Can’t I just use Google?

When promoting the regional resource catalogue to colleagues around the region, we tend to find that most tell us they’re using a search engine like Google, Live or Yahoo! to try to source data and information.

However, they also tell us that these Internet search engines do not always locate the information that they need or they present a lot of irrelevant material that the user has to trawl through before locating the desired information.

The regional resource catalogue, available here on, was set up specifically to provide easy access to data and information that is directly relevant to the West Midlands region. We aim to link our users through the catalogue with the data and information about the West Midlands and its sub-​regions that they need to inform their work and inform decision-​making across the Heart of England.

We currently provide access to more than 2,500 reports, datasets, websites, strategies and other useful resources, and the content is constantly being reviewed, updated and added to.

Like a search engine, the service is provided free of charge and accessible without restrictions. Like a search engine, most of the results are instantly available via a web link quickly connecting you with the information you need.

Unlike a search engine, the content is moderated and focuses on providing our users with a specific types of material with a regional focus or influence. Features in the catalogue allow you to browse around a subject or limit your search results to include specific types of material or specific years of publication for example.

And don’t forget that you can contribute to the growth of the catalogue by submitting both your own data and research material and material that you yourself have found useful which might help others across the region.

So if you were wondering, “Can’t I just use Google to find the information I’m looking for?”, I would say that the answer is “Maybe”. But using the regional resource catalogue might help you get that information quicker and help you identify other sources that might also be useful in your work.

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