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What's This Thing Called Knowledge Graph?

In May Google launched a new search component, Knowledge Graph. Does it have any impact on teens and libraries? Yes it does. Read on to learn more.


  1. Web 2.0, you've got that covered, right?  Of course you do, because now is the time to pay attention to web 3.0. You might say, "What, Why?" Because now that Google launched the Knowledge Graph, the web 3.0 world is more than ever upon us. But, "wait you say, it sounds like you are speaking Greek. Slow down. I don't have a clue what you are talking about." That's OK, in this Storify you'll find out what Web 3.0 is, what Google's Knowledge Graph is all about, and why these are important in your work with teens.

    The video below provides a good overview of why web 3.0 helps solve the problem of the overabundance of information.
  2. And the article below, from How Stuff Works, is a good introduction to the basic concepts of web 3.0 and what this latest version of the web is striving to achieve.
  3. If web 3.0 is about helping to manage information for people and making it possible to refine and fine-tune searches in order to get the results that are just what each person wants and needs, then where does Google's Knowledge Graph come in?  
  4. Introducing the Knowledge Graph
  5. Knowledge Graph helps to get things started (or maybe keep things moving) in the move to a more "semantic" search. A search in which words and phrases can be put into context so that the results match what a searcher is specifically looking for.
  6. The Christian Science Monitor wrote about the basics of Knowledge Graph. In particular the article highlights how this new feature from Google provides search results that help the searcher hone in on context of a search and harnesses location-based results, data from users previous searches, and user preferences to provide results that help to zoom in on just what is needed.
  7. Now start to think about the impact that Knowledge Graph can have on the work that you do with teens at your library.  It can be helpful both in academic and personal interest contexts.  

    There are definitely information literacy implications. A teen might start with a general search, Vincent Van Gogh for example, and through Google's Knowledge Graph find terms and phrases that he or she can use to narrow the search to a specific painting, a specific art period, or a related artist.  Putting all of those components in one location (in an extremely visual format) can help teens to zero in on their research resource needs and also help them to refine and update their searches.
  8. Along with the information literacy implications there are other discovery implications for teen searchers.  Imagine a teen looking for information on a favorite author, book series, musician or celebrity. The teen goes to Google and types in a very generic search. Say a teen types in the name of a musician/celebrity, Bjork for example.
  9. The Knowledge Graph result is a full overview of Bjork, from information about her life to links to her music, to a list of upcoming events, to access to her albums. A teen wanting to make an easy connection to all the basic life and times information and resources for a favorite person (or even place) will find that in the Knowledge Graph results. It's a one-stop shop.  

    Think about the teens in your library who are fans of an author or an artist or a place. How you help him or her to use Knowledge Graph a way to support their knowledge and interest?  
  10. At the 2:14 point in the Google video on Google Knowledge Graph, Product Management Director Johanna Wright states, "We are in the early phases of moving from being an information engine to becoming a knowledge engine." 
  11. Introducing the Knowledge Graph
  12. There's an important role for librarians to play as Google continues in their transformation from information engine to knowledge engine.  Librarians need to help teens know how to use the features of Google Knowledge Graph and help them understand how information from their own searches is being incorporated into the Graph. 

    Along with being a great opportunity to talk about information literacy, Google Knowledge Graph also opens up opportunities to discuss the worlds of public and private on the web. You might ask teens, how does Google gather the information about searches in order to create the knowledge graph?  It is also worth asking if teens think knowing about how Knowledge Graph works is important as they consider their digital footprints.

    By the way, not long after Google launched Knowledge Graph, Yahoo announced a new app, Axis. Some say it too has implications for the way people search and retrieve information.
  13. Obviously, the world of search is growing and changing. Don't miss the implications it has for your library and for the teens that you work with.