The first search options were to look things up in print indexes, like Readers Guide..
In print, if you wanted to learn about child abuse in military families, you would look up child abuse and hope it might include some mention of military families or you would look up military and hope it included something about child abuse
The next stage was the ability to combine keywords in these few paid databases such as BRS or DIALOG.
If I wanted something on child abuse in military families, I would use Child Abuse AND Military Families. If I wanted something either child abuse or military families, I would type in “Child Abuse” OR “Military Families” and could retrieve results for either search term.
This search capability was limited to a few academic or public libraries.
The arrival of CDs in the 1990s expanded the number of people who could access the CDs, even if they did not have Internet access.
The Internet and later the World Wide Web made searching accessible to almost anyone wanting to research things online. It still is not all of online or free.
However searching has improved with the addition of AI and algorithms. When I saw a green fruit I did not recognized scattered in the grass of our churchyard, I typed in the question ” What is a green fruit that grows on trees?” into the Google Search box.
This was my result: (Note, it also corrected my spelling.)
Osage Orange is also known as Hedge Apple. It’s not considered edible.