Discovery and Online Search, Part Two: Personalized Content, Personal Data


We all know that automated personal assistants can find you the closest gas station or sushi spot. But can that same technology be programmed to find the best ten articles for a student’s assignment? The capability is unclear, as is the advisability of the task. But what is clear is that voice-driven technology as well as arbitrary algorithms are changing the ways in which users may be driving or directed in their information tasks. Taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, and similar tools have been used for decades in delivering effective online search. But now, with Alexa and Siri potentially being in the room, shouldn’t libraries and vendors be talking about what’s operating under the hood?

Confirmed speakers for Part II of this two-part webinar include: Bob Kasenchak, Access Innovations; Amanda Wheatley and Sandy Hervieux, McGill University; Scott Young and Sara Mannheimer, Montana State University. 

Event Sessions

What Is Semantic Search? And Why Is It Important?


Bob Kasenchak

Taxonomist and Director of Business Development
Access Innovations

My discussion will provide an overview of semantic search, including the various and sundry definitions floating around, and explain some of the technologies and applications thereof. The talk will include specific examples of various semantic search applications and frame the discussion about why these emerging technologies are important for improving search results.

Voice-Assistants, Artificial Intelligence, and the future of Information Literacy


Amanda Wheatley

Liaison Librarian for Management, Business, and Entrepreneurship
McGill University

Sandy Hervieux

Liaison Librarian for Political Science, Religious Studies, and Philosophy
McGill University

The integration of voice-assistant technology through Siri, Alexa, Google, etc, has changed the way that a new generation is approaching the search for information. Understanding this change and its future implications is more important than ever for information professionals. Standards for information literacy have long been a part of this field, but the ability for voice-assistants to influence these standards is fast approaching. In this presentation, we will focus on academic librarians’ role in the conversation of artificial intelligence and voice-assistant searching and how we move forward in a field that is progressing all too quickly.

Achieving Privacy in the Age of Analytics: Skills, Strategies, and Ethical Approaches


Privacy is a long-held value of libraries. Today’s personalized and networked technologies present new challenges for achieving privacy. Google Analytics offers an instructive use case. This leading third-party analytics tracker is widely implemented on library websites, yet its configuration settings and potential privacy incursions are not widely understood by librarians or library users. How can we realize our values and achieve privacy in the age of analytics? This webinar will provide an overview of the main issues associated with this question. We will discuss ethical and strategic approaches for implementing analytics practices with a view towards privacy, including key technical and social aspects, software configurations, staff skills, and partners for enhancing privacy on the web. The presenter will conclude by facilitating a group discussion based around privacy practices and challenges. 

Important Links:

Project Website

Pre-Forum Survey

Google Analytics API

A National Forum on Web Privacy and Web Analytics

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