In the future it will be even more difficult to distinguish between library databases and search engines. Even now, there is some crossover as library databases index Web-based journals and search engines include select library resources. While it is not yet possible to search both the library and the Web simultaneously, you can use metasearch engines such as Dogpile or Metacrawler to search many different search engines at the same time. These are helpful if you want to see a larger sample of information available on the Web or you are looking for a unique fact.
Soon you may not even need to search for information. Intelligent agents will do much of the work. They will filter all available information and retrieve only the data that you need. The information they find will become increasingly tailored to your interests as they evolve to match what is important to you.
For now though, without intelligent filtering software, we must wade through all available information to find those articles and Web sites that will be useful for our research. To do this successfully, we must be able to identify appropriate databases and search engines, understand how they are organized and search them effectively.