You know who you are – the kid who sat in the back row and doodled endlessly because the drone of Ms. Frizzle’s history lesson promised nothing but boredom and maybe a few chuckles on the new ‘do. Reading lists or paragraphs didn’t quite cut it; listening to a lecture just went in one ear and out the other. But you always remembered when she brought in a political cartoon or she drew some kind of diagram on the blackboard.
Now, folks, we have Google in a whole new light – behold TouchGraph. I must admit that I was forced into using this application for class, but after fiddling with it for a few hours, it has grown on me considerably. There’s also a version for Amazon and Facebook (but the Facebook one doesn’t seem to be in any kind of working order). What I enjoy about this tool is the fact that I can start out a search with a broad keyword (“journals”) and narrow it down to a single page that speaks to exactly what’s on my mind (“open access scholarly e-journal directory, biology-related”). Basically what it does is bring up the first ten results as they would normally appear in Google, but encase each result with a colored bubble of its own color. Each of these ten would then be circled by the top ten results of its own search, also encased with the same colored bubble. In that way you end up with 100 pages on your first search, perhaps with 100 different outcomes that you’d never have expected to find with a single click of a button.
What I mean is that the search is more of a journey than a bored hack through barren text-laden wasteland. A happy, bubbly journey full of sweet surprises and treats for the inquisitive traveler. So go ahead, give it a try.