Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forJanuary 8th, 2004 | back to home

8 January 2004
Filed under:Useful web resources,Weblogs at11:04 pm

Dave Winer has created a catchily-named service – Share Your OPML. It doesn’t do anything very clever yet, but put together with some collaborative filtering software I am sure it could… To explain for the 99% of the world who have better things to do with their time than memorising TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) or in this case FLAs – RSS readers can normally import and export OPML files which are simply lists of the sites you subscribe to. What ‘Share Your OPML’ does, then, is let you compare what blogs and other news sources you read regularly with others. Blogrolling, which has a much bigger installed base, could do this too but so far it hasn’t done much with its data (except produce its own top 100 list).

Anyhow, if those of you who do read this via RSS could pop along to that site and sign up – you might push this humble blog into Winer’s top 100!

P.S. If you’re wondering what on earth an RSS reader is, I “posted about that”:http://blog.org/archives/cat_weblogs.html#000880 here too.

It has been noted before that search engines’s algorithms don’t magically provide the ‘best’ results for any query – they only provide the best matches using a given algorithm, and that algorithm can be biased. The latest issue of “First Monday”:http://firstmonday.org/ – an excellent e-journal – includes a detailed examination of one key aspect. Dr “Susan L Gerhart”:http://pr.erau.edu/~gerharts/ has attempted to determine whether the problems with such algorithms tend to conceal controversies and while her results (done on a small scale) don’t seem to show consistent failures she nonetheless suggests that search engines may indeed suppress controversy and adduces some interesting arguments why this might be the case alongside recommendations for search engine programmers of how to produce more representative results.