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This was a short story which included a competition, in which the participants had to use an online database to find the answer to a complex question. It was something like "What was the stock price on the day when the temperature reached its highest in the city where..."

It was definitely pre-Google and I read it in the eighties, though the story (I think) may well have been older.

The story was set on Earth but at the time I read it, the idea of a searchable World Wide repository of all knowledge was Science Fiction.

I was interested to read it again because that concept is now a reality.

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    What part of it was sci-fi/fantasy? Granted, database queries might look like dark magic sometimes, but even in the 80s they weren't that taken aback by them... :) – Jenayah Aug 9 '18 at 9:26
  • As Jenayah says, is there anything science fictional or fantastical about this story? If you haven't already, can I suggest you take a look at this guide and see if you can edit in any more details – Edlothiad Aug 9 '18 at 9:28
  • @jenayah - I'm sure it was set 'in the future' but with regard to SF elements, there must be more to it than I can remember, otherwise it wouldn't have been very entertaining! I will think some more... – Peter Hull Aug 9 '18 at 11:01
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    I'm voting to reopen with regards to the latest edit by OP and this meta post. Granted, given the fact that the story may be from the 70s-80s, we could argue for hours if a technology which was due to happen during the next decade is indeed SF (as opposed to a 40s story for instance); however, the question linked in Meta is still open, albeit with a negative score. I reckon the overall writing of the story at stake here might be SFFnal. – Jenayah Aug 9 '18 at 17:01
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    I believe I have read this story, and it would definitely qualify as sci-fi. Essentially the scfi-fi bit is that there is a brain computer interface to the database, and the political candidates are eerily "spaced out" since they are trying to manage their public persona as well as retrieve and assimilate info in real time while holding a debate. – Nate White Aug 9 '18 at 17:06

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