Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Use of Google and Yahoo by Internet Users in Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

The Use of Google and Yahoo by Internet Users in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

The format of information-bearing resources is changing rapidly as more and more technological innovations emerge. With the introduction of the Internet and the World Wide Web, information has become more accessible than in the print regime, and it is now considered a key resource and asset in every aspect of life. Information resources available on the Internet include e-journals (current and archives), e-books, wiki resources, reports, web sites, newspapers, reference resources, virtual library resources etc. According to Grillon (1994) the entrance into the information age has had many impacts on our way of life. One of these impacts is the changes in information storage and retrieval. The jobs and functions performed by all and sundry are becoming increasingly information dependent (Grillon, 1994). Like the library, the Internet stores a large amount of information (in the form of web pages) in individual databases. According to Williams and Sawyer (2007) the Internet is the largest computer network connecting over 200 smaller networks around the world. It was established in 1969 as ARPANet (Advanced Research Project Agency Network) by the United States Ministry of Defense. The web is the resource-base of the Internet where information is stored and retrieved. The Internet, therefore, is a form of library, as it aims at storing and organizing information for easy location and retrieval with accessing facilities such as the search engines.

A search engine is defined by Microsoft Encarta Dictionary (2008) as a computer program that searches for specific words and returns a list of documents in which they were found, especially a commercial Internet service. According to Williams and Sawyer (2007) a search engine is defined as a search tool that allows one to find specific documents through keyword searches and menu choices, in contrast to directories, which are list of websites classified by topic. A keyword is the subject word or words that refer to the topic one wishes to find. Aina (2004) viewed keyword as a combination of few words or phrase that represent what the information seeker is looking for, giving enough information about each document that will enable a user to retrieve the desired document when needed.

Furthermore, Williams and Sawyer (2007) categorized Search engines into three, namely:

* Keyword Indexes: A keyword index allows the Internet user to search for information by typing one or more keywords, and the search engine then displays a list of web pages that contain those keywords (Williams and Sawyer, 2007). Examples of keyword indexes search engines include Google, Yahoo Search, Microsoft Network (MSN) Search, etc.

* Meta Search Engines: A Meta Search engine allows a user to search several search engines simultaneously. Examples are Dogpile, Ixquick, Metacrawler, Profusion, Vivisimo, Clusty, etc. Meta search engines search other search engines in order to provide information.

* Specialized Search Engines: These are search engines that help locate specialized subject matter, such as materials about movies, health and jobs. These overlap with the specialized portals. They include Yahoo Job search, Expedia (for travel and tourism), webMD (for health), Motley fool (personal investments), career (job), etc (Williams and Sawyer, 2007).

All categories of search engines make use of keywords in retrieving relevant information. A search engine is what allows web searchers to peruse and select the relevant document that they seek through keyword search. Three major functions of a search engine were identified by Aina (2004) to include:

1. To find a particular document or information resource on the web;

2. To bring together the entries of all related information resources on the web; and

3. To allow a user to choose from among many entries in the search engine.

Google and Yahoo search engines, which are the focus of this study, are typical examples of keyword search engines. …

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