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RE: Universities May be Failing to Sufficiently Teach Basic Research

I agree that one should not be arguing that library leased 
databases are better than Google databases.  Each, the Googles 
and databases, have benefits and both the Googles and databases 
should be used for the benefits each provide.  Google Scholar 
often gets users to sources citing a found source in a search 
result and Google Scholar can find more results than a database 
search.  Google books can find topic pertinent information within 
a book that one would never suspect to be there or would never 
find without access to this tool.  On the other hand, the ability 
to do multistep complex searches, to use proximity operators not 
limited to exact phrases, and to limit search statements to 
specific fields like title or subject headings, amongst other 
features, in combination allow users of bibliographic databases 
to do far more precise searching which can save huge amounts of 
time in wading through lots of source citations to find a few 
that are on target for ones research topic as can often happen in 
Google search results with its limited one step and out search 

Google also is prone to very inconsistent and inaccurate search 
result numbers that are logically inconsistent with numbers in 
related searches, so that one can never be sure of any degree of 
comprehensiveness using Google search results.  I have seen this 
on web search Google, but have not tested this on other Google 
databases.  Library services and tools are not necessarily for 
generations past because they are not known or used by todays 
students, teachers or scholars.  Better marketing of these 
resources is also a possible need and producers of products 
libraries purchase, such as journal producers and databank and 
database providers need to be a strong source of this kind of 
public service promotion of libraries as go to places for quality 
research resources, not just the libraries themselves.

Keep in mind that the market for database and other publication 
products may be greatly reduced if libraries are not there to 
provide access to these products.  Lobbying state governments to 
provide public library and K-12 library access to databases for 
general information needs will facilitate some learning of these 
tools, if taught in K-12, before students get to college, and 
K-12 instrucion in database saerching technique and information 
literacy is another area in which database and databank providers 
should be proactive.  A major part of the battle to teach 
students how to do research is lost if students come to college 
with none of these database searching skills in their background.

David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584


On Thu, 11 Nov 2010, Chen, Xiaotian wrote:

> Maybe librarians should re-evaluate the traditional services---If
> students can get by by never having "been to a library and never
> seen or used an online database," maybe some of our services are
> no longer essential to them.
> Maybe we should re-define what "basic research" is in the 21st
> century. Maybe we should ask ourselves why students do not have
> the perception that they need us, as mentioned by Rick Anderson
> and Bernie Sloan in recent posts.
> Maybe in fact (or indeed) they do not need us as much as we
> think, because, A. search and access have been made easier by
> Google, Amazon, OpenURL and Open Access; B. we are too much
> behind by the Google standard.
> Maybe it is the time for us to stop trying to convince them that
> library databases are better than Google Scholar or PubMed,
> because we may not have scientific data to back us up.
> Xiaotian Chen
> Bradley University Library
> Peoria, Illinois
> http://hilltop.bradley.edu/~chen/