Google It « Quædam cuiusdam
Google It
Wednesday 29 March 2006 @ 12:11 pm

Steven Cohen objects to libraries’ dependence on Google. Leaving aside the fact that Googling “Library 2.0” (the example in Steven’s posting) gives you excellent coverage in the first five hits, I think anti-Googlism is wrong-headed, and based on bad premises. Search skills were crucial back when stuff was hard to get: you needed to filter out the bad stuff as early as possible in the research process. Now, stuff is trivially easy to get, so it is a perfectly acceptable approach to put your effort into evaluating the results of a poorly-focused search instead of focussing the search. Good evaluation skills can make up for bad search skills. All of us who use Google regularly know how to scan a results page and pick out the promising hits, and how to evaluate a retrieved page quickly (even instantly). That tide has turned, and it’s pointless to stand against it.

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 2 responses to “Google It”

  •   Bob Hassett wrote:

    It’s refreshing to see this sentiment expressed so clearly and cogently. It makes me feel less lonely. I often begin research instruction with students by encouraging them to begin with Google before digging into vendor databases, a practice which invariably raises the eyebrows of their classroom teachers. (Sooner or later it’s going to get me in trouble). Yet my informal survey of teachers regarding use of subscription databases in their own lives has yet to turn up any use other than “when I was working on my master’s degree.” I do use them in my life, but only after I’ve exhausted the vast opportunities of the open Web. Federated search will gradually eliminate much of the overhead, but as it is I just find it too cumbersome to stumble through multiple gateways and adapt to quirky interfaces to find what somebody has already paid for me to view. You’re right: Why don’t we stop wringing our hands and spend more time teaching Google hacks and quick/dirty resource evaluation?

  •   christina wrote:

    i agree with u on some things about google…. google is a good search engine to go and look up unschool related things, and some school related things, just not all things. Some things you should have to look in books for the info..

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