09 November 2005

what help "the help" can offer

I am still on a few mailing lists left over from my time as a graduate student at the University of Iowa. The other day, someone wrote to one about her experience taking a class on Extreme Web Searching at the UI Library, and she kindly gave me permission to reprint her remarks on the experience.
I signed up for this nerdy class at the library to learn about search engines beyond everyone's fav, Google, and to my surprise, the class was fascinating. There are a whole slew of search engines apart from Mister Google, and they're doing remarkable things. (They also have bizarre names like Clusty, Teoma, and Dogpile.) Since many of y'all research when you're not writing, and since others may enjoy a nice vanity-search, I thought I'd pass on the links. This page should be live for a while.

http://myweb.uiowa.edu/sostrem/xtreme.html

If nothing else, give KARTOO a whirl. I put in the name of the person I'm interviewing [for a conference] and thought I was bugging out when my results "map" appeared. http://www.kartoo.com/
One might, I suppose, take this as evidence of librarians having done a poor job of marketing themselves as purveyors of useful and cool knowledge (i.e., a graduate student is surprised by what she can learn at the library?), but I am chosing to see it in a much more positive light. You see (and I'm admitting this here for the first time, at least in print), until I actually started library school, I was one of those people who thought the library had nothing to teach me. The more fool I. I'm glad to see that not everyone is as ignorant as I was, or as unwilling to take a chance on the idea that they might learn something from "the help."

Comments:
You've got nothing to apologize for, L. I mean, you could easily define (*ahem*--non-MFA) graduate school as two consecutive and simultaneous processes: 1) learning how to use the resources you have available, and 2) learning to want to use the resources you have available. (I pooped-out as I was getting into #2.)
 
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