Navigating the digital world: managing online search – Nicola Dowson #digagres

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I started my career working in a public library in South London in the early 1990s and moved to working in academic libraries in the late 1990s.  In the 1990s and early 2000s access to information was provided via library catalogues and networked CD-ROMs.  Print was still the main route of publishing in many disciplines.
The birth of the Internet was a real game changer for librarians and publishers as it opened up the possibilities of providing access to information 24/7 from anywhere in the world providing there was Internet connection.
Today, in 2016, there are a vast number of resources available online, in a wide variety of formats and available via wide range of platforms.  Being able to find, evaluate and manage information has always been an essential skill for researchers. In the digital world that we now live in it researchers are needed to further develop and hone their digital literacy skills to effectively navigate the digital world.
In writing the chapter on managing online search I have reflected on how the information landscape has changed in the last 20 years and how developments in scholarly communication, for example open access publishing and blogs are enabling wider dissemination of research outputs.  The chapter includes an overview of some database and discovery tools.  It also gives some tips on effective searching, managing your research results and evaluating what you find.
Writing the chapter has made me reflect on the need for researchers not to be come reliant on certain resources to find information as these are constantly changing , may disappear all together and there are always new resources being made available. Exploiting the functionality of databases and other services e.g. setting up alerts, recommender services can really help researchers with keeping-up-to-date with new developments in their field though it is essential to manage these to avoid information overload.

Nicola Dowson

Image CC BY Mosman Library