In my previous post, I gave a very brief summary of the earliest forms of online searching, which was carried out almost entirely in the highly-structured bibliographic databases available, in general, only to librarians and information professionals.
From our modern perspective, we might think that these databases are somewhat limited in scope and content: a database might cover a single industry (e.g., construction) or discipline (e.g., chemistry). The earliest versions contained only citations, or citations with abstracts; full texts of articles, which we now take for granted, were added only later.
But the limited scope, and in particular the highly-structured formatting and the indexing done by actual, real, human information professionals, enabled laser-focused searching and very reliable results.
Though the internet now offers v-a-s-t quantities of information, I still use the same structured databases, and I still rely on them for quick, focused, reliable results. Here’s why:
State of the Union -
8 months ago