Evaluating search engines. A comparative study between international and Greek SE by Greek librarians
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Purpose - The use of search engines is the most widely acceptable way for information foraging on the net. Their wide use as an information retrieval tool has created the need for their evaluation as a means of improving their performance. This research attempts to record Greek librarians' views on search engines: their performance and characteristics. Design/methodology/approach - A total of 16 librarians were asked to search for a specific topic using eight search engines; four international (google.com, altavista.com, yahoo.com, exalead.com) and four Greek (google.gr (searching only for Greek text), in.gr, robby.gr, find.gr). Eight questionnaires were completed by each participant; one for every search engine. A total of 128 initial searches were performed by the librarians, followed by 86 further searches with changed search terms. The librarians recorded their experiences in retrieving information and evaluated the first 20 results according to the criteria of precision, relevancy of the retrieved records and the way the results were displayed by each search tool. Findings - Analysis of the results leads to conclusions about librarians' familiarity with search engines and their views on the retrieved information. The results indicated that participants were satisfied by the presentation, the visualization, the quality and value of results and they were very satisfied with the search engines' interfaces. Thus, most retrieved items were relevant and so the degree of precision was satisfactory. Users preferred mainly international search engines rather than Greek search engines. It was evident that most librarians were very satisfied with the performance of the search engines and felt that their queries had been answered successfully. Originality/value - The paper presents one of the few studies regarding international and Greek search engines and their use by librarians. The study gathered data with regard to the views of Greek librarians on the use of search engines and their characteristics. In addition, it recorded the attitude of librarians to both the search process and subsequent information retrieval, using Greek and international search engines. It compared different search engines and studied parameters like quality, precision, presentation and value of the search results. This research could form the basis of further study of librarians' behavior in the use of search engines for satisfying their information needs and comparison of information retrieval systems.
- Περιοδικά, εφημερίδες