Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trailblazer Authority

Kleinberg's HITS algorithm (later Google's PageRank) captured the idea of 'authority' based on the number of links to and from a page.

Google's algorithm has since moved on - large scale link spamming has seen to that - but the essential idea of attaching authority to a page is still important.

There is another type of authority though - the authority of the searcher who knows what they're looking for. Have you ever had to 'power walk' behind a librarian who knows exactly what you want? Having someone with expert knowledge of a repository or information space helps provide real authority when it comes to information retrieval. Librarians are natural trailblazers.

Traditional libraries might be under threat by new technology - but the job of librarian still needs to be fulfilled. There will always be searchers with expert knowledge of a repository and its contents - passing this expertise or 'authority' on is the way to optimally access the underlying information.

There's an idea:

TrailBlazerRank = Trailblazing Authority.

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