Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ms Dewey's Ask a Librarian

Yes, yes, I know Ms Dewey is not new. Why she is almost 2 years old! Not that she looks 2. Nor is Bibliothekia suggesting for a minute that Ms Dewey is going to replace all those "Ask a librarian" services out there. Then again, I suspect some library clients will find Ms Dewey more appealing. She is certainly entertaining, as well as informative.

If you have not come across Ms Dewey before, according to her Wikipage: "Ms. Dewey is a viral marketing campaign started by Microsoft in October 2006. It also refers to the character of the same name." For all its "fluff", the search results are actually quite good. For example, try doing a search on the following, but make sure you have a good internet connection and your sound is turned on:

* 1936 Australian Tax Act - check the search results, this includes results from AustLII
* Osama Bin Ladin - check the search results and watch for the special comments.
* George Bush - check the search results and watch for the special comments.
* Alain de Botton - check the search results, again not bad search results.
* Joomla - check the search results, pretty good results.
* Waiting for Godot - check the search results (not bad) and watch for the special comments.
* Lord of the rings - hilarious, very funny, and good results.
* Legal - just watch and be entertained!

Ms Dewey must rank as one of the most entertaining (and kind of subversive) search engines out there in the wild untamed land of the Internet. On a more serious note, Ms Dewey shows that a search interface can actually have personality. Who would have thought? Is the inclusion of a "personality" in a search engine a passing fad, or does it represent the future; and what does this mean for all those real life, flesh and blood reference librarians out there? Mmmm.

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