Googlization and the Reference Desk Essay

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Another aspect that the search engines use to line up web pages, besides the frequency of the characters, is the appropriateness of the topic i.e. A search on "elephants" will not yield the same results as a search on "elephants in Africa" or "animal rights: elephants (Valenza, 1997). This difference has to be explained by the librarian-teachers to the students in the initial stages of their online research endeavors so that when they conduct research on a more vast topic, they have to ability to break own the topic and concentrate on the words and areas that will yield the most relevant information at the quickest pace. It is important to note here that the accuracy of a the use of words is also part of knowledge management as it requires an individual to first manage the little knowledge he has on the topic, i.e. distinguishing the important aspects for online search from irrelevant aspects, before adding to it from the online portals.

Importance of Key Words

Many librarians and researchers agree that since the aspect of controlled vocabulary actually guides the overall structure of knowledge management, then in order to make the students good knowledge manager like the librarians, the y must be taught the accurate use of controlled vocabulary. By that statement, it is safe to assume that the accurate teaching tools for controlled vocabulary will automatically help in attaining the right tools for instilling knowledge management in students and will spark the chain of events that will lead to the desired result (decreasing the difference between the librarians and students as knowledge managers).

Even though the use of appropriate words has been acknowledged by many librarians and library systems across the world, many librarian-teachers still don't invest in the exclusive and extensive teaching of controlled vocabulary searches, online or offline. Instead they focus on the importance of how a single chosen word can make the difference between sufficient data and insufficient data. However, this particular approach is not enough as students still invest more time then necessary in collecting the actual information then filtering, managing or remembering it which in turn leads to lowered retention levels (Mann, 2007).

The focus for most librarian-teachers needs to be to teach students the importance of having variety and elasticity when it comes using controlled vocabulary on the search engines or using the relevant content from the topic to search the online directories. If the librarian-teachers are able to strike this balance in their teaching tools, then one can expect the overall differences between the librarians and students when searching through online/offline databases to decline over a short period of time. The main task of librarians hence will not only be to be the knowledge finders and keepers but to also be the knowledge transmitters. To be accurate and successful knowledge transmitters, the librarians will be better off teaching the students and fellow librarians the "art" of searching through the use of appropriate keywords and controlled vocabulary as opposed to using different methods and techniques that are part of the overall data collection and knowledge management procedures (Mann, 2007).

Search engines and their technicalities

Search engines like Google and Yahoo are perhaps the most popular amongst students for conducting research on any topic that has been given to them. The fact of the matter though is this: neither Google nor Yahoo are the best search engines to search for the accurate categorization of pages or books especially if the student using them is not adept at the phenomenon of controlled vocabulary. This is so because the object of Google as a search engine is to provide quick results, compromising on relevancy whenever necessary. Hence, it is very important to have the right criteria and key words for the search when using Google as that alone will help outline the quickest knowledge-base results.

The fact is that's for students who are attempting to design a knowledge base for high-level scholarly articles are bound to be disappointed by the phenomenon of Internet keyword browsing. This is so because keyword searching, while important to get relevant results, does not always necessarily line up the results that the student needs i.e. keyword searching does result in some unanticipated and at time unnecessary browsing. Keyword browsing can and does also result in displaying results without consulting the other keywords that the student has typed in, or the linking phrases, synonyms, proximity, etc. furthermore, keyword searches restricts the search to only one language and does not always stick to the conceptual framework of the topic. This being said, keyword searching or browsing does have its importance in the terms of the implementation of controlled vocabulary. Yes, keyword searching might result in presenting irrelevant data, but the fact still remains that keyword searching does help the student to search through the data within the spectrum of the topic even if the information presented is not always relevant to their chosen concept (Mann, 2007).

This is perhaps also one of the main reasons why librarians better implement keywords in online searches because they don't always go for the search engines that can provide them the quickest result. Most librarians tend to use the services of search engines like OPAC so that they can use a more through and efficient collection of the literature and information within the spectrum of their concept (Mann, 2005).

The search engines that make the best use of the keywords provided usually come equipped with eth following features as well:

Boolean connectors like AND, OR and NOT arte at the disposal of the searcher so that the necessary, helpful, complimenting and irrelevant data can be recognized and separated at the beginning of the search.

Wildcards are usually the words or chain of words that are separated by an asterisk.

Phrases or quotations are usually put within inverted comas in order to search a very specific chain or file on the internet.

Proximity is very important to conduct an accurate research through the use of keywords because some keywords might be used in reference to a lot of situations and these needs to be filtered in order to save time. Usually search engines have the option of "near to" to display the option of proximity. This "near to" can be used to depict the nearness of the phrases (character by character) or the nearness of concepts.

ADJ stands for adjacent and simply denotes that the two keywords use have to be right next to each other with their positions being interchangeable at times.

Field searching allows the search engine to find the keywords in specific portions of the document like the heading, a specific paragraph or a specific link. Field searching also allows the browser to search in certain domains as well like only books or journals or newspaper articles, etc.

Case sensitivity is also important as most search engines ignore the cases used in the keywords and display results using both the capitalized and lower cases of the keywords. This proves very useful when the actual case usage is not known (Valenza, 1997).

Steps necessary for bridging the difference between librarians and students' searching tactics

It is important to make students better equipped to conduct online and offline searches using the understanding of the aspects of knowledge management and controlled vocabulary. Many researchers strongly believe and support that this particular approach can help bridge the gap that he librarians and students experience when conducting research suing the same sources. Researchers further stress that it is the understanding of the librarian-teacher towards the connection and association that students make with knowledge is the key towards making students adept at the art of internet searching and the skill of knowledge management. Furthermore, researchers agree that librarian-teachers really need to understand the mental, physical, social and intellectual aspects of the students to design better teaching techniques that will help them retain the steps needed for accurate representation of personal concepts and approaches within online browsing as well as the vocabulary and its appropriate utilizations (Valenza, 2006).

Librarian-teachers have to remember that each student has his or her unique style of thought and none of the students is at the same mental caliber as them hence they have to be able to adapt their teaching techniques accordingly. The fact still remains that even though the technological advancements have escalated the overall expanse of the internet which as consequently increased accessibility to the information gateways, nevertheless, our students are still incapable as a whole body to effectively use this opportunity to grasp, comprehend, retain, filter and/or manage the knowledge readily available to them. This basically is because of the fact that many students are still not familiar with how the information and knowledge available to them is categorized or structured and how they need to sift through it to get exactly what they want.

Hence, the focus for librarian-teachers should be on…[continue]

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