Clarification of Answer by
14 Mar 2003 10:33 PST
Sorry, clicked in the wrong place.
An interesting question, in part because Google Answers is not a
personal search engine: it is a group of human researchers (more than
500) who will seek out information for those asking the questions.
There are many organizations offering a service similar to Google
Answers, one or more humans answering questions. Google Answers is
probably the largest of its kind, and many services offer specialised
services, answering questions in specific subject areas, business,
technology, science and so on; sometimes answering questions for
specific groups of people, and especially for school children. Many
of these services, Google Answers included, do not directly answer the
question. Instead the responder will point the questioner in the
right direction and leave it for the questioner to extract the
information needed to meet his/ her exact requirements. This is
especially so when it is suspected that the questioner simply wants an
answer s/he can paste into a homewor assignment. Sometimes these
questions are very ovious, sometimes they aren't.
Then again, there are services by which questioners can ask their
questions in real time, chat with a real librarian who can as the
questions which will lead to the information required - real-time chat
in place of those Requests for Clarification that we use here in
Google Answers. You will find a sample of Online Reference Services at
the Library of Congress at <http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/> and many
libraries, especially larger public and academiclibraries, offer
similar services. Too many to count?
Apart from real-time services, there are many more like Google
Answers, where you post your question and wait for it to be answered.
You will find examples at the Virtual Reference Desk, which links to
some 95 services <http://www.vrd.org/locator/alphalist.shtml> in a
wealth of subject areas. You will find a subject listing at
Yahooligan's lists some 5 categories and 772 Ask A xxx sites, though
there may be some repetition and some may be mechanized/ automated
(keyword ASK in Yahooligans:
There are probably too many human/ personal services to be counted -
and this answer covers only English language sites...
Hope there is enough to answer your question! read2live.