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The internet does not know everything

The internet is so large, whatever you search for you find millions of hits. But does the internet really know everything ?
I doubt it. Google and other big search engines are generous to provide search results but the majority of links take you nowhere, at least they fail to answer your questions.
If you search for a famous topic you might be in luck, but when searching for something real special the internet often fails to deliver what you need.

Lifehacker today published this article: "How to Research Like a Journalist When the Internet Doesn't Deliver". It says:

The internet is full of information, but sometimes what you’re looking for needs a different approach.

Like we said, the Internet a good starting point, especially if all you need is general, easily-accessible knowledge on a topic. However, if you really want to learn the details on a topic, like local history, how your city was founded, who lived where you do today, or even what your community looked like a decade ago—or even a century ago—you need more detailed, specific resources.

Going into a real library, talking to real people is very often the best approach to learn something specific.

I know it from the company I work for: we have thousands of wikis and Lotus Notes databases and other information sources to search through, but what I often find is simply a lot of garbage: meeting minutes where my topic is mentioned but not really explained, presentations with some statements without any consumable context, may be an article here and there where my topic is mentioned but again not really explained, or hard to understand, because that article was not written for people who really know nothing about it.

Finding the right person and asking him the right question might get you a great answers quickly and efficiently. And thru follow-on questions you can easily customize the input you get. Assuming you find someone who wants to help and share and who is flexible enough to adjust to your level of knowledge. Luckily many people are that way, at least where I work.

And once you have researched what you have been looking for: post it in the internet and contribute to a higher quality of all the information provided there.

3 blog comments below

I agree with you. Be cautious of most information since the source may not be reliable.
That finding the 'right' person to ask is as difficult as finding info the web.
standready on Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:54 pm
Great article Amagard! Hit a real cord with me as I get enormously frustrated when I Google a subject and when I click on one of the links on the first page it shows poor quality information. Now and then I get OK links, but I wish one day that there could be some system or some search engine that has mastered the technique of BS detecting. Google is probably too profit and marketing focused to be that search engine. But in absence of any other, Google for me is the best option for any of my searches when I want to make a quick search.

I also wish I could learn more about asking the right questions. I'm getting better at it. But obviously how one asks the questions will determine the quality of the results.

I totally agree with you about the value of really quality libraries. The Vancouver Public Library in British Columbia, Canada must be one of the best I've ever experienced. VERY helpful for any information search under the sun. Nothing can beat a really well trained librarian with years of experience who is always keen to help.
deanhills on Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:06 pm
Talking about 'reliability', standready, one thing which I forgot to mention and which bothers me a lot: I find a lot of out-dated info in the internet ( I search a lot about programming and IT ), thus I try out hints and tips which are not up-to-date anymore. And: I find lots of documents with dead links, pointing to knowhere - another frustrating aspect.

deanhills, there are actually so many search engines out there, but I admit: I mostly use google, because of its fast response times. As you said, it is probably the most commercial one.
May be I should try other search engines in the future like duckduckdo and compare to what google delivers or come up with some measurement like: how many useless findings I had to go through before getting what I have been looking for ?
amagard on Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:27 pm

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