Occasionally, we will be inviting noted experts in the field of search and information to guest-blog for us. Today, I’m pleased to introduce our first such entry from Joseph J. Esposito who also serves as an advisor to DeepDyve.
I was very pleased when Bill Park, the DeepDyve CEO, asked me to write a guest blog for DeepDyve. It comes at a good time for me, as I have been blogging for a while now on a number of sites, principally Pubfrontier, but also at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change, The Scholarly Kitchen, and Teleread — blogging all over the place, but there is a feeling of same old, same old setting in. It really is time to reinvent the blog, and DeepDyve is the place to do it.
No, DeepDyve is not suddenly going to make me smarter or any easier to get along with, but DeepDyve could bring its technology to bear on blogging to give us something new–and, as the B-school types like to say, something “value-added.”
Here’s my problem with blogs: they all pretty much look alike, do the same things. Blogs differ because writers differ, but the blog as a form, well, it’s a short piece with some links; a blog roll in the margin; an archive; and maybe a snapshot of the family dog. You read, you click on a link, follow it to the target, and maybe come home again. There is a lot of horsepower under the hood of computers these days, and blogs just aren’t taking advantage of it.
So here is what I would like DeepDyve to do: I would like DeepDyve to embed its search bar into blogging software so that when someone writes a blog entry (like this one), it automatically generates a search using DeepDyve’s KeyPhrase technology. So imagine that you are working in WordPress or Movable Type. You draft your post, tweak it a bit, add a few snarky comments, and then click on “publish.” But instead of the post going directly to the Web, it first passes through the DD search system. The entire text of the blog is used as a DeepDyve search query. The results that come back can then be posted alongside the entry itself.
Imagine a blogger working in the life sciences, for example. Her post is about a recent news story about a connection between certain diets and dementia. She clicks to publish and then sees her post next to a list of related articles and stories to further inform her audience. The blog post, in other words, has been re-created as part of a network of information all interlinked by related concepts. This DeepDyve blog “plug-in” doesn’t only dive deep; it also brings up a net of related resources. Contrast this with an ordinary blog post, that relies on the painstaking work of the author to identify links. Links should not be work; they should be automated.
This new kind of blog is something that pretty much only DeepDyve could build. This is because unlike other search engines (or research engines, as Bill likes to say), DeepDyve allows you to use a query of any length. Your blog post could be as long as a full-length article. You couldn’t use such a long query with Google. Try it and you will see. Google puts an upper limit of 32 words on a query, and even queries that long either retrieve far too many pages to be useful. But a DeepDyve blog would retrieve only the truly relevant material and put your post into the context of all other documents that resemble it.
Now this isn’t to say that DeepDyve cannot be a useful tool in blog writing today. For example, I can achieve the same benefits of above by simply copying and pasting my entire blog entry into the DeepDyve search bar and running a query. It will bring back all related articles and links that I can then incorporate into my blog as needed. But if DeepDyve offered that seamless plug-in, well, that would make DeepDyve an essential and easy step in the blog-writing world.
So, Bill, let’s give it a shot. It’s great that DeepDyve has pushed search technology to a new frontier, but let’s now have DeepDyve change the nature of communications about research as well.
Joseph J. Esposito is an independent consultant providing strategy assessment and interim management to the information industries. He has served as an executive at Simon & Schuster and Random House, as President of Merriam-Webster, and CEO of Encyclopaedia Britannica, where he was responsible for the launch of the first Internet service of its kind.