- Product Trial
African research is on the rise, doubling the amount of research in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-based fields between 2003 and 2012 (Worldbank). While at this point, African researchers produce only 1 percent of the world’s research, the quality of that research is measurably improving. And that’s where the United Nations Economic Commision for Africa (UNECA) is stepping in to help. UNECA launched their Explorit Everywhere! federated search application this month, aiming to improve opportunities for scientific discovery in Africa as part of their ASKIA Initiative:
“The Access to Scientific and Socio-economic Information in Africa (ASKIA) Initiative is under the Public Information & Knowledge Management Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It defines a framework for bringing together scientific and socio-economic information for the African community, including scientists, researchers, academics, students, economists and, policy-makers, over an interactive online portal acting as a one-stop shop to such knowledge and associated information from/on Africa. The overall goal of the initiative is to strengthen knowledge discovery and access by tapping into global scientific and socio-economic knowledge on and from Africa.”
The launch of UNECA’s customized Explorit Everywhere! application offers users a rich digital search experience from any screen, and the ability to search and translate results into four different languages. The next-generation ASKIA portal, based on responsive design, offers an innovative multilingual search experience to African users.
With an estimated 120 million people in Africa speaking French, an additional six African countries speaking Portuguese and English as the dominant http://askia.uneca.org/askia/
In a highly cited September 2001 article, The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value, Michael Bergman coined the term “Deep Web” and wrote:
Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there is still a wealth of information that is deep, and therefore, missed. The reason is simple: Most of the Web’s information is buried far down on dynamically generated sites, and standard search engines never find it.
In February, 2002 just a few months after Michael Bergman published this article I saw the huge potential of the “Deep Web” for providing access to a wealth of high-quality content not available via search engines such as Google, so incorporated Deep Web Technologies that year. The “Deep Web” was a more accurate term for what had been referred to for a number of prior years as the “Hidden Web” or the “Invisible Web”. I’m not sure who eventually coined the term “Dark Web” or when. One early reference I found was to a chapter in a book on Intelligence and Security Informatics published in 2005: “The Dark Web Portal Project: Collecting and Analyzing the Presence of Terrorist Groups on the Web.”
Everything was mostly good until October 2013 when the FBI shut down the Silk Road website, a Dark Web eBay-style marketplace for selling illegal drugs, stolen credit cards and other nefarious items. Since the take-down of Silk Road there have been a plethora of articles published which refer to the Dark Web as the Deep Web and lead to a lot of confusion and heartache for the CEO of one company in particular, Deep Web Technologies.
On November 2013, following a cover story in Time Magazine, on the Secret Web, which soon was referenced as the Deep Web, I wrote a letter to the Editor of Time and followed it with the blog article – The Deep Web isn’t all drugs, porn and murder to no avail.
In the past few months following the announcement of DARPA’s Memex project which states as its goal, “Creation of a new domain-specific indexing and search paradigm will provide mechanisms for improved content discovery, information extraction, information retrieval, user collaboration, and extension of current search capabilities to the deep web, the dark web, and nontraditional (e.g. multimedia) content,” there have been many more articles published equating the “deep web” and the “dark web” such as the following article about NASA’s efforts to leverage the memex efforts: NASA has big plans for DARPA’s scary “Deep Web”.
What prompted me to write this blog article is that I learned a few days ago that Epix has produced a documentary, that is going to be released on May 31, 2015, titled Deep Web.
“Extending far beyond the confines of Google and Facebook, there is a vast section of the World Wide Web that is a hidden alternate internet. Appropriately named the Deep Web, this mysterious and complex cyberspace serves as an outlet for anonymous communication and was home to Silk Road, the online black market notorious for drug trafficking. The intricacies of this concealed cyber realm caught the attention of the general public with the October 2013 arrest of Ross William Ulbricht – the convicted 30-year-old entrepreneur accused to be ‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’ the online pseudonym of the Silk Road leader. Making its World Television Premiere this spring, Deep Web – an EPIX Original Documentary written, directed and produced by Alex Winter (Downloaded) – seeks to unravel this tangled web of secrecy, accusations, and criminal activity, and explores how the outcome of Ulbricht’s trial will set a critical precedent for the future of technological freedom around the world.”
Clearly Dark Web would be a more appropriate title for this documentary and might attract a bigger audience than Deep Web, but I’m not so fortunate. What am I to do?
The Beagle Research Group Blog posted “Apple iWatch: What’s the Killer App” on March 10, including this line: “An alert might also come from a pre-formed search that could include a constant federated search and data analysis to inform the wearer of a change in the environment that the wearer and only a few others might care about, such as a buy or sell signal for a complex derivative.” While this enticing suggestion is just a snippet in a full post, we thought we’d consider the possibilities this one-liner presents. Could federated search become the next killer app?
Well no, not really. Federated search in and of itself isn’t an application, it’s more of a supporting technology. It supports real-time searching, rather than indexing, and provides current information on fluxuating information such as weather, stocks, flights, etc. And that is exactly why it’s killer: Federated Search finds new information of any kind, anywhere, singles out the most precise data to display, and notifies the user to take a look.
In other words, its a great technology for mobile apps to use. Federated search connects directly to the source of the information, whether medical, energy, academic journals, social media, weather, etc. and finds information as soon as it’s available. Rather than storing information away, federated search links a person to the data circulating that minute, passing on the newest details as soon as they are available, which makes a huge difference with need-to-know information. In addition, alerts can be set up to notify the person, researcher, or iWatch wearer of that critical data such as a buy or sell signal as The Beagle Research Group suggests.
Of course, there’s also the issue of real-estate to keep in mind – the iWatch wraps less that 2 inches of display on a wrist. That’s not much room for a hefty list of information, much less junky results. What’s important is the single, most accurate piece of information that’s been hand-picked (so to speak) just for you pops up on the screen. Again, federated search can makes that happen quite easily...it has connections.
There is a world of possibility when it comes to using federated search technology to build applications, whether mobile or for desktop uses. Our on-demand lifestyles require federating, analyzing, and applying all sorts of data, from health, to environment, to social networking. Federated search is not just for librarians finding subscription content anymore. The next-generation federated search is for everyone in need of information on-the-fly. Don’t worry about missing information (you won’t). Don’t worry if information is current (it is). In fact, don’t worry at all. Relax, sit back and get alert notifications to buy that stock, watch the weather driving home, or check out an obscure tweet mentioning one of your hobbies. Your world reports to you what you need to know. And that, really, is simply killer.