September 2nd, 2009

The Perils of Web Search

The good, the bad, and the ugly of open internet research often show up here on Off The Shelf. No matter how often the librarians tout the library databases, we get plenty of learners who can’t get enough of internet search engines.

And what about those internet search engines? They seem so benign, so useful. Yet, with every search engine comes a set of motivations, decisions, and consequences. Before you run your next search of Google, take a moment and read this interesting article:

Grimmelmann, J. (2009). The Google Dilemma. New York Law School Law Review, 939. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1160320

You can download it using one of the links on the page.

Grimmelmann brings up some very interesting points about what Google does, and does not do, when it creates your search results list. Considering how reliant we are on search engines, Google and other search engines have the power to shape what we know. On top of that, sophisticated internet content creators have the power to shape Google.

So, what does that mean for the future of information? For shared knowledge? For your next research paper?

- Erin

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