Women and the Google Doodle


Thanks to a SPARK study done last year you might have noticed the famous Google doodles have been featuring more women!

In 2014 SPARK studied the doodles being placed on Google’s homepage and found there was a distinct lack of diversity among the historic figures being celebrated. In fact between 2010 and 2013 only 17% of doodles featured women, and of that 17% only 4.3 % were women of colour.

History is learned in a variety of ways from a myriad of sources, including those fun images showing up on your Google home page! By leaving out women, as history so often does, Google was underrepresenting a group that makes up half the world’s population; a group that has also made significant contributions to science, technology, politics, literature and every field in between.

Since being made aware of SPARK’s study Google has made an effort to equally represent both men and women in their doodles. When SPARK went back to check Google’s progress they found the women are now being featured as often as men.  Just this past week Google featured trailblazing journalist Nellie Bly. To learn more about Bly check out the doodle, http://www.google.com/doodles/nellie-blys-151st-birthday .

For more information on SPARKS study click the following link, http://www.sparksummit.com/doodleus/

Helpouts by Google

Google has started this site, Helpouts, connecting people who need one-on-one help with people who can offer it. Some of them cost money but many are free. Here are the broad categories: Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Cooking, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health, Home & Garden. You can even sign up and offer your own face-to-face Helpouts and schedule appointments to teach others what you know. Of course, if you’d like to schedule an online appointment with a science and engineering librarian at Schulich Library we’d be happy to set up a date and time.

Google Scholar includes WoS citations


The “Cited by” option in Google Scholar now includes a link to citations in Web of Science. Take a look under the reference to the article in this screen shot. Google found 7289 citations from all sorts of items on the web, but also links to the 701 citing articles in the multidisciplinary database, Web of Science. I was using Google Scholar today to send references over to EndNote but this is a nice new feature that I will be sure to explore further.

Science meets wizardry


Last April I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal in Orlando. I have to admit, it was pretty neat. Now, thanks to Google and Warner Brothers Studios in Hertfordshire, everyone is welcome to Diagon Alley on Google Maps. How cool is this for Harry Potter fans?

If you have ever thought about making your own custom maps take some time to explore Google Maps and Google Earth tutorials. That is, after you have spent some time exploring the virtual exhibits in Diagon Alley. Just drag the street view symbol (little person) onto the map and away you go!

Google Scholar Metrics

We have blogged in the past about metrics for measuring impact, such as the well known Journal Impact Factor, and more recently Altmetric, so I thought that I would bring your attention to Google’s lists of top publications. As part of the Google Scholar Metrics offerings they have rankings of the top 100 publications in several languages.

Google has added categories and subcategories for the English language rankings, so now you can look up the top publications in, for example, Geophysics in the Physics & Mathematics category, or Robotics in the Engineering & Computer Science Category.

The usual suspects are there in the list, like Science, Cell, Nature, Physical Review Letters, but you may find some interesting results. How amazing is it that arXiv (open access e-prints in physics, mathematics, computer science) is frequently listed by the separate subject areas?

Happy Monday!

What was searched on Google in 2012?

Search2012Zeitgeist revealed the most queries that Google received in 2012 worldwide. It lists the most searched celebrities, politicians, athletes, food, beer, jobs, videos, etc. You may also click the “select a country” button to limit your query to a specific country to see the difference. Montreal is the second city that was mostly searched on Google Maps in 2012 (when switching to Canada).

Trimble SketchUp

SketchUpHere is a 3D drawing tool that surprised me by being extremely easy to use, not to mention free to download. SketchUp is one of the geo line of products that was offered by Google but was sold last year to Trimble.

I followed the new to SketchUp video tutorials to build this snazzy house. That is me outside trying to look cool because, as per usual, I can’t find my keys.

Happy sketching!

Google a day science challenges

The Google Search Education site has info for teachers who would like to impart Google search skills, especially useful for finding factual information and contributing to lifelong learning. For example, there are lesson plans with classroom challenges, such as A Google A Day Challenges in different categories.

I like this science challenge: While quietly standing at sea level, you are suddenly whacked on the ankle with a guitar. Did you hear it or feel it first? (view challenge)

The site isn’t just for teachers, however. You could also learn how to become a power searcher, which couldn’t hurt. Take a look at this handy printable Power Searching Quick Guide.

Happy searching!

Technology review – Google glasses

If you too dream of Google glasses – check out the latest issue of Technology review, published by MIT, and the “You Will Want Google Goggles” article. Farhad Manjoo interviews Thad Starner about Google’s Project Glass:

“One of the key points here,” Starner says, “is that we’re trying to make mobile systems that help the user pay more attention to the real world as opposed to retreating from it.”

Image from: Google mobile