This page contains all the announcements from the whole semester.

Links To All Student Projects

by samooresamoore (21 Jan 2009 16:46; last edited on 21 Jan 2009 16:46)

Here are the links to all of the final projects.

  1. Investment Banking Industry by bryblumbryblum
  2. Alternative Energy in the US by Eric BrackmannEric Brackmann
  3. Start Up Process by dylanbdylanb
  4. HIV/AIDS Non Profit Initiatives by CaitdCaitd
  5. Automobile Industry by HcflowHcflow
  6. SEMCOG Transit Panel by thauckthauck
  7. Software-as-a-Service by BrianHeM10BrianHeM10
  8. Mortgage Industry by HermatzHermatz
  9. Walt Disney Pictures by Susan KennedySusan Kennedy
  10. U.S. Travel Services: Airlines by laytosplaytosp
  11. Internet Infrastructure by tmuirtmuir
  12. Apple the Company by dpnickdpnick
  13. OIL: U.S. and the World by roopakroopak
  14. Defense & Aerospace Industry by mlrossitmlrossit
  15. Music Recording Industry by schmidkeschmidke
  16. Social Networking by jenstanjenstan

General Feedback About The Term Projects

by samooresamoore (18 Dec 2008 21:54; last edited on 18 Dec 2008 21:54)

I will be posting your course grades sometime late Thursday. I have finished recording your assignment grades on the Web site.

How I arrived at your project grades


  1. I have a grading rubric (basics, sources, resource evaluation, appropriate background content, appropriate current events content, information specialist tutorial, general organization, extras) that I used to guide my grading. I have a separate page for each of you that I filled out. I will make copies of these pages and leave them with my secretary in room R5492; you can pick them up any time in January; after the end of January she will throw them out.
  2. Before you ask me specific questions about your grade, be sure to read all of the information below, and concentrate especially on the “Fantastic examples” section; these provide very clear examples of just what I was looking for, and of what your classmates were able to produce.
  3. My general reaction to these sites is that some of you did a lot of work and apparently enjoyed working on your sites. It showed. I learned a lot from many of your sites. That being said, the following were the few that really stood out for me:

Grade distribution

Here's information about the distribution of grades on the final project, including a stem-and-leaf table and summary statistics.

  • Average: 81.8
  • Median: 83.5
  • StDev: 15.1

Points of mis-understanding

  1. Resource evaluation
    • You don't evaluate “Web resources” (as one group), you evaluate specific Web sites separately.
      • Suppose you were doing a report on a specific company. One way to evaluate resources would be to list and describe Web sites that have business related news. Better evaluations would have links to coverage of that specific industry and company, maybe via a search of that Web site, maybe via a specific column or writer at that Web site. Yes, this is more work; yes, this would mean that you would link to fewer Web sites; however, it would also mean that the links that you provide would be more useful to the reader. Simply providing a long list of business Web sites isn't that difficult or useful — do something more for me that I couldn't do simply with a quick Google search.
    • Don't forget to tell me about those Web search engine queries and blog search engine queries that were most useful for you and that would be most useful for the analyst in the future for finding certain types of information. This is quite important.
    • When telling me about Web directories, you should point to the categories within the directories (if any) that you found that are related to your project. Even if you don't find the information in the category useful because you already know of the sites, you should still link to it because the reader would know what you considered and where to look in the future for updates.
    • You don't evaluate “Tag-based sites”, you evaluate digg or furl or delicious or whatever. You might group the evaluations of these three sites together because they are all tag-based sites, but you don't evaluate them as one entity.
    • When telling me about an RSS/blog search tool, you should provide examples of the queries that you used (and links to their results if possible) when telling me whether or not the tool is useful.
  2. Background information
    • There are two main points to the background information section. First, to provide useful background information. (Shocking!) Second, to provide a series of places to go in order to read more information; an annotated list of such readings would be quite useful and appropriate.
  3. Custom search engine
    • You should list the sites included in your custom search engine in order to give the user some idea of what he/she is getting. On the Google Custom Search home page for your CSE it will list a few of the sites but it will not list all of them if you have more than five or six.
  4. Interface decisions
    • I'm not a big fan of using images in an index of other pages; they simply take up too much room and require too much scrolling (1, 2).
    • If you have a long page that requires a lot of scrolling, think about how you might break this up into smaller chunks. One way to know if it's too long: think about how you might tag the page. If you want to apply tags to specific parts of the page that don't apply to other parts of the page, then it's too long.
  5. Current events
    • Don't just describe what happened — link to articles that provide more details than the simple summary that you provide. You should provide a short summary — show me that you thought about the event you're linking to.
  6. Information specialist tutorial: There is a lot of confusion over this section. It should be a fairly major section of the report. Think of how you would teach another BBA who (horror of horrors) didn't take this class and who isn't familiar with your topic but who is Web-savvy:
    • What Web sites should they start with?
    • What search tools should they use to find more sites in the future? What hints can you provide about useful queries? Could you put together a custom search engine to make it easier to search these sites?
    • How useful are social sites? Are any specific tags more or less useful? Which specific sites did you find most useful?
    • For Web directories, did you find them useful? What categories did you find related to your topic?
    • For news sites and blog search engines, did you find any categories that were useful? What searches do you suggest they use? Could you put together a Yahoo Pipe to help combine these queries to make them easier to find?
    • Did you find useful images at any of the image search engines? What queries were most useful?
    • For podcasts and videos, were there any channels that had useful content on a related industry or on your company?
    • Did any alternative search engines provide information specifically tailored to your topic? What were they, and how were they helpful?
    • And so on, and so on.

Fantastic examples

In the following I list example pages within project wikis that really stood out as great examples of what I was hoping to see.

  1. Home page
    1. Software as a Service: good menus (top and side), good intro text, other useful information readily available
    2. SEMCOG Transit Panel: easily scannable, much information available in the top half of the page, good intro text.
    3. Alternative energy: easily scannable information on page, usefully organized side menus (top menus could have been better).
  2. Resource evaluation
    1. Software as a Service
    2. Apple Inc.
  3. Background information
    1. Alternative energy: notice the introductory text, the links to further readings and resources (of all types), and a pertinent video to kick things off.
    2. Start-ups: some introductory text, and links with descriptions to further readings and resources (of all types).
  4. Tutorial
    1. Software as a Service
    2. Social Networking: an absolutely fantastic way to structure this information (for this particular project).
  5. Blogroll
    1. Software as a Service
  6. Integration of Yahoo Pipe output into wiki
    1. Start-ups: this is a great example of using the Feed module to integrate an RSS feed — in this case, from a Yahoo pipe — directly into a wiki page.
  7. News
    1. Software as a Service: for this type of project, with lots of sub-topics, this is a useful formatting strategy
    2. Apple Inc.: useful summaries and organizational strategy for this project
    3. Investment banking: I like this style of writing a summary and providing links to a couple of related stories below it. (I'm indifferent to the pics, especially as used in the index because it makes it too long.)
  8. Site design tips and tricks
    1. Disney: this wasn't part of the project, but it (apparently!) is something that interests Susan, so she wrote up a bunch of tips on using wikidot.
  9. Custom Search Engine
    1. Mortgage Industry: included all the information that I need to understand the CSE.
    2. Alternative energy: interesting way of integrating the CSE into the site
    3. Start-ups: puts CSE high on home page and provides a useful link to an explanation of what it's actually searching.
  10. Providing information about a resource type that ends up not being useful:
    1. Alternative energy


  • "aesthetic" (superficial attractiveness), not "ascetic"
  • "straight" (not curved), not "strait"
  • "separate", not "seperate"
  • "utilize", not "utalize"


Don't worry, I'm going to include all of this information in next year's project description. This is too useful not to include. This is part of the reason (actually, most of the reason) that I want you to keep your sites public for at least the next 18 months.

RSS Feeds And Your Term Project

by samooresamoore (01 Dec 2008 01:07; last edited on 01 Dec 2008 01:21)

I noticed several things about RSS feeds and the difference for those who handle this part better than others:

  • There are a selection of RSS feeds from specific Web sites that are specific to your topic.
  • There are RSS feeds from a variety of social and news sites that might be filtered using Yahoo Pipes into one tightly focused feed. This feed is then documented clearly so that the reader knows what he/she is getting.

Further, (and this is not at all required) there is a Feed module defined by Wikidot that allows you to put the RSS feed contents themselves right within Wikidot pages (if, and only if, you are interested in doing such a thing). I'm only putting this here for those of you who are interested because I just found this module.

Hint About CSEs And Your Term Project

by samooresamoore (01 Dec 2008 00:48; last edited on 01 Dec 2008 00:48)

I have read a bunch of blogs about your custom search engines, and have had the opportunity to look at your CSEs fairly in-depth. Some observations:

  • You generally get the idea behind CSEs. This is very good.
  • You could provide a very useful tool to the incoming analyst by incorporating multiple Web sites related to your topic. This is the real value that you are providing — knowledge of what Web sites among the millions on the Web provide useful, relevant, and trustworthy information about your topic. Given all that you know about your topic, it would be surprising to me if you had only 2 or 3 sites included in your CSE.
  • The other way to make this tool useful is to add the terms that would be used to search the Web for your topic. This is a bit trickier to use, but if it is appropriate for your topic, it can also be useful.

Grades For Project Status Report 3

by samooresamoore (24 Nov 2008 00:19; last edited on 24 Nov 2008 00:19)

Here's information about the grades for this status report.

  • Range: 50 — 100
  • Median: 77.5
  • Average: 76.9

I will be posting your grades to the Web site (to your sitemaker record) soon.

If you want to get a better grade at the end of the semester on this project, then you should carefully read this announcement about the term project.

Term Project Status Reports

by samooresamoore (23 Nov 2008 18:31; last edited on 23 Nov 2008 21:05)

I don't expect you to have completed everything on this list, but this is what I was looking for at this time. The ideal project will end up having all of this (as appropriate for the particular project); each of you will be evaluated against the ideal for your topic. What I do expect to find today is that you'll have made progress on each of these by this time. You have a little over two weeks until the final version is due.

It's Sunday and I'm looking through all of your projects. I hope to send each of you an email describing what I saw (and didn't see) by the end of today. I'm not going to comment on everything at this point — I'm just going to give a couple of comments about how I see your project progressing.

  1. Home page: Organized, scannable, introduces visitor to site
  2. Most of you will have the following types of information (which should all be easily findable):
    • Background information
    • Recent current events
    • Instructions (for the new analyst) on how to keep up with ongoing current events
    • Descriptions (of background information for the professor)
  3. Appropriate use of wiki software
    • Menu system should be helpful (top and/or side menus)
    • Pages should be usefully tagged throughout the site
  4. Sources
    • RSS feeds you found useful; what information they contain; evaluation of each source's validity
    • Web sites that you frequently refer to (you don't have to evaluate every Web site that you refer to, just those that are more important to your project); evaluation of each of these source's validity.
    • A page that contains your blogroll
  5. Search tools
    • Information about how you used the search tools we learned about in this class. I'm not interested in getting a full tutorial on these tools — I want you to tell me how you used them for this project.
    • How did you use email alerts (if at all — or why not) on this project
    • How did you use page monitors (if at all — or why not) on this project
    • Deep Web search sites that you found useful for this project
    • Web directory entries that you found useful
    • Tag-based sites that led you to useful information for this project. You should describe those tags that helped you find this information.
    • Podcast and video search tools that led you to useful information for this project. You should describe those searches that helped you find this information.
    • Image search tools that led you to useful information for this project. You should describe those searches that helped you find this information.
    • Deployment of a custom search engine that would help the visitor find useful information as easily as possible. Be sure to explain the ways in which you customized this search tool.

People Search Tools Results

by samooresamoore (17 Nov 2008 22:21; last edited on 17 Nov 2008 22:21)

These are the results of our people search exercise.

The results are shown as "A/B" where "A" is the number of times the result was found; "B" is the number of times the result was not found. The "Traffic" column is scaled to (as 1.0). Some are not listed because they are simply too large; I was more interested in seeing just how used some of these smaller sites are.

The sites that I listed as "Better sites" are those that performed above average on both the people search test and reverse phone lookup test.

People search Reverse phone lookup Traffic
Search engine Results Results (ratio)
Better sites
Google 14/1 11/1
Yahoo 12/3 11/1
WhitePages 10/4 11/1 5.8
ZabaSearch 11/3 9/1 1.0
SuperPages 10/6 11/2 0.05
Switchboard 13/3 11/2
WhoWhere 12/2 11/1 0
iSearch 13/3 7/2 0.0
Worse sites
Ask 12/3 8/4
Cluuz 11/3 1/9
Live 10/2
411 Locate 7/8 10/2 0
ZoomInfo 5/10 0.05
AnyWho 9/8 12/2 5.3
Yahoo People Search 8/6 9/1
Pipl 13/2 0.05
Spock 8/6 0.1
Yasni 6/8 0.0
Wink 10/5 0.05
123People 10/5 0.0

Do Yourself A Favor

by samooresamoore (10 Nov 2008 15:01; last edited on 10 Nov 2008 15:02)

…and watch this video. It's only 5 minutes long but it has a great message.

Test Information

by samooresamoore (09 Nov 2008 19:40; last edited on 09 Nov 2008 19:41)

(I sent this as an email, except for the one bold sentence below. This is just for record keeping.)

Just a clarification: I'm getting test questions from

  • your questions
  • your notes
  • my slides
  • my daily notes
  • daily exercises

And that's in no particular order. (I'm not anywhere near done putting it together.) I'm looking for a couple of things in putting together the questions:

  • Would you know the answer just by completing the exercises (and meaningfully reflecting on those exercises)?
  • Would you know the answer if you knew the main points from each day's lecture? (Which, in theory, relates to pertinent knowledge in the world of search.)

Better questions would be about information that will be useful for the next 3-5 years. Acceptable questions would be questions that would show that 1) you understand and are familiar with today's search technologies, 2) you are a skilled user of today's search technologies, 3) you will be an informed consumer of soon-to-appear search technologies. I'm looking to test you on useful information.

Worse questions would be about 1) insignificant details related to specific technologies that we are currently using, 2) generalizations about technology that don't help you evaluate new technologies or understand existing technologies.

Helpful Pages For Studying

by samooresamoore (08 Nov 2008 00:26; last edited on 08 Nov 2008 00:26)

When gathering information to put together your test, I created the following pages:

  1. All student notes
  2. Daily schedule pages
  3. All questions
  4. All exercises
  5. Search syntax

Election News

by samooresamoore (04 Nov 2008 18:51; last edited on 04 Nov 2008 18:51)

To make it easier to look around the Web and see what's going on with this election (and all the post-election coverage), I created this election page with a variety of news and opinion sites.


You Killed It

by samooresamoore (30 Oct 2008 14:39; last edited on 30 Oct 2008 14:39)

Yes, I'm sure you were responsible:


Project Information

by samooresamoore (15 Oct 2008 00:48; last edited on 15 Oct 2008 00:48)

There's nothing new in this announcement — I'm just clarifying some instructions. Again, there's nothing new here.

In general, throughout the information sources section of the wiki, the more you can instruct the reader, the more useful you can make it to your "successor", the better your evaluation will be.

  • Where did you get such useful information about this topic?
  • How might a person be able to stay on top of any new developments?
  • Where can I find good sources of background information on this topic?
  • Finally, and probably most difficult:
    • How might a person find new sources of information that crop up in the next year or two?
    • What types of queries should be done to look for these new sources?
    • Are there specific bloggers that are to be most trusted?
    • Are there specific collections of resources that seem to be updated most frequently and diligently?

You are instructing the analyst who is taking over your position at the end of December. It is your responsibility to not only prepare a good report (i.e., wiki) describing the status of the topic at the end of December, but it is also your responsibility to ensure that he/she will be able to carry on your tradition of excellence (that you are helping to establish with this wiki). You are informing and instructing with this wiki.

Student Blog Entries Added To Site

by samooresamoore (29 Sep 2008 20:13; last edited on 29 Sep 2008 20:13)

Now that you are turning in blog entries and I'm actually grading them, I have had students who have gotten 10/10 grades on their blog entries to add them to this site. If you have gotten a grade lower than you would have liked, you might spend a few minutes reading them as a way of seeing what type of work I am rewarding with these exceptional grades.

How To Organize Your Project Wiki

by samooresamoore (29 Sep 2008 20:06; last edited on 29 Sep 2008 20:06)

In this announcement I address questions I have gotten from a few students related to how they should organize the project wiki.

Think about the context of this wiki. It is being used as an educational resource for an incoming analyst; you, the author, is the outgoing analyst who is instructing the incoming analyst about this topic. So most of the content will be organized in a way that you think would help the incoming analyst learn about the topic. At the same time, this is a class and you want to impress me about your knowledge about the skills, techniques, and technologies that you have learned during the semester.

Here are some insights into how I think you should think about organizing your wiki:

  • The wiki home page should provide a guide as to what can be found on the site. It should be easily scannable. It should also provide links into the various parts of the site.
  • Your site should probably have the following sections:
    • Background information
      • An evaluation of the resources you used
    • Recent current events — something like a timeline, a series of blog entries; something that gives the incoming analyst an idea of what's been going on with the company recently.
    • Instructions on how to keep up with ongoing current events
      • Your blogroll will be accessible within the site
      • An evaluation of the RSS feeds that are in the blogroll, including reliability but also what the user can expect to find in each of the feeds
    • Descriptions (for me, the professor) about what techniques and technologies you used, how you used them, what they resulted in
  • The menu system should help the user navigate the site.

Don't forget that this site will be made public at the end of the semester.

I will write about this more as the semester goes on, but I've already gotten some questions about this so I thought I'd put in my two cents. (BTW, I am adding this information to the project page.)

Term Project Status Report 1

by samooresamoore (28 Sep 2008 22:41; last edited on 28 Sep 2008 22:41)

The status report is due on September 29. None of this is new, but I want to be sure that you understand what is required:

  • I met with most of you (but not all; this was a requirement).
  • Be sure to read the term project page, especially under Status Report.
  • Change the title of your wiki on the list of wikis.
  • Change the title of your wiki on your wiki's Site Manager page.
  • Your wiki start page should have a description of your research topic.
  • You do not need to turn anything in for this assignment. I will check it all online. The only page on your wiki that I will look at is the start page (and the title of the wiki).

See you in class!

Extended Office Hours For Projects

by samooresamoore (22 Sep 2008 20:37; last edited on 22 Sep 2008 20:37)

This week I will be having extended office hours so that you can meet with me about your project. I have set up a sign up sheet on this wiki. Go to this page and sign up for a 15 minute block of time. Come prepared with a possible topic and questions that you might have as well as comments/questions about the class. See you soon!

Term Projects From Last Year

by samooresamoore (22 Sep 2008 20:31; last edited on 22 Sep 2008 20:31)

I found the page that lists last year's term project topics. You should ignore the "Personal" topics and focus on the "business" topics. The particularly good topics that I remember were

  • Education
  • Gold
  • Ethanol
  • Uranium
  • Oil
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Wind/Solar Power
  • Carbon Trading
  • Sovereign Wealth Funds
  • Pharmaceuticals

Spreadsheet For Analysis Assignment

by samooresamoore (22 Sep 2008 01:07; last edited on 22 Sep 2008 01:07)

I have finally put together the data from both of the data-gathering exercises that you have completed. The data can be found in this Excel spreadsheet. Note that there are three tables of data on two sheets. Post any questions about this data on the forum. As stated in the assignment page, don't talk to anyone about this assignment.

Putting An Image On A Web Page

by samooresamoore (13 Sep 2008 16:57; last edited on 13 Sep 2008 16:58)

If you are a UM student, you should be able to upload images onto your personal IFS space and then make those images appear in your wiki (or this wiki).

Instructions for making images available are on this page. You only need to use MFile to set this up.

After going through the above steps, I would make a subdirectory named classes within the html directory, and then I would make a subdirectory named bit330f08 within the classes subdirectory. For any images that you want to publish somewhere on the Web (for example, on a wiki), put it in this subdirectory. The URL of this file would be

As an aside, after going through all of the above steps, you should move all of your class-related files (from all classes) out of the subdirectory ~uniqname/ and put them into the subdirectory ~/uniqname/Private/. If files are in the ~/uniqname/ subdirectory and not within the ~/uniqname/Private/ subdirectory, then anyone who has a uniqname can see those files; once you have put them into the ~/uniqname/Private/ subdirectory, then you will be the only one to be able to see those files. You might also think about making separate subdirectories within ~/uniqname/Private/ for each of your classes.

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