Here are a couple links to some example searches I have done using the milblog search engine that I mentioned a couple of posts back. These searches are helping me to drill down into the discussion that has taken place on the top rated milblogs in regards to the Army’s new regulations about blogging, and how milbloggers perceive that those regulations will affect the U.S. ability to conduct information operations and public affairs.
I post this because there seemed to me to be some confusion about the intended use and/or value of the milblog search engine expressed over at the Milblogging.com site. For example, JP, who runs the site, pointed out that one could search the entire directory of milblogs using the search features of Milblogging.com, not just 27 sites, and one commenter did not understand the difference between Google Alerts and the new Google Custom Search Engine. In response, I left a comment that I hope helped to clear things up:
…because this is supposed to be one of those “academicky” kinds of
papers, I had to think about issues like data sampling,
representativeness, and management. Since trying to sample all milblogs
would produce an overwhelming amount of data, I had to limit the number
of sites I would look at, which raised the question: Which sites to
look at, which to exclude? Of course, I wanted the sites that I
included to be somewhat representative of milblogs in general. Since I
knew that milblogging.com, ringsurf, and TTLB all keep ranked lists of
milblogs, I figured that I would limit myself to the top ten from each.
What is interesting, however, is that examining three top 10 lists
yielded 27 milblogs, indicating that there is not much overlap between
I too use Google Alerts and have found it very helpful for keeping
up with new information. Google Custom Search Engines can also be
created by anyone with a Google account–i.e. if you have Gmail, Gcal,
etc., you’re in like flint. It serves a slightly different purpose than
Alerts though. Sometimes you don’t want to search the entire web, you
just want to search a piece of the web that will give you the most
relevant results. That’s what Google CSE is meant for. In my case, I
didn’t need to search the entire web; and it wasn’t even feasible to
search all the milblogs. Rather, I needed to search just a portion of a
portion of the web. Google CSE works well for that. (BTW, there is
another service that is similar to Google CSE, called Rollyo, if anyone is interested.)
Anyway, hope that clears things up about motivation, intended use, etc.
Finally, the same commenter suggested that I worked for Google, that I was trying to give Milblogging.com some competition, and that I was a Milblogging.com “wanabe.” None of those statements is accurate. I do not work for Google. One search engine that searches 27 out of thousands of milblogs is not intended to be, nor could it hope to be, competition for a comprehensive portal/social-networking site like Milblogging.com.
For those of you who still might be confused, think of it this way: What if when you searched Google you had the option to restrict your search to only the best milblogs, or to a list of sites which represent the best of some community that you belong to, value, or otherwise find provides valuable information to you? That’s what milblog search is supposed to be about.
UPDATE: I’ve added a few more sites to the milblog search engine. It’s to to 44 sites now. I added the blogs for all of the folks who were panelists at the 2007 Milblog Conference, plus the D-Ring blog, which is specifically devoted to the topic of the military and new media.