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Google vs. The Library: Transitioning Your (Re)Search: Google vs. The Library: Transitioning Your (Re)Search

Part of a series of classes/workshops originally designed for Speech Communication students on the Ethics of Information, designed to help students think critically about the world of information and their relationship to that information.

Search Google

Beware online "Filter Bubbles"

Until 4:04

We need to start thinking about the limitations of information and what these limitations mean for us.  It is not just a case of bang your head here syndrome (“Where do I begin?”) but a case of “I know where to look.” And what is being found is not really the answer to a complicated question, but a restricted view of what can be found. 

Parisian Love

Google would like you to believe that you can easily navigate and manage your life using its search engine.  Is it really that easy to find what you are looking for on the web?

Architecture of Access to Scientific Knoweldge

Use Google Scholar? Listen to Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Harvard University discuss the limitations of access.                    7:30 - 10:18 

There is the notion that everything is available on the Internet.  Not only is everything not on the Internet, but oftentimes when it is available it comes at a price.

CQ Report on Google's Dominance

Rick Santorum

Google Search --> "Santorum"

                    "Spreading Santorum"

                    "Campaign for Santorum Neologism"

*Look at Google Image results for clues

Watch Jon Stewart report on Santorum:

Rick Santorum Fights His Google Problem

1. Searching GOOGLE

Some web sites are fakes designed to be spoofs, parodies or jokes. This is fine as long as you realize it's a fake and don't take it at face value


1.         Type “Online Pregnancy” in Google>>Google Search


2nd Option>>Free Online Pregnancy Test

** At best Google is a great research tool, at worst it can seriously degrade your work by feeding you misinformation.

You need to develop some healthy skepticism when using the Internet for research but there's no need to get paranoid.

2.         World Trade Organization is a parody of a site of the same name produced by the real World Trade Organization>>Type “” in Google Search

**  Compare the two:

Official World Trade Organization site [ ]

Spoof World Trade Organization site [ ]

The web design of the spoof is very similar to the official site, and the URL is believable but the content quickly gives it away – especially the main news headline: "WTO Announces Formalized Slavery Market For Africa"

2. Can we use Google for class?

The Bad news is that the Internet can lead to a lot of information that is completely inappropriate for your research, and it takes time and skill to weed this out.

*Most people use very simple search techniques when they want to find information on the Internet using a search engine such as Google.

*Weeding out poor quality information takes time

Applying Google to class research

2.       GOOGLE Search

In the Google search box, type in “Airline industry” (or even “airlines”)


a.         What is the first result seen?  Is this a reliable source for business/market research? Is there a cost?

b.         What is the second and third result seen?  What kind of websites are they?Can we use them for an industry report/analysis?


Special thanks to my colleague, Jason Soohoo, for working on this with me and offering valuable feedback and insight