I just started reading John Battelle’s book “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” and am finding it fascinating to note how search has changed over the years. Battelle comments about how the Dewey system would not be able to handle the amount of material on the Internet and it makes me wonder if there is a better way since although I find search engines helpful, I also find that I waste a lot of time using them since I have to do multiple searches tweaking the terminology to find what I really want. Also, it worries me that Google now has this database (Battelle calls it the “database of intentions”) that shows everythingsearched on their site and they use that to their benefit by targeting searchers with advertisements related to their searches.
What makes the book interesting is that it is not only about the success of Google, but about the history of searching the Internet and how it has developed over the years and its effect on culture too. It talks about some of the problems and benefits of search and gets into some ideas of what Battelle thinks search may look like in the future – and I was so glad to see and hear that he does not discredit the role of reference librarians ~phew! Some of the book does talk over my head a bit as I am not completely up on all the terminology and don’t have a computer science degree, however I am understanding the base concepts and ideas and am finding it truly fascinating, so I thought I’d recommend this one to anyone interested.
Battelle, J. (2005). The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. New York: Portfolio.