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Google Search Feature: Find an ISSN

August 19, 2010 1 comment

I may be way behind the curve here, but today I accidentally discovered another Google Search Feature that I did not know existed. I needed to find an ISSN number for a journal (Jewish Quarterly Review). I was going to head over to our local catalog or WorldCat and look it up. As chance would have it, the cozy Google search box was there waiting for me on my laptop screen, saying (almost audibly), “Hey, John, why don’t you just use my box to look for that International Standard Serial Number? Everybody’s doing it.”

So I did. I entered jewish quarterly review issn and clicked the magic button.

And here’s what I saw display in 0.46 seconds (Is web searching getting slower? Come on!)…

Nice. So nice, that I thought I would try another just to see what happened…and another…and another…and the game was on.

I did discover that the ISSN search feature doesn’t always work. In most cases when it didn’t work, however, the first result usually came from JournalSeek. Just as good. And it seems to work better for popular magazine titles as opposed to scholarly journals (not a scientific study, just a cursory observation).

Granted, if you enter [journal/magazine name] issn into Google, chances are the first result is probably going to give you what you need. I just thought it was interesting that Google (at least sometimes) offers the answer as one of those handy-dandy search features, like unit conversions.

So there you have it–Another tidbit of search knowledge and something to share at the next party you attend.

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Google Raises the Doodle Bar

May 25, 2010 1 comment

(Credit: Google)

On Friday, May 21, droves of Internet users fired up their web browsers and went to their religious starting place only to find an extra special surprise.

It wasn’t so much that Google was sporting one of its creative Google Doodles. Those we have come to expect from time to time. What was intriguing about that particular doodle (which actually ran May 21-23) was the fact that it was accompanied by an “Insert Coin” button. No–it couldn’t be…Yes–it is! PacMan! And not just an image, mind you, but a functional version of the classic arcade game! For the first time in Google history, we were given an interactive doodle.

And then the gaming and tweeting began…

You have to wonder how low Google’s search stats plummeted that day. Think about it: Countless individuals heading over to Google for a search or two, only to end up spending hours upon end navigating our favorite yellow muncher amid a maze of dots. Search? What search? And what about work productivity? Some have done more than simply speculate and actually tackled the question. Was there a loss of work productivity? Absolutely. Was this a smart move–a brilliant social media move–on Google’s part? Sheer genius. The Google search count may have been down last weekend, but there certainly were large numbers of people camped out on the google.com domain for extended periods of time. Time that could otherwise have been spent at…say…Facebook?

For better or worse, what I love most about the Google PacMan Doodle is the fact that it is interactive. [I say “is” because Google has given it a permanent location for continued online joy. Or you can download the code thanks to the folks at StackOverflow. Let the global productivity drain continue!] For the first time, the Google Doodle was not only a beautiful work of art, but it was something with which we could interact. Google has raised the Doodle bar for themselves.

By the way, Google, Galaga was released on July 23, 1981. Just saying.

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