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Reference extract: credibility in academic searching?

I’ve spoken before about the need to teach students how to search, not just by typing keywords into Google, but by being able to validate the search results in terms of credibility.  Reference extract is a new project seeking to do just that, provide credible search results by using librarians (of the human variety) to provide links to credible articles online.

Context, as well as credibility, is important in search.  The example given in the project proposal involves an 8 year old asking for information about black holes.  Google won’t be able to select contextually relevant information, but a librarian will because the librarian is aware of the needs of the user.  This is obviously a simplified example but illustrates the point that semantics and meaning matter in search, and keywords aren’t a particularly useful means of figuring that out.

The project is only in a planning stage but I’m quite excited to see where it goes.

Here’s a link to the home page:
http://referencextract.org/

…and the project proposal:
http://referencextract.org/?page_id=3&page=2

By Michael Rowe

I'm a lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. I'm interested in technology, education and healthcare and look for places where these things meet.