Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Research Agenda about Googling

Many in the library world have raised questions about Google (Sam Trosow, for example, on the digitization project). What else are folks doing? Phillipe Dumas suggests developing a research program about the phenomenon in a recent deposit into @rchiveSIC a French cross-institutional disciplinary open access archive for LIS. GOOGLE AU QUOTIDIEN : LE GOOGLING EN PERSPECTIVE is written in French but has an English summary: "The author first notes that Google, the trade mark, the project, the utilization - the "googling"- are social facts proven by the numbers - number of net surfers, of requests, of uses- and by the signs of adhesion - linguistics, economic, social. A socio linguistic analysis of the speeches of the persons in charge of Google and of users indicate that the social fact "googling" results in the emergence of a culture and a world community which shares it. They are supported by the language and also by the myths that were created and largely maintained by the owners the mark "Google Inc". The conclusion is that the current organization of the market of services on the Internet makes that Google Inc. is almost the only institution to know the population of the googlers. In order not to be subjected to this monopoly, however comfortable it is, the author proposes to develop a research program on the uses and users of Google."

I'm curious about what exactly a research program about Googling will look like. Will it include partial and non-users? As I've noted before non users are very interesting. What Dumas documents as marking and shaping of a culture about googling also reminds me of OCLC's search for a "library" brand in their latest Perspectives research report. About 3000 information consumers were questioned, presumably the general public, from various regions around the world, about information seeking habits and preferences. Some findings: 84% of all electronic information seeking begins with search engines; and the percentage who Completely agree that Google provides worthwhile information breaks down thus: 55% for all regions, 59% for Australia, Singapore and India, 56% for Canada, 51% for UK, and 54% for US (source: Appendix A - Supporting Data Tables, OCLC Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources,

1 comment:

Cyrille said...

I welcome a research program on googling. Maybe such a project would be able to define googling, but I really hope Philippe Dumas will communicate in english and I think it would be of main importance if other researchers from other countries should be involved to avoid "cultural bias".