Back in the day, there was no internet, and researchers had to search for papers by actually searching. In a library, with old copies of journals. Sometimes they wrote to authors, and the authors mailed them physical copies of their papers. (When you publish a paper, journals still offer you the option to order hundreds of these physical copies, called “offprints.”) I know, right? Ridiculous.
Now we can just search online. Instead of sifting through piles and piles of journals, I search, download, and in mere seconds can have the paper I wanted saved on my computer under some totally non-obscure name like “fledgling_conflict+habitat_yellowwarbler” that I will definitely not forget the meaning of in a week.
Yet despite this incredible technological progress, there are still some perils to searching the literature: