Sunday, October 09, 2005

"You Still Goggle? That is So Last Week"

According to professional researcher Mary Ellen Bates, the general public's reliance upon Google as the search tool means that we often find what's popular rather than what we really want or need, which shouldn't really come as a surprise:

Because many of our clients use only Google, they are actually being left behind in terms of search technology. Google is dumb: it places so much trust on its relevance ranking in its presentation of search results as a simple list of Web sites. Users don't have access to suggestions of alternate concepts or terms or all the tools that other search engines provide. Our clients are placing too much reliance on the first ten results they get from what they consider to be the best search engine out there. It reminds me of what happened when we Baby Boomers, raised on Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beefaroni and Jell-O corned beef salad loaf, finally encountered- you know-real food. "Wow, you mean we can fix food that has real taste and texture?"

What this means for us info pros is that, when we introduce our clients to all the sophistication of a high-end online service or enterprise search tool, we have to remember that they often do not have any context within which to evaluate it. They are accustomed to looking at search results that were cutting edge three years ago. The new search tools that are available do require more work for the user. Rather than just rely on the first page of search results, you are encouraged to look at some of the suggested modifications. Do you want to narrow your search of "solar energy" to "photovoltaic cells"? Would you like to limit your search to the appropriate category within the Open Directory Project? Would it be useful to just start with a few good Web-liographies compiled by nonprofit organizations? Or perhaps would you like to tweak just how crucial each aspect of your search is?
Often, finding the most popular sites isn't what I want.
The whole article, "You Still Goggle? That is So Last Week," is available at RedNova.

via Depraved Librarian

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