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Article Watch: When Speed Trumps Substance

In this article, subtitled A Dozen Problems with Internet-based Research, Robert Velarde discusses the relationship between traditional, book-based research methods and the increasing use of Internet-based research techniques. In particular, he points out a dozen problem areas we may find when trying to use the net for study and research purposes. It is a sober call for balance and realistic expectations that should help us keep focused on the pros and cons of using modern-day computer technology. As an example, here is a little bit of what he has to say on search engines:

9. Online search engines are not the be-all and end-all of research. All the world's information is not available on the Internet. I don't know that there is anything more to say on this point, as it speaks for itself. Quite simply, there is a great deal of information that is not available online. What some may term the "Googlefication" of society gives the impression that anything can be found via an online search engine. By the way, I do not mean to deride Google specifically here, but I use its searching service as an example because of its high-profile and market recognition. Google is a useful tool, when kept in perspective. As Price observes in his article noted in point three above, "I'm starting to get the feeling that for others [non-librarians], the masses so to speak, finding the answer to a question does mean simply going to one site, entering a few words, and waiting for a link to 'the answer' to magically appear."

Hum... Interesting reading if you ask me.


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