Web Search Pacific Presenters

Elizabeth Swan

For me, it all started way back in the 70’s in Europe!

When I discovered how fascinating searching is while working as a librarian at CSIRO Animal Health in Melbourne. I couldn’t wait to use computers to make it even more interesting and in 1971, I landed a fabulous job in Amsterdam working closely with one of the world’s leaders in the field, Dr. Pierre Vinken at Excerpta Medica, an Elsevier subsidiary. It was at 364 Herengracht, a beautiful canal house in old Amsterdam (http://tinyurl.com/be4f4kf), one freezing 1971 morning with the snow falling outside, when I saw my first online demonstration! It was at Excerpta Medica where I was fortunate to learn a huge amount about online databases and where my online searching journey that continues today started!

It was a hectic ride for the next 30 years

Back in Australia, it was exciting at ACI Ltd where we in ACI Library Service were creating several in-house databases. Then in 1976 we extended our research reach by becoming the second organisation (after CSR) in Australasia to use the Dialog and Orbit databases in the US using normal telephones and modems. Reuters Textline from the UK and other services followed and our own internal databases went online as private databases after ACI Computer Services launched Ausinet. By 1989 I was managing my own business Information Edge Pty Ltd, initially as a joint venture with the State Library of NSW. Having acquired one of the databases from ACI and rebadged it EDGE, the business was an extension of the services provided at ACI – but now on a commercial basis to both ACI and other external clients.

Web Search Pacific …

… was the result of a coffee break discussion at Information Online in 2003, when Mary Ellen Bates, Chris Sherman and I decided there was a need to bring high quality training to searchers throughout Australia and New Zealand. Since then we have held POWER SEARCHING workshops in major cities in Australia and New Zealand many times and in 2012, I decided to change the company name to Web Search Pacific Pty Ltd.

The fascination remains

I still enjoy searching for reliable information whether it is from the WWW, the Social Web or the fee based services such as Dialog, Factiva, Lexis Nexis, Proquest, Informit or other services. And I love helping colleagues to learn how to search successfully! Putting a few words in a Google box without thinking about the target is rarely good enough!

Have I made a difference?

I hope I have encouraged lots of people to find searching online as exciting and interesting as I do. I believe I have helped lots of clients solve their problems with the information found. And through my involvement with Information Online in Australia from the mid 1980′s to 2005, I hope I have helped the fee based services to promote their amazing services successfully. But there are still lots of people who would benefit enormously by learning more about how to search skillfully online.

So what is in store for 2013 and beyond?

It is several years since we were in NZ so I am looking forward to meeting a lot of NZ searchers at our upcoming workshops there and to welcoming Greg Notess to our team for that series. We are also planning an interesting series of Ater5 events this year in Australia and perhaps some more workshops in Australia later in the year also.

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Web Search Pacific Pty Ltd is a registered company (ABN 13 003 256 380).