On the XO Laptop

On Libraries: On Searching for the Meaning of “Sabbath Kristallnacht”

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[First published as on November 12, 2007.]

I write this on the second night after I spent a night in my Synagogue’s Library and then wrote a blog post, On Libraries: The Library of Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester noting that Friday, November 9, 2007, was unusual in that is both the anniversary of “Kristallnacht” and also a Friday, the Holiest Day in the Jewish Calender, and thus a “Sabbath Kristallnacht.”

I just searched for the phrase “Sabbath Kristallnacht” on Google and found my post is now the first hit!

I find this very surprising, and somewhat troubling.

Am I now the world authority on Sabbaths that occur on an anniversary of Kristallnacht? [1]

I sure hope note.

Or is the fault in Google? I suspect Google prefers recent mentions of a phrase over older ones.. This makes sense, but one of the problems with Google is that its search algorithms are its crown jewels, just as Windows and Office are Microsoft’s crown jewels.

That is, none of these jewels is ever going to be open for public inspection and modification in a meaningful way. (If you accept this, then you can stop reading all the blogs and press articles about Microsoft’s opening up its data forms for Office in what is called “OOXML.” It ain’t going to happen.)

I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between, but I sure don’t know it.

I wonder if our libarians are thinking through impact that search engines will have on their profession?

If not, they should start searching for a solution themselves.


1. See An Authoritative Opinion on Libraries and Authoritative Opinions for some more thoughts on the meaning of “authority” in today’s world of the web.


Written by daveshields

December 12, 2007 at 4:51 am

Posted in xo-laptop

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