Seeking Info: Google Does Not Always Cut It

A leading thinker of the 20th Century, Gregory Bateson, defined information as “any difference that makes a difference.” I have adopted this view of information as my view of information. Information is quite distinct from bits of data stored as strokes of ink on a page or binary states, zeroes and ones, in a digital storage medium. Bits of data only become information through the interpretive process of a system such as a living being or corporate body. The once elegant interpretive process used by humans to help create our marvelous and complex culture has been given short shrift in recent years by Google searches and Wikipedia articles. Doing your research means much more than googling the topic.
Do you remember a thing called The Library? Well I spent well over a decade of my life working in academic university libraries in public service positions finding just the right bit of information for individuals who walked up to my desk and asked a question. Large corporations have always had their own libraries and librarians, and now they employ information professionals who access the right databases, that most certainly are not Google nor Wikipedia pages. Proprietary information put out in research reports, journals, and to some extent government publications is not well indexed or not indexed at all by searches of web content. The references listed at the bottom of a Wikipedia page may or may not be linked to the best source for the “fact” it supposedly supports. Government supported research is often, but not always, accessible through government documents that may be indexed through a freely available database to which most public libraries or government hosted databases give access.
There are both limiting and enabling constraints associated with access to
A limiting factor is that most individuals and small businesses do not know how to access the databases nor how to use them to their best advantage once accessed. And another, huge, factor is time. It takes time to do research and it takes time to put all the data together in a meaningful fashion.
The most crippling factor for sole proprietors and small businesses is cost the cost associated with online access to the necessary proprietary databases.


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