AOL Open Research Information Retrieval Wiki

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I received an email on Sunday night from Dr. Abdur Chowdhury of AOL, who asked me if I would take a look at a new site that the folks at AOL have put together. I haven’t had much of a chance to look at the site, but what I’ve seen so far, I like very much.

I’m hoping that I can get some comments here, about these new wiki pages from AOL, if you have some time. The site is still in alpha, but they are welcoming comments there, too.

‘” (Note: this research was removed after controversy over the release of data contained there.)

There’s some great information there, like 500K user queries, collected over a three month span. There’s also a nice set of publications, including more than a couple co-authored by Dr. Chowdhury.

Keep in mind, that it is an alpha site, and they are looking for comments as they develop the pages of the site.

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4 thoughts on “AOL Open Research Information Retrieval Wiki”

  1. I am very pleased to see AOL moving in a more community oriented direction. I checkout the alpha site and posted a reuqest for programers resumes (I’m hiring). Thanks for the help in locating the site, I appreciate it.

  2. Somehow I hadn’t anticipated the furor that would erupt over the release of this data, but maybe I should have.

    Perhaps I was too excited over how the data might give us a window into how people actually search on the web – and my expectation was that anything that would reveal the identity of people would be expunged from the data.

    I received an email from someone asking about the data the morning that the media started writing about this, and hadn’t seen the news stories on it before I sent an email to Dr. Chowdhury. I regretted sending that email after I started seeing the stories about how the data could possibly impact people’s privacy.

    I expect that there will be some actions taken at AOL to prevent problems like this in the future, but I hope that it doesn’t involve punishing the people involved in any way.

    I’m not able to access the pages, and suspect that the site is probably gone for good. Excite and Alatavista released smaller sets of user queries a few years ago, but not the ability to link those together in sessions like the AOL data appears to have done.

    This definitely wasn’t the reaction they expected for sharing this information. See also: AOL apologizes for release of user search data

  3. it does seem like Dr. Chowdbury ended up the scapegoat on this. he has my sympathies.

  4. Hi Bonnie,

    I haven’t seen an official announcement with his name on it, but I believe that you are right.

    This wasn’t the first time a search engine had shared information about queries with the outside world, as I noted above. But this was a much larger amount of information, and a much different climate.

    He has my sympathies, too.

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