Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fun with Google

Since last time we spoke all bout how exciting Microsoft's still new Bing search engine is, this time we'll talk about a brand new feature on old familiar Google - the service which hosts this blog.

Google Flu is a new feature which tracks the number of flu-related search queries to estimate levels of flu activity.  The information is available as an easy to read graph over time and can be manipulated to view national, state, or even some specific cities data.  Baton Rouge and New Orleans are both included in the available cities.

Other interesting data that Google has available for viewing with their dynamic graphs include such things as unemployment rate and population through their Public Data service.  They can be organized by state and parish/county.  Selecting multiple states or parishes from the check boxes on the left side of the screen will show both as seperate lines on the graph so that they can be compared.  There's more helpful information about this feature in their help files where there is also more information for more specific search strategies.

As always, you can search for scholarly information including peer-reviewed articles, legal decisions and patents with Google Scholar.  As a starting place for research when you can't log in to our databases at the library it is a better choice than just using a genenral search engine.

 I hope you've enjoyed our impartiality in seach options this post in the college library blog.  If you have time to come by and visit us in person, don't forget to visit MJ, our new library turtle.  If you can't make it to the library in person, feel free to contact us by phone, email, or by using our Ask a Librarian Meebo service which is available on many of our library website pages including this one.  Just type in the box and if we're not available right at that moment feel free to leave a message including a way to contact you and we'll get your question answered as soon as we can.

We welcome new students and will be happy to explain our library policies and get you started using our databases and online catalog to find the information you'll need to do well in class this semester.