Today computers provide us with powerful tools for information handling for collection, organization, classification, retrieval and distribution. Computers have been used since the late 1960s for the storage of large databases such as library calalogues and bibliographic references. In this paper, the author is going to discuss the saying that “The internet has created new winners and buries the laggards” and the saying will be discussed in relation to information storage and retrieval.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
According to the Wikipedia the word internet is defined as a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard internet protocol suit (TCP/IP) to link several billion devices worldwide. It is an international networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business and government packet switched networks, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. On the other hand online information retrieval from databases is defined by Fjallbrant N of Chalmers University of Technology as “the acquisition of information from a distant computer via a terminal or PC, involving an interactive dialogue between enquirer and computer.” Chowdhury (1999:2) adds on and say “An information retrieval system is designed to retrieve the documents or information required by the user community…Thus, an information retrieval system aims at collecting and organizing information in one or more subject areas in order to provide it to the user as soon as asked for.”
According to Chan R.(2006-2009) there are a host of advantages of using the internet over using the manual systems in information centers. The advantages include the following; the internet has greatly raised the accuracy and efficiency of work, and saved much money and manpower. This multi-medium assists us in our work in so many ways. It can centralize updated data and backup data and backup documents without copying by hand. We can check available balance, make transfer payment, pay bills and buy insurance or stock through the internet. It makes our life so much easier. Those who choose not to use the internet continue to incur huge labour, records storage and retrieval costs.
Chan R(2006-2009) also says the internet represents an opportunity for students to explore the incredible wealth of information which enhances learning. The low cost and nearly instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills have made collaborative and professionally do researches, prepare projects, and do other work. This really can enable us to acquire knowledge and equip ourselves.
The internet provides us with new chances to widen communication and deepen relationships. We can stay in touch with family and friends across the globe via chat-rooms and messaging tools such as MSN and facebook, a very popular site which allows people to share photos with others. Moreover, you can meet friends worldwide and exchange different cultures.
Bysouth (1987:19) says online searching retrieves a greater number of citations which helps to account for the generally higher recall ratios which gives more probability that a greater proportion of the total relevant citation in the database have also been retrieved. The case is not so with manual information retrieval where one item can be retrieved at a time.
Another fundamental reason for the higher recall ratios achieved for online searches according to Bysouth (1987:20) is the availability of additional access points in this type of search. In most on-line retrieval systems, the searcher may conveniently access free-text as well as controlled vocabulary terms, the contribution of free-text as well free text access points such as title and abstract to improve recall performance has been well documented. The above advantage validates the view that the internet has created new winners and buries the laggards. The winners are those who adopts the internet in their information storage and retrieval systems while the laggards are those who still trailing behind with their traditional manual information storage and retrieval methods.
Belkin (2004) talks of the benefits of using the Boolean connectives in information retrieval. He says it is easier to use it in machine searching than in manual searching, especially when concepts are coordinated simultaneously. Search topics with “AND” or “OR” often yields high precision. It appears that the chief advantage of using Boolean connectives is the capability to influence the type of retrieval performance one can obtain.
Ohta (1967:405-415) assets online searching have the ability to satisfy both broad and narrow queries. Ohta (1967) says machine searches “retrieved far more relevant citations when the subjects were broad, and therefore was definitely better in such cases than the manual searches.”
Bysouth(1987) says time and cost advantages now enjoyed by on-line system users are likely to grow in the future. A number of technological advances are contributing to the efficiency and economy of computer retrieval. The continued development of highly sophisticated national and international data communications networks will further reduce the costs of communication while increasing local availability. The use of communication lead to lower costs, higher speed data transfer, and enhanced access to information systems.
In short the following are some of the advantages of the internet and online information retrieval systems: You save time. Information stored in a database is more current than in corresponding printed publications. You can search for information in several subject areas during the same search, for example information on environmental pollution can be searched for in databases covering biology, engineering and chemistry. You can also carry out a more detailed search with the help of the computer than by manual methods.
The author has pointed out some of the benefits of the internet and using the online information retrieval methods which includes centralization of search items in databases, efficiency, reduction in manpower and storage costs, high chances of precise results in any search, multiplicity of search recalls which may give a high degree of results relevancy. Therefore the notion that the internet has created new winners and buries the laggards has been vindicated. Individuals and institutions which are resisting or are slow to embrace the internet and use information storage and retrieval systems will be left behind by modernization and globalization brought by the internet and online storage and retrieval systems.
Bysouth P,1987,The Economics of Online,Taylor Graham,United Kingdom
Ohta M,." A Comparison of Some Demand Subject Searches: Machine versus Human", Medical Library Association Bullettin 55: 405-415,1967
Chowdury G, 1999, Introduction to modern Information Retrieval,,Library Association Publishing, London
Kimberly R,1994,Text Retrieval in Context, Taylor Graham Publishers,USA
Dorrington L,1987,Online Information Retrieval in Practice,Taylor Graham Publishers, USA
Etiwel Mutero works for the National University of Science and Technology,he holds a National Certificate in Records and Information Science from Kwekwe Polytechnic and a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Records and Archives Management from the Zimbabwe Open University.You can contact him on 0773614293 or email@example.com