Sunday, August 27, 2006

Columbia, please redirect without spanking me

Normally I try not to complain about rank stupidity at a univerisity. When you work at a university, you know what crazy ideas committees come up with.

But when you find a truly goofy idea, it is hard to stay silent. Columbia University spanks you if you don't put www in front of their domain name. Go to and they tell you that you are a bad boy for not putting www at the beginning of their URL.

Honestly, I should be kinder to Columbia, because their searchmeister implemented a Best Bets service inspired by MSU Keywords.

Best Bets

I attended “The Accidental Thesaurus: Enhancing Search Precision through Manual-Selected Best Bets” presented by Richard Wiggins at the IA Summit. Inspired as I was, I didn’t get around to implementing the same thing for Columbia until recently. Crunching a year’s worth of query logs from our Ultraseek server revealed much the same distribution curve that he found at Michigan State University.

(See Beyond the Spider: The Accidental Thesaurus(PDF))
My results:

From the IAwiki:
Best Bets
Pareto Principle
Zipf Distribution as one of various Statistical Laws

But please: C'mon, people, just redirect. In 2006, the world equates and