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Chunkit and Cuil

July 28, 2008

In the past few days I’ve been alerted to two new search tools. A friend, knowing my web-fascination, sent me a link to Cuil – http://www.cuil.com/info/ – I have only briefly played with it, but the information has hit the Twitterverse, and it was created by Google alumni, so you might want to check it out.

Searching for Vygotsky

Searching for Vygotsky

The other search tool I found out about from a comment from someone called Sasha on my blog. Chunkit is still in beta, you have to add a small download – Windows, Mac & Linux, IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ – but I found the Chunkit videos and information intriguing enough to download the application.

Searching for Vygotsky 2

Searching for Vygotsky 2

When you click on the most interesting text on the left, you are taken to the source site with the relevant text highlighted:

Source site

Source site

This looks like a handy research tool to me. I found the videos helped me learn how to use Chunkit, including the Search Options –

Chunkit Search

Chunkit Search

I have 3 small criticisms, less to more important:

  • the colours, orange and black are Hallowe’en colours – ugly;
  • The toolbar takes up a chunk of my small laptop screen; and
  • the education-oriented videos are all oriented toward the partying, last-minute essay writing, and one almost suggests plagiarism – inappropriate.

However, some of the videos have pages attached, like this one on Gutenberg for those who want a static set of instructions. The abudance of videos for many purposes, household, shopping, news, academics, and business, make it easy for the viewer to dip into the different uses he or she might make of Chunkit. After sampling a few, I found it easy to navigate Chunkit, and to use it for my purposes.

Chunkit PLE

Chunkit PLE

So what do you think? Are either of these a helpful addition to your searching? One more than the other? I interested in how others see them.

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