Pew Internet Report: Search Engines Gain Ground

Search Help.According to the recently released Pew Internet report on online activities:

On an average day, about 94 million American adults use the internet; 77% will use email, 63% will use a search engine.

Among all the online activities tracked, including chatting and IMing, reading blogs or news, banking, and buying, not one of them includes searching a library OPAC.

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10 thoughts on “Pew Internet Report: Search Engines Gain Ground

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  2. “Among all the online activities tracked, including chatting and IMing, reading blogs or news, banking, and buying, not one of them includes searching a library OPAC.”

    But do you have any evidence that “searching a library OPAC” is in the explicit list of activities used in the questionnaire?

    The report that’s downloadable does show that people aren’t being asked an open-ended “what did you do on the Internet today?” question. They’re being asked to respond to a list. If “searching a library OPAC” isn’t on the list, it is absolutely guaranteed not to be in the results.

  3. As wait noted, the Pew tracking survey asks only two questions, if participants use the internet to “send or read e-mail” and if they “use an online search engine to help (them) find information on the Web.”

    According to their web page, comScore Media Metrix qSearch data (included in the Pew report) seems to currenlty only report data based on the top search sites(http://www.comscore.com/metrix/search.asp). The comScore web page, Online Search Solutions including qSearchTM states:
    “Online Search Solutions measure twenty of the top search sites, including aol.com, google.com, yahoo.com and many others in order to report key measures for the U.S. Internet population. Worldwide, U.S. work, U.S. home and U.S. university breakouts are also available and our capabilities are rapidly expanding to cover major countries around the world.”

    A Memo that may be of interest to those who haven’t seen it is “Use of the Internet in places other than home or work: A PIP Data Memo” (http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Other_Places.pdf) from March 2004.

    This Memo discusses where people are accessing the Internet. Of the 23% of people who have accessed the internet from a place other than their home or work, 26% accessed the Internet at the library. This Memo delineates stats on library internet use by various groupings(e.g., students, income level, gender).

    It is frustrating yet not shocking that access sites are not mentioned in the current report. It would be interesting to know if there are differences in what types of information are being saught at home vs. office vs. library vs….. Also, to know how many people are looking to library websites and catalogs to meet their information needs.

    Perhaps libraries or library associations should take more advantage of services like comScore to research searching in library websites and catalogs.

    Internal web and catalog tracking are other tools we should consider.

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