Searching where for what: A comparison of use of the library catalogue, Google and Wikipedia

Vivienne Waller


There is a widespread concern amongst librarians that Google Search and Wikipedia are making library reference services and even library collections redundant. There is however, little research on the types of subjects that people look up on Google, Wikipedia and library catalogues. This exploratory analysis draws together the results of transaction log analyses of the subjects of Google and library catalogue search queries and the subject of search engine queries that took users to Wikipedia. As well as comparing the subject of search queries, it estimates the extent of use of each information resource. Hence this paper contributes to research on current information-seeking and the role of public libraries in online information provision.


information search, electronic resources, Google, Wikipedia

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ISSN 1756-1086 (Online)