Portable MSLIS – Chapter 11

Chapter 11 definitely struck a chord in regards to search engines, how to find information and the pros and cons of different types of systems available. I find this especially daunting as I consider the different levels of students I may encounter. How, for example, would a system work for both a first grader and a sixth grader?  What would be the best way to organize information so that both teachers and students alike can find materials with ease?

With Google at the forefront of most people’s minds when they hear the term “search engine,” it seems that a keyword search has become the norm in the public sector but as Weedman points out, more specific searches require a degree of strategy other than simply typing in a few keywords (p 122). To this extent, it is understandable why middle and high school students would find academic research frustrating, especially when they are used to instant results as web searches often provide.

This chapter reminded me of a commercial for a new search engine I had seen on television called Bing. Bing is supposed to be “The cure for search overload syndrome,” according to their advertisement. After exploring www.bing.com for a few minutes it was clear that the search engine’s results were organized definitely different than Google or Yahoo; it divided a common keyword search into subcategories but the results themselves didn’t seem to be strikingly different. Like Google or Yahoo, the user also has the option to search only within images, videos, news, or shopping. Below is an example of their commercial which humorously illustrates the inherent problem with most web searches:

References:

Weedman, J.  (2008). Information retrieval: Designing, querying, and evaluating information systems. In Ken Haycock & Brooke E. Sheldon (Eds.), The portable MLIS: Insights from the experts. Westport, Connecticut, Libraries Unlimited.

Bing: The cure for search overload syndrome. (2009). Available from Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIxfk3hS0uU.

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