All your base really are belong to Google

by Eszter Hargittai on November 16, 2005

A few months ago I posted an entry called Google World in which I talked about the amount of information Google and other companies such as Yahoo!, MSN and AOL are amassing about their users.

This week’s launch of Google Base is another step in the direction of building elaborate profiles of users. Moreover, it is an interesting move by the company to get users to fill up Google’s own Web property with lots of valuable material for free.

Google Base is a collection of content submitted by users hosted on Google’s site. Let’s say you have some recipes (I mention these as that part of my own Web site seems to be one of its most popular sections and Google Base already in this early stage has a section on that), instead of simply hosting the recipes on your own site and having Google (and other search engines) drive traffic to it, the recipe can now live on Google’s own Web property. Other types of content range from classifieds about housing and jobs to course syllabi. Some have suggested it is like a gigantic expanded version of the popular Craig’s List, which I mention in case that is a service with which you are familiar. Google Base will be a collection of information that users provide for free, but for which Google gets credit when people find it.

It is hard not to wonder how much more prominent Google Base content will be in Google’s search results compared to other content on the Web.

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Self-plagiarism

by John Quiggin on November 16, 2005

In the Media and Culture journal M/C, Lelia Green has an interesting piece on self-plagiarism, linking referring to a site called Splat which asserts

Self-plagiarism occurs when an author reuses portions of their previous writings in subsequent research papers. Occasionally, the derived paper is simply a re-titled and reformatted version of the original one, but more frequently it is assembled from bits and pieces of previous work.
It is our belief that self-plagiarism is detrimental to scientific progress and bad for our academic community. Flooding conferences and journals with near-identical papers makes searching for information relevant to a particular topic harder than it has to be. It also rewards those authors who are able to break down their results into overlapping least-publishable-units over those who publish each result only once. Finally, whenever a self-plagiarized paper is allowed to be published, another, more deserving paper, is not.

Splat also refers to

textual self-plagiarism by cryptomnesia (reusing ones own previously published text while unaware of its existence)

(I know all about this).

Green takes a more nuanced view and has some interesting discussion.

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