Friday, October 11, 2013

Indiscriminate sharing

I was surprised and disappointed yesterday when I saw a pretty poster listing shortcuts for Google Search go viral on Google+ and then spread to other social media and blogs.

What I found disturbing was that a number of genealogists and educators shared this outdated resource without, I suspect, proper evaluation or looking at the reference cited on it , .  If they had checked this source they would have found that it took one to a webpage that had no resemblance to the poster that had been shared. Of course, the unknown author may have been indicating that he used the Google tips and tricks page as a resource to write his poster but I could find no mention of the ~ tilde search on the page.

The poster is attractive and set out various Google shortcuts in a concise and easy to follow way. As soon as I looked at it I noticed a glaring error, the poster told one how to use the ~ tilde  (synonym) search that was one of my favourite Google search tools before it was pulled by Google earlier this year,

I made a couple of comments on Google plus+ posts about this inaccurate resource but obviously no one took any notice of this cranky old bird.

Particularly disturbing is that when doing their genealogy research genealogists talk about checking the veracity of information before they publish it by checking all references that have been cited and by checking on an author's credentials. Now this resource has been freely shared even though the person originally responsible for the work has not been cited, the date of original publication has not been given and the reference cited on the poster does not lead to the information found in the poster.

I ask you, genealogists, are you guilty of double standards? Before you post links and resources in various social media channels do you apply the same rigid standards that you do to the information in your family histories?

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