Google Instant: initial impressions of predictive search

Google Instant is the new  Google search feature, described as ‘search before you type’. It is a prediction-based search giving real-time results. And while the technology behind it sounds impressive (new caching systems and optimisation of page-rendering JavaScript – details not forthcoming), I’m not really sure I see the benefit of Google trying to predict my search query. Coupled with the search suggestions already provided, it risks making what was a nice clean search environment a bit too busy.

It currently works with the following browsers:  Chrome v5/6, Firefox v3, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8. The main benefit seems to be speed in accessing results but there haven’t been any claims of a positive impact on accuracy. Saving between two and five seconds per search really wasn’t top of my list of priorities. Having said that, I’m curious to try it out on Google Scholar and am already imagining how predictive search might be realised in library catalogues.

You do have the option to turn the feature off from your preferences, though Google Instant is only currently available from the domain and if you are signed into a Google Account. Personally, I tend to use my browser’s search box rather than navigating to the search page anyway so the impact on my search habits won’t be much.

The mobile version is expected soon, which is an environment where speed can have a big impact and I’m curious as to hear more about the reasoning behind this development and where it will go from here. As a first impression though, it made me wish Google adopted more of the mantra,  if it ain’t broke..


Multimedia Information and Techology: journal news 14 June 2010

– Free Google apps for education
– QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan
– iPad alternatives
– Sarah Hammond on library blogs
– No Shelf required wins library blog award
– Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

–        Free Google apps for education

–        QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan

–        iPad alternatives

–        Sarah Hammond on library blogs

–        No Shelf required wins library blog award     

–        Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

1. Free Google apps for education

2. QR Codes from Gerry McKiernan

(The August issue of MmIT journal will feature an article on QR codes in HE.)

A Great Great Resource > Sites / Cites / Links > Thanks Teresa Ashley / Librarian / Austin Community College District


Summary Of Ideas For Using QR Codes In Libraries:

1. Provide point-of-use instruction at point-of-need locations

2. Have step-by-step instructions on machines like photocopiers and printers

3. Post QR codes by study rooms. Students would be able to check the availability of a study room, and then book it from their cell phone while standing in front of the room

4. QR codes in the stacks could bring up a list of LibGuides on topics related to books in the call number range area

5. QR codes in the stacks could show where the ebooks would be on the shelves

6. QR codes around campus could link to digital libraries or items from special collections related to the different buildings

7. Add QR codes with your contact information to your library website

8. Direct users to a service that’s specifically aimed at mobile devices users, such as a chat or IM reference service, or the mobile version of the library’s catalog or databases

9. QR code to the online Ask a Librarian site could be posted at the physical reference desk and at all public access computer workstations

10. Library tours – barcodes can be placed in different areas of the library so visitors can access information relevant to that particular space. Audio tours can also be provided this way.

11. Library Maps – Instead of just a map that has, Reference, Reserve, Computer Lab on it, put QR codes for every area that has a web page, so that the patron can go directly to that web page for more information.

12. Library reviews – if someone has done a review on a book or item, a QR code can be put on that item, linking to the review.

13. Link to Phone number on a web page so people don’t have to dial the number on their phone.

14. Link to a web page associated with an event by placing a QR code for the web page on the event’s poster.

15. QR Codes can be posted at public service desks to advertise services:

Laptop checkout, fines, and book renewal information could be posted at the point of service, the Circulation Desk, for instance

16. Help Desk info could be posted on QR codes

17. Tag exhibits (“Mobile Tag Closeup.” ACU Library Photostream.

18. Librarians can tag pre-formatted tailored searches for events and exhibits

19. Add QR codes to poster, flyers, and other library instructional or promotional materials


Link To Full Site Available At

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See Also My Blog Post > QR Codes In Publications From May 2009

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3. iPad alternatives

4. Sarah Hammond’s survey on library blogs


Some of you may remember completing an online survey regarding public libraries and Library2.0, specifically blogging in public libraries, in the late Summer of 2008. Well the results are finally in!

I must first apologise for the long delay in getting back to you, especially in such a fast-moving online world. My explanation, not excuse, is that I have had a baby in the intervening time. This meant that I wrote my results up in late Summer 2009 and took the opportunity to review my findings then, you will also see that I my research is ongoing: I felt that simply drawing a line under it because I had completed my masters degree wasn’t the right thing to do. I feel very strongly that public libraries have a huge amount to gain from getting into Library2.0 with relatively small investments of money and larger investments of time and so I’m keeping going in a number of ways:



The literature suggested that public libraries are lagging behind other sectors in engagement with Library 2.0, and blogging specifically; very few peer-reviewed studies have been conducted to date. There is a move towards deriving and utilising standardised methods for blog evaluation to determine success. Twenty UK public library blogs were found, 13 still active, 6 inactive and 1 defunct [+1 new one found just last month]. 498 people responded to the survey and a wide range of attitudes and behaviours were discovered. This may seem a tiny number, especially compared to the 252 public library blogs that Walt Crawford found in 2007 (he updated his study and found a lot had fallen by the wayside).

Conclusions: My study identified early adopters of blogging in UK public libraries. In taking blogs as a microcosm of the wider Library2.0 milieu this study has identified several emerging trends that may warrant further study regarding the lack of uptake of Library2.0; these include technological barriers presented by IT departments and wider organisational culture; apathy of library staff, lack of engagement; a feeling that social networking has no relevance to what a library should be doing; a lack of time to devote to content creation; and use of other methods of communication deemed more appropriate.

International flavour: You’ll notice the number of respondents I had: 498! This meant that I had to take a much broader pass at the data gathered, this also meant that data gathered from USA, Canada, NZ and Australia was not utilised as much as I would have liked. However, this is not to say I won’t be looking at it in future. I firmly believe that one of the benefits of Library2.0 is that we can look to colleagues around the world to find best practice. This collaborative approach is at the heart of Library2.0 and why I think it’s the future of librarianship.

Keep contributing: please keep in touch. Let me know of more blogs, I’ll add them to delicious and the blogs wiki (or you could add them to the wiki yourself of course). There are plenty of public libraries that are now linking their internet presence across applications: blogs, twitter, facebook, flickr and delicious. I may well expand my criteria to include these, bearing in mind I conduct this research in my “spare” time, so I’d be delighted to hear of examples of these too. I think that of all these, blogs remain important because they are so very versatile and can display input from these other applications. They can be simple to set up and so very powerful and compelling a communication tool.

Lastly, for those wanting to launch their library on to the unsuspecting public, you can do worse than having a look at these fine examples (if your local authority will allow you to view these sites 😉

USA Seattle Public Library

USA Ann Arbor District Library’s blog is its website

USA Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

UK Newcastle Libraries

Ireland Galway Public Libraries (running since 2006! That’s The Establishment in biblioblogosphere terms!)

New Zealand Wellington City Libraries, another relatively early adopter,

If you want more, you can knock yourself out here: but you’ll notice most of ‘em are NOT from UK!

Thank you for your patience and your interest, I hope to do justice to both. Please keep in touch.

Kind regards

Sarah Hammond


5. No Shelf Required wins library blog award     

No Shelf Required, the blog about eBooks, audio books, and other digital content for librarians and publishers, has won first place in the “Academic Library Blogs” category of the new Salem Library Blog Awards.

The Salem Library Blog Awards were created to recognize and celebrate blogosphere excellence by promoting and bringing attention to those blogs that publish provocative and interesting content about books, libraries and librarians. In addition to the academic library blogs, which is the category No Shelf Required was recognized for, the contest awarded a first, second and third place to blogs in four other library blog categories: general, quirky, public, and school.

6. Paxcat – peace archives, posters, leaflets etc now online

The PaxCat Project Gallery

Bringing peace archives to life

36 colourful images with stories to tell. Including African links, poison milk, witches and weavers, protest marches and Aldermaston prehistory.

Multimedia Information & Technology vol 36 no 2 (May 2010) is now available

Multimedia Information & Technology vol 36 no 2 (May 2010) is now available

Multimedia Information & Technology vol 36 no 2 is now available at

The May issue features a special focus on technology in schools covering interactive devices in primary schools using music; interactive handhelds and learner response systems in secondary schools; technology and learning difficulties; and ICT in primary education.  Other features include roving reference library services in higher education; digital signage; and Google Wave.  Kate Lomax’s ‘Best of the Blog’ concentrates on the recent Public Library Modernisation review.

Chris Leftley reviews Digital Information: Order or Anarchy;  Kevin Curran critiques Bite-Sized Marketing; Ken Cheetham gives his views on Mastering Photographic Composition; and Antony Brewerton reviews The Gold Diggers film.

The news section covers the Pingar search platform for dynamic searches; the latest version of Camtasia’s screen recording tool; I am learning’s use of online games; video-linked musical workshops for remote schools; a new digital publishing research project; World Maths Day; making YouTube secure for classroom use; how Soundbooth Plus transforms ICT resources into language labs; and a new author hotline website. The BFI’s new COI collection, Police and Thieves, and Design for Today, are showcased.

Kevin Curran’s technology round-up includes thoughts on credibility of websites; an update on Google Books; how best to ensure secure passwords; software to set up meetings easily; a free tools to create worksheets and lesson pages and to publish them online; plus Text 2.0 – the way that tablet PCs will use interactive eye-tracking technology.

The August issue will include a special focus on public libraries.

Comments or contributions are welcome. Please contact the Managing Editor, Catherine Dhanjal with article or news suggestions, or images of multimedia in use.  We are interested in your article suggestions for projects where you have used technology in a research/library/information setting. If you have any difficulties with online access, please contact me. If you do not currently subscribe, contact for subscription information.

Google Wave is open for business

Announced at the Google I/O keynote, Google Wave is now open for business. The formerly invitation-only communication and collaboration tool has improved quite a bit since our first take on it. Over the last six months, it has become much more stable and also rolled out an extensions gallery.

Waves can be lonely places and having more users will definitely help. With this in mind, I recommend taking a  look is the UKOLN blog‘s helpful summary of what the librarians have been getting up to on Google Wave. There are also plenty of case studies to demonstrate the different ways people are already using waves.

The Complete Guide to Google Wave (a book written by by Gina Trapani and Adam Pash using Google Wave) is free to read online and goes into quite a lot of depth about the functionality available now as well as what’s planned for the future.