nodig).
    • Sommige zaken spreken niet vanzelf. Ik weet bijvoorbeeld niet hoe je een reactie kunt geven, bijv. op de Medlib Geekery site. Je schijnt de twitterpost ook op je blog te kunnen zetten. lijkt me iets teveel van het goede.
    • Als twitter uit de lucht is, zoals onlangs, ben jij het ook (in dit opzicht dan).
    • Het blijft behapbaar als je niet teveel mensen volgt.
    • Let ook op wie jou volgt. Sommige mensen gedragen zich als spammers en lokken andere mensen naar hun site. De info en de links op hun site zijn soms dubieus. Gelukkig kun je ze blokken!

    Wil je het proberen? Ga dan naar Twitter: http://twitter.com/

    Wil je mij volgen? Mijn pagina vind je op https://twitter.com/laikas

    Zie verder hierboven voor enkele aardige video’s over twitter. Misschien tot twitters! 🙂