Want to find something? Ask a librarian.

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Most search engines rely on constantly crawling the web for the purpose of mining keywords, titles, phrases and links. The search engine then indexes the data it collects so that when you search for a topic, it can algorithmically spit back information based on what you typed in the query. As the information on the web increases, weeding through results that weren’t relevant to what you were looking for will occur more and more. The process of asking a question and expecting an answer is fast becoming an inefficient way to find answers, according to a recent technology review post published by MIT. The article suggests a process that is more akin to how you would interact with a librarian. For example, let’s say you asked a librarian to help you find information on Florence. She may ask you to further specify; Florence art, culture, history, Travel? Thus a more efficient way to search online would involve asking a question, then being asked another question for the purpose of specifying what you are looking for, then getting a more targeted answer. To experience this type of search, one has to go no further than a visit to WolframAlpha.com.

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