Google, Galileo and Cougars, Oh My!

Mrs. Powell, I thought a cougar was an animal!

When the information hit the GLMA blog that Supt. Barge suggested that Galileo was ‘nice but not necessary’, and did not include funding for Galileo in his budget presentation, my first thought was about what most elementary students cut their research teeth on: animals! So I did a search for cougar in Google and in my results list there was not an animal is sight… at least not the 4-legged ones our 2nd graders are looking for!

This is my letter to Supt. Barge and to my representatives. My example was a direct copy and paste – no editing to illustrate my point. I suspect others may have examples to share also.

“Dear Superintendent Barge,

I received information that in your budget presentation to committees Galileo was not funded. Please, as an elementary school library media specialist let me beg you to reconsider!

 Again and again – as you know – education and educators bear the brunt of budget cuts. Galileo is a tool that provides our entire state with authoritative databases! Do we really and truly want all of our students and citizens to rely on Google or Bing as their authoritative on line tools? They are commercial search engines! The value of Galileo is beyond dollars; losing it is giving carte blanche to all students and citizens to become informed people based on which commercial group pays the most to become first in the search results list!

 In elementary schools animal research is a very common beginning search lesson. I just typed ‘cougar’ into Google and here are my unedited results:

Cougars on the Prowl 

Older Women Seek Young Studs Message & View Profiles Free!

mycougarfling.com

Cougars For Younger Men 

It’s Easy, Join Now for Free and Meet A Cougar in Your Area Tonight.

http://www.cougars.net

Cougar Life 

Where Sophisticated Cougars Meet Younger Men. As seen on ABC & NBC

cougarlife.com

Search Results

Urban Dictionary: cougar 

 7 posts – 7 authors – Last post: Feb 17, 2010

An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered …

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cougar – Cached – Similar

Get more discussion results

Cougar – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

 The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the family …

Cougar (disambiguation) – North American Cougar

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar – Cached – Similar

Age disparity in sexual relationships – Wikipedia, the free … 

 ”New Study Claims No Cougar Trend, Dating Websites Attempt To Show …

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_disparity_in_sexual_relationships – Cached – Similar

This is real life in our schools! Is this really where we want to take our elementary students? REALLY?

Without access to authoritative databases this is exactly what will happen. And who knows what will be next in pop culture? While searching for ‘bear’ it’s one thing to guide children between information for bears the mammal and bears the football team, but do I really want to guide them through bear is a common word in gay culture? That is the 2nd hit I get in Google in my search of bears.

Please, please, reconsider this recommendation. Google and Bing are great commercial search engines but they are not expert sources for academic use. As the highest elected proponent of solid education in our state please recognize these valuable tools in education… for the WHOLE STATE!”

Martha Powell

Library Media Specialist, Roswell North Elementary School

This entry was posted in Uncategorized

Posted on January 30, 2011, in GALILEO, legislation, Research and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It’s amazing that a simple search for a common animal can give such varied results – it proves how much internet searching needs to become part of the curriculum! Kids know “one stop searching” but when results don’t yield what they want in the top 10 results, they are baffled about what to do next….

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