MSN – New Search environment launched

First published in Online Currents – 20(5) June 2005

This is the third article in a series investigating Web search engines, following others about Google (Online Currents October 2004, pp.13-16) and Yahoo! (Online Currents March 2005, pp. 21-24).

MSN launched its new search engine on 2 February 2005.  In addition to the search function, the home page ( ) provides links to news, reference sources, shopping, entertainment and technology, and services such as Hotmail and Messenger.  The Australian site, ninemsn, is discussed later. read more

Push technology / alerting services

First published in Online Currents – Vol.18 Issue 4, May 2003

Theres just no pleasing anybody  we all complain that we have too much information, but then keep seeking more. David Skyrme ( ) explains this information paradox by pointing out that while we want less junk, we long for more relevant information. Push technology  in which information is automatically sent to users according to pre-defined profiles  claims to be the ideal way of providing the relevant information.

The earliest use of push technology was for sending updates of new bibliographic references on specified topics to library users. Push technology is now used to offer the following types of information: read more

The definite article: acknowledging ‘The’ in index entries

The definite article: acknowledging ‘The’ in index entries

The Indexer, vol. 22, no. 3 April 2001, pp. 119-122

The 2007 Ig Nobel Literature Prize was awarded to Glenda Browne of Blaxland, Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word “the” – and of the many ways it causes problems for anyone who tries to put things into alphabetical order.

The Ig Nobel prizes are awarded for research that makes people LAUGH then THINK. What they think is up to them.

Three-volume novels (3-deckers)

My great-great-aunt Alice M. Browne wrote three Victorian novels which I am collecting and reading. This has been great fun (when else do I get to read melodramatic love stories with happy endings?) and has also taught me a bit about the history of publishing.

The only copy of her novel ‘The Rector of Amesty’ (using the pseudonym John Ryce, and incorrectly catalogued as ‘Amnesty’) that I could trace in Australia is held in the rare books library at Sydney University. I took two days off in the holidays to sit there in scholarly silence reading it.

It was bought by Sydney University as part of a collection of triple-decker novels – of which the university has the best collection in the world.

Triple-decker novels are three-volume novels, but not just any three-volume novel. They were a popular publishing format throughout the 19th century. New novels were published in strong, elegant bindings in short runs for use by subscription libraries such as Mudie’s. The three-volume format meant that three borrowers could be reading the one book at the same time. The quality bindings – and the extra volumes – meant that publishers could make more money per book than with a one-volume novel, and this meant, apparently, that new authors who would not otherwise have been economically viable could be published. read more

VALA 2014 Conference reports

Two papers reporting on exhibitors at the VALA 2014 Conference Exhibition – general comments and then one with a focus on ebooks and one report on conference papers.

VALA 2014 Conference Exhibition – other

Online Currents June 2014

VALA 2014 Conference Exhibition – ebooks

Online Currents June 2014

VALA 2014 Conference – report on papers

Online Currents volume 28 part 4