EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Web 2.0: Online Privacy, Tracking, G_ _gle and the Eye of Sauron

Everyone expects a certain level of anonymity as they move about their daily lives“– Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group devoted to protecting people’s rights on the Internet – June 1 2007. Click here for more information.

Reference librarians traditionally have taught a variety of formal training classes such as how to search PubMed, EndNote Web or Scopus, etc. Sometimes in this classroom environment, I reminisce on what it was like to be a reference librarian before Google (as in, prior to December 1996). This always causes a brief silence in the room… some of the younger folks in the room are thinking, Geez she must be really old! but some of them over 40 years of age are thinking: Geez it must have been a different world in the library then! Library users in an earlier era (before 1996) can remember – and not fondly – having to search Science Citation Index in print format to learn “who has cited whom”… as that was the only format in which it was available. (Now we have Web of Science). Before PubMed there was the print index of medical literature, Index Medicus… which stopped being produced in paper by the National Library of Medicine in 2004. You could call that time period the “Paradigm Shift, Paper to Digital, Electronic Archives”. It’s been an interesting time to work and live through as the library team manages biomedical information, archiving, networking and training. Now it is 2008 and Google is slowly taking over the world, just as Microsoft slowly and insidiously took over the PC world. (Mac user, can you tell?) Here are some facts, and some other bloggers’ ideas and writings, to support mine:

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick on ReadWriteWeb blog (Apr 7 2008) discusses Search Engines and the dominance of Google. He cites March 2008 statistics from Hitwise.com showing that Google captured 67% of the market share for search engines used. That is 2 out of 3, folks. Including your searches and mine. Think of all those searches and links that Google’s brain has saved… and is saving now as we speak.
  • Do you really trust commercial companies to manage your own unique, highly-sensitive health records… even if there is no cost involved? Did you read the fine print before clicking the “I Accept” button? Read this first from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse on Health Records and FAQ Sheet.
  • Google showed me a picture of where a friend of mine grew up… complete with traffic route to get there and the rocks out in the backyard:

somewhere in the United States

Photo Credit: GoogleEarth – copyright Google.com 2008 – All rights reserved

  • If you are interested in moving away from the Google thing, consider using the metasearch engine called Ixquick.com. Ixquick does not retain user data for over 48 hours…. click here for more info.
  • Finally… In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sauron (the chief bad guy) possesses a “seeing stone” which casts its eye out onto the land far and wide. If you saw the movies, you might remember that blood-red eye swinging back and forth, maliciously looking for Frodo and Sam. See entry for The Eye of Sauron (on Wikipedia).

The Ever-Watchful, All-Seeing Eye of Sauron


Photo Credit: from the Hubble telescope – copyright NASA.gov 2008 – All rights reserved

See any similarities?

One response to “News, Web 2.0: Online Privacy, Tracking, G_ _gle and the Eye of Sauron

  1. Pingback: Searching Technologies, Cultural Evolution, Web 2.0: Slight Nostalgia for Olden Days, and Never Diss a Librarians « EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

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