Welcome to The Search Principle blog. It’ll take a while (for me and you) to get used to this new space. Do you like the new design?
Last week, I spoke to a group of librarians about Google scholar. I get weary talking of Google but realize it’s incredibly influential. However, I’ve branched out into other areas in my information practice and try to keep up with web 2.0 and web 3.0 issues, not to mention teaching and learning concerns.
That said, I do see Google scholar as an important browsing tool – and part of what might be called an ideal ‘pre-search’ tool. But what is a pre-search tool?
Use pre-search tools to orient yourself, to browse, ask questions and get acquainted with topics. Who are the leading authors in a given field? What articles are seminal? Pre-search as a concept is also applicable to Wikipedia. Think of mother Google this way (i.e. presearch) as well.
Both Google scholar and Wikipedia can confidently be called ‘pre-search’ tools. Let’s convince our faculty users who ban Wikipedia for undergraduate research that much can be learned by using these tools and critiquing them against better sources. It’s part of media and information literacy in the digital age.
Why are murky topics (even those where there is so much disagreement) removed from Wikipedia (and other general wikispaces)? And why are some articles morphing into uncharacteristically long, discursive treatises? From my point of view, that’s not Wikipedia’s main function or purpose.
In the meantime, I hope users find their way to our entry on web 3.0 at the UBC Health Library wiki. ~Dean Giustini
1. Rankin, Virginia (1992). Pre-search. School Library Journal (Vol. 38, Issue 3, p. 168-171).