Thursday, March 22, 2007

I have had another look at word clouds and search engines. One reason is that the websites I have worked on have limitations. Based it the UK they are always going to have less scope than the US sites on similar topics. Planet PDF and PDF Zone get more news and have more resource. Stats so far show that the UK audience is usually less than 20% of the site intended for the UK, even with an opening screen suggesting going to the dotcom site. So maybe now there is some broadband in the UK there could be less diffence between them. The dotcom could be more about Flash for example. I have written on drupa2008 about my difficulty keeping up with Adobe. I realise there is some point in Flash but I think the UK is still slightly into hard copy.

Anyway, the benefit of search engines is that they can include your own site and others. So the people coming to it get a range of sources even if one website is not updated. I started last year on Swickis and Squidoo lenses. It is easy to lose focus through this but I managed a 'Hello spiders' diagram that had some sort of coherence.

At Google University last year I got a freebie introduction to adwords so tried to promote this hello spiders diagram page. It is clearly too complicated as my 'quality score' has gradually dropped so that all the words are inactive within the budget. So I have tried a simplified version for Google Customised Search. Gradually Google offers enough to absorb most of what is happening. Their webpage creation tool is pretty good so I have used that. It started as a personal homepage which is ok as I can relate to most of the issues around the search engines on it.

Customised Search Engines start here.

So far it seems to work ok.

I am also working on a Google doc following up some ideas from last year. There is academic study on how the weak links of the web change views on communities of practice. I have not been able to follow how this relates to practice, but these search engines with social aspects may demonstrate some issues after a while.

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