Thursday, March 08, 2012

Filters and their deceptive ways

As a librarian I advocate for freedom of information and open access to information.  For some time I've been watching the way in which personalization of search results has become mainstream, the way in which database vendors have been seeking to make their search algorithms more relevant to searchers.

For the most part I've seen this move as a good thing, particularly for content available on databases MPOW pays thousands for the privilege of accessing. 

However. (There is always a however).

It is worth pointing out that having this personalization on internet searches comes at a cost.  That cost is lack of exposure to points of view that differ from your own.  This is what I find disturbing.

This TED talk describes it very well.

So. What to do. First up - be aware.  Sometimes it's going to be okay to have that bubble.  But sometimes not.

Next - try a different search engine.  This one, DuckDuckGo is on my radar and is proving quite interesting to use.

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