Kevin Kelly at the Edge

Kevin Kelly at the Edge

In a curious way, Google is all about answers [and] answers are becoming cheap; they’re almost free, and I think what becomes scarce in this kind of place that we’re headed to [in the future] is questions, a really good question, because a really good question can unleash new questions. In a certain sense what becomes really valuable in a world running under Google’s reign, are great questions…”

Three-column static search results in Firefox

This post is for those who’ve recently lost the capability to have their Google Search results look like this in Firefox and a widescreen PC monitor…


Greasemonkey and GoogleMonkeyR are required to do this. They are still working fine together for me, with a few new versions installed…

1. Update Greasemonkey to 2.3 (29th Oct 2014) and GoogleMonkeyR to 1.7.2.

2. Access Google Search via the following URL, which has a parameter that limits search results to 15 per page…

15 results fit nicely into three columns, the three columns being set up in GoogleMonkeyR Preferences (which is the cog-wheel that appears top-right, once you make a Google search).

3. Hide Google’s “Searches related to …” element on the Google Search results page. You can do this easily in GoogleMonkeyR Preferences. This div needs to be hidden, because otherwise it sits awkwardly between you and the numbered links that lead to the subsequent results pages.

If that doesn’t work for you, then you can do Step 3 with the popular AdBlock Plus add-on (right-click on “”Searches related to …””, ‘Inspect Element’, highlight whole ‘extrares’ element, click on red AdblockPlus icon, and block it on Once you’ve learned how to hide page elements like this with AdBlock Plus you can use it on other sites, for instance hiding the sports section or the tacky video sidebars on newspaper websites.

On the future of Google Scholar

Google Scholar developer Anurag Acharya talks to Nature about the search engine’s future…

the next big thing we would like to do is to get you the articles that you need, but that you don’t know to search for. Can we make serendipity easier? [but] I don’t know how we will make this happen. [...] I don’t think getting our users to ‘train’ a recommendations model will work”

How to use the new bloated Flickr again

Here’s a way to use Flickr again, following the foul and bloated changes that have made it all but unusable for speedy searching. Speed is especially important for those on a deadline, for instance those who need to use the Creative Commons Flickr search for picture sourcing via in a timely manner…

* In the Chrome browser: Install the addon Chrome User Agent Spoofer. Set it so that Chrome pretends to be Internet Explorer 8 (that worked for me, and apparently for most others). It enables much quicker loading of images, compared to either no loading or the painfully slow loading in any of the other browsers on my PC. The click-through and “View all sizes” still works. The addon can be set to always emulate IE8, when it lands on

* In the Firefox browser: Install the addon UA Control. Not quite as easy to setup to emulate IE8, and the loading is not as fast as in Chrome, but it works. Add this string…

String:   new_flickr_sucks (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; GTB7.4; InfoPath.2; SV1; .NET CLR 3.3.69573; WOW64; en-US)

This will work, but not via Instead you will need to bookmark and access the Flickr Advanced Search with CC via The click-through and “View all sizes” still works.

“Overwhelmed by Open Access”

A good article on the dubious or outdated (Deseret News etc) journal titles that leak into libraries via the ‘open’ journal mega-bundles from commercial aggregators. “Overwhelmed by Open Access: A Plea to Art and Architecture Librarians and Architecture Faculty”

You may have encountered th[e] sheer volume of periodicals, including some unfamiliar or questionable titles, as you have navigated the online resources of your academic library (or even mine). Even though we have the best of intentions, librarians are partly to blame for this. In order to provide access to as many periodicals as possible, some of us have added packages of hundreds or even thousands of freely accessible online journals to our holdings so that they will show up in our indexes, our library catalogs, and even our databases via a link resolver…

Group test: Salem Mather “witch trials”

A timely group test for open-access search:

JURN group test: Salem Mather “witch trials”
October 2014. Searching for free full-text scholarly articles, theses or book chapters in English, with discussion of Cotton Mather’s role in the famous Salem witch trials. Search used:   Salem Mather “witch trials”. Clicked through on possible results, and briefly evaluated.
DOAJ 0 Used ‘Article’ search. 0 from zero results.
Journal Click 0 2 ‘possibles’ from six results. But neither were counted, as they were in no way focussed on Mather.
JournalTOCS 0 0 from zero results.
Ingenta Connect 0 0 from zero results.
Journal Seek 0 0 from zero results.
Paperity 0 0 from zero results.
Mendeley 0 0 relevant results on first two pages of results. Searched ‘Articles’ only, then filtered for Open Access articles only.
OAlib 0 Looked at the first three pages of results.
CORE 1 Filtered search by English language. Looked at first three pages of results. The book Cotton Mather and Salem witchcraft was from 1868, and consisted of articles reprinted from the Boston Advertiser. The other result was only tangential, a single-page book review.
Microsoft Academic 1 1 from two results.
Google Scholar 1 Examined first 60 results. Google Books links not counted. Several of the full-text links were “404 Not Found”. Best article was “Dutch New York and the Salem Witch Trials: Some New Evidence” with light discussion of Mather throughout, although he was not the focus of the article. Ranking high was an interesting article on the possibility of hallucinatory mycotoxins in Salem food, but this had only a fleeting naming of Mather.
OATD 2 2 from two results, both useful for an in-depth researcher. “Cotton Mathers’s Wonders of the Invisible World: An Authoritative Edition” was one, and a strong article “American identity at a crossroads: Cotton Mather’s Wonders of the Invisible World“.
NDLtd 2 2 from three results. The same two results as OATD (see above).
BASE 2 2 of five results. The same two results as OATD (see above). Searched ‘Verbatim’ on ‘Entire Document’, “Boosted” open access documents in results. Several results were ancient 1891 newspaper articles from the Deseret News.
Digital Commons Network 2 2 from seven results.
Google Search 2 Forced verbatim, and used a Web browser not signed in to Google. Examined first 50 results. One good modern result, and one possibly useful article from 1886.
OPENDoar 8 8 strong candidates. Examined first 50 results. Some duplicates and clutter.
JURN 20   Checked first 50 results, not counting book reviews and a couple of duplicates. Most results were on-topic but only mentioned Mather in passing or fairly briefly.

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