Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I finally got through to Cuil, the plocaimed Google threat, this afternoon. After reading Siva's post, I decided to try searching my own name in quotation marks.

I know that there are other Leslie Johnstons. There's sales and marketing consultant, a renowned Scottish footballer from the 1940s-50s, a cancer researcher, etc. We all came up in the first 8 pages that I reviewed. Cuil obviously pulls images that it finds on various sites and associated them with results. In some cases, it correctly included my image with a link that I was associated with. In some cases my photo showed up associated with results for the other Leslie Johnstons. On the very first page a results for an article of mine in D-Lib was accompanied by a photo of my friend and colleague Sarah Shreeves who had an article (and hence a bio with a photo) in the same issue. On another page a result for a different D-Lib article was accompanied by a photo of Chris Awre. Other links for presentation I gave are accompanied by a portrait of Thomas Jefferson (I assume it keyed in on "University of Virginia"). For some links where there were no images there are little images of top nav bars from the page the result points to. In one case there are results from a usability site at UVA with my name on it, but the accompanying image is something that looks like a nav element in Cyrillic, which is definitely NOT on that usability site. Very weird and random.

When I tried the categories -- both of which were for Scottish footballers -- I still got lots of results of mine. I think I can say that none of my presentations or writing on digital library or museum activities ever mentioned Scottish or even American football.

Cuil needs some work. How will it learn?

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