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Research Commentary on the Spire Project

OR What?
By David Novak

Google allows for the use of OR.

Thank goodness too. It almost makes up for the fact that Google get so confused with plurals.

Using it is fairly simple OR simplistic. You just need to include a "couple words" OR "several words" in your search query.

As an aside, this reminds me of the words to an Australian commercial promoting the use of movie ratings. "I like 'M'. I think you will like 'M' too. 'M' (for mature audiences only) has much to offer."

So, I get to say to you; "I like 'OR'. I think you will like 'OR' too. 'OR' has much to offer."

I am a little disappointed that I knew so little about the Google OR until recently. What I prefer to focus on, though, is that thanks to all the time I spent learning library science, and in understanding how elements of library science can be applied in internet research, I immediately knew how to apply OR, and have since made use of OR very effectively. Once I knew it existed, I knew how to apply it, and when and why.

The bridge between library science and internet research is especially productive. It extends to ideas and concepts about what research is, and where internet research will eventually lead us. I like to think it is about the thrill of the hunt. Questing for information.

I've only recently seen the future, and I am now convinced internet research and information research will merge into a single discipline within a few years, thanks largely to a few facets of the internet not yet evident.

This vision is not native to internet research. Until recently, internet research was a computer field - a technical field. We'd focus on working with information like a computer does. Search by keyword. Trust the search engines to bring the best information to the top. Listen to slogans about tibetan monks doing searches, and how meta-search engines search 'more' of the web. (That last one always makes me noxious.)

And this attitude drives us to focus on whether Google is a good search engine or not. Google is good. Its even better if you know how to use it - (see "I like 'OR'" above). Google is also bad, but you need to know when it's been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake. Hey!

So, Google allows us to use 'OR'. It has to be in capital letters, and it is found between two words that you can't seem to decide between.

It works very well with words with different spellings, like:
        aging OR ageing

And it words well with words that can be plural, like:
          dog OR dogs

And yes, now that you've learned this you can go back to thinking internet research is a computer topic. OR, you can consider that this is really the renaissance of library science in a world rapidly losing value and comprehension of what the computer field of internet research was supposed to deliver but can't.

By the way, the main thrust of this article was one of two ideas:

An obscure item of Boolean technology taught in advanced internet research courses applies to Google...
There is more to internet research than understanding obscure items taught in advanced internet research courses.

* * *
David Novak, founder of the Spire Project, delivers seminars on Exceptional Internet Research around the world. I hope to see you one day. for details.

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