I happened across a guide to study and writing research papers that I had as an undergraduate. Looking back over it, I noticed there is a step in the research process that is missing from search engines. Perhaps by design, perhaps not.
After choosing a topic, you did research, then in a variety of print resources to gather material for the paper. As you gathered it, you wrote down each piece of information on a note card along with the full bibliographic information for the source.
When you were writing a paper, you did not consult the original sources but rather your sub-set of those sources that were on your note cards.
In group research projects, we exchanged note cards so that everyone had access to the same sub-set of materials that we had found.
Bibliographic software mimics the note card based process but my question is why is that capacity missing from search interfaces?
That seems to be a missing step. I don’t know if it is missing by design, i.e., it is cheaper to let everyone look for the same information over and over, or if it is missing in anticipation of bibliographic software filling the gap.
Search interfaces need to offer ways for us to preserve and share our research results with others.
Topic maps would be a good way to offer that sort of capability.