Monday, October 31, 2011


In one of the sessions I attended at the Internet Librarian 2011 conference earlier this month a popular business research librarian, Mary Ellen Bates, shared some of her super searcher secrets. Because she often does research on competitors for business clients she does not want her inquiries to be detected. But as we know, websites can gather all kinds of information about those who visit them. So she revealed some ways she searches incognito. She also told us about web bugs and how to get around them.

While some web bugs (or trackers) are harmlessly used to collect data for web traffic analysis, some are used to collect a lot of information about visitors and use it or sell it for marketing and other purposes. Some websites have a lot of web bugs on them. (Have you ever visited a song lyrics website?)


So she told us about a browser tool called Ghostery that scans web pages for scripts, pixels, and other elements and reveals the companies with such tracking codes hidden on the page. Ghostery tells us about these companies and their practices so if we don't want to be tracked, we can change our browser Privacy settings to block these scripts.

Happy Halloween!

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