Is it right? Is it reliable?

CNET News recently published an article entitled Most reliable search tool could be your librarian (which, of course, has been a great uplift to many of the librarians you know). I've blogged previously on the ways librarians could improve Google. However, this article brings a different spin to the conversation.

The author of the article states, "While the Web is good for offering quick results from a broad range of sources, which may or may not be trustworthy, librarians can help people get access to more authoritative information and go deeper with their research." I touched on this previously, but let's expand on this topic.

Google is great for the quick data point - and for finding the latest theories on the Lost TV series. But what if you need some really critical information, like market share in the server space? What if you have to present to executives and you need your information to be not only correct but reliable?

Sure, you could do a Google search and see what comes up. You can even get to press releases and articles telling you what the top market research vendors are reporting.

But what if you need the source - the full information from true authorities? How do you know what's available and what's reliable?

That is where librarians - your information professionals - who are highly skilled - can bring real value to your information search. We can locate the information, and we can point you to the most reliable and trusted sources for the information. For the example above, you can find market share information for servers from IDC and Gartner, the top two IT market research firms, on our internal Numbers Clearinghouse (Sun employees, check out our main site for links to this resource). Basically, the best information, available from the most reliable resources.

Would you be able to get those exact market share numbers - not only for Sun, but for IBM, HP and other competitors - from a Google search? No way. If, by some chance, you happened to find the IDC or Gartner site, you'll be required pay many thousands of dollars to access the information. If you know to go through Sun's Digital Libraries & Research portal (again, Sun employees, check this out), you not only get access to the information, but the information's already been funded by Sun. You win, and Sun wins - because you're leveraging the information already purchased.

Of course, the information isn't always so easy to find, even for librarians (believe it or not). Across the board, librarians are finding that search engines have reduced the number of questions they receive. However, the complexity of the questions is increasing. In some cases, the information may simply not be out there in published format.

Our goal within the Digital Libraries & Research group, Sun Learning Services, is to enable Sun employees to spend less time looking for information so they can move more quickly from searching to executing - with the most complete, reliable information available.

Got questions? Sun employees - check out our main site, under Key Links from the SunWeb page.

Not a Sun employee? Check with your organization's information experts!

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