Yesterday, I tried to understand what was happening in Rollyo, but my brain was too full. It seemed like a lot of work, work that I wasn’t going to do right then. Today, I tackled it anew, and found that yes, it was work, but since I had a goal in mind (Habit #1), I was motivated to slog through the site-make that sites.
As a construction site, Rollyo was fairly easy to use, although it did not have specific instructions (step 1, step 2, step 3), which would be helpful. Other issues mentioned in my review of my Searchroll below.
Practicalities and impracticalities of Rollyo:
Having a selected number of sites to search on a particular topic would be useful to combat “Google-itis”; sites would be preselected for grade appropriateness, format, and presentation. Students would spend less time searching, more time researching. Of course the librarian would have to clone herself in order to have the time to set up all the rollyos for the different classes, and read stories, help children find books, shelve, etc. This time thing would be exacerbated by the redundancy factor; in my searches, I noticed a great deal of repetition of sites, some of them too dated for my subject (lists of good children’s books).
Note: when searching the other search engines for URL, I found it helpful to search one at a time, rather than include NYT with Books & Authors.
Time to check out my roses.
Later on: Using the Searchroll-Reality check
Decided to see how well my Searchroll works.
Uh oh. What’s all this stuff? I was so frustrated I wrote an email to the folks at Rollyo, who don’t seem to think it is necessary to include a direct contact link on the website (thanks a lot).
I set up my Searchroll for “children’s book lists”, selecting various lists from reputable sources. My aim here was to shorten the search process for myself as the librarian, as well as the grade-school children with whom I work. I wanted to get better hits, so when we want “historical fiction”, we can get the recommendations from the various lists.
Here’s what happened. Instead of sticking just to the lists (American Library Assoc. Notable Childrens Books, for instance), the search reached into the entire ALA site, resulting in a very diluted and long list. The same thing happened with the NYT site, which I had set on one page. What’s happening here, and how can I get Rollyo to limit the search to the exact pages I was saving?
I have a few beefs about the site, which I find less easy to use the more I try.
1. To set up a Searchroll, I needed to enter URLs before it would save my set up. Wouldn’t it make more sense to set up the Searchroll , and then fill in the URLs like one would a shopping cart? Maybe this is possible-but that was not made clear.
2. When I went to edit my Searchroll, I ended up creating a new Searchroll, as there wasn’t a “Save Changes” button in the edit window of the first Searchroll.
3. If the idea is to create a search engine that just looks at specific sites, why is Entire Web included on my list of search sites? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Rollyo? I don’t appreciate the redundant sprinkling of commercial websites that shows up on every page.
I await their reply, but am skeptical.