Gollum and Some Thoughts about Filtering and Greasemonkey...

Miguel Guhlim writes of Gollum. Gollum is an AJAX based browser for Wikipedia. The author of Gollum states that he created it for his daughter because he found the interface to Wikipedia to be cluttered and confusing. Basically Gollum pulls the content from Wikipedia and lays it out in a more visually appealing manner. Miguel wishes the interface would filter out inappropriate language from Wikipedia entries. This got me thinking about the web browser Firefox and its extendibility with extensions such as Greasemonkey.

Clean Language is a Greasemonkey script that filters out selected text from a web page before it loads in your browser. You can set it up to remove the offending words, or just replace the word with some other nonsense characters. The script comes with a preloaded list of offending words and can be edited to include any words you like. I've played around a bit with it and it works well. So if students were using the Firefox browser with this script loaded, then you would be able to filter offending words not only from Wikipedia sites, but any page that was visited when using Firefox. Am thinking I'll load this script on our next lab image.

Another interesting use of Greasemonkey and Firefox is the work that Simon Willison did to clean up the pages at the Library of Congress' American Memory project. I recently read a post by Cory Doctrow on BoingBoing lamenting the fact that the items in the project were locked in a Web .5 interface that made navigation and retrieval of information cumbersome. Simon Willison read the post and quickly came up with a Greasemonkey script that rendered the American Memory pages in a much more visualizing appealing and organized manner. (see examples screen shots below...)

Screenshot 04-5 Screenshot 05-3

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