Archive for December, 2015

December 1, 2015

Fun with the Internet, Library Style

I’ve been exploring some of the tools Phil Bradley shared in his “What Phil Has Found” presentation from Internet Librarian 2015. I thought I’d share a few thoughts about some of these tools.

Some of these I already knew about (DuckDuckGo, Paper.li), some I have no need for, and some were apps or Chrome extensions and I’m on the reference computer. But a few of them really stood out to me, either for their incredible usefulness, or because they missed the mark.

First, on the subject of meta-search. I think there is something wrong with me, or un-librarian of me, that I don’t really like meta-search engines. Generally speaking, most of the search engines are going to give me pretty much the same results unless I’m really using a lot of complex search strategizing. And the way most meta-search engines present results tends to be either one-at-a-time click-on-each-logo or a blanket here-are-the-top-five-results-from-each (and they are all the same). So I’m maybe not the best person to judge this category, but I was generally unimpressed with these. If someone wants to explain to me why meta-search engines are a wonderful thing, go for it, I’m willing to listen.

Second, y’all, can we talk about Charactour.com? First impression – OMG, this is super-fun! Second impression – where are all the book characters? Seriously, they need some librarians on their team, or maybe a spinoff website for readers. But yeah, this was fun. Apparently, I’m the Wesley of my friends. I can live with that.

Third, and I’m sure plenty of librarians will disagree with me here, but I LOVE RefMe.com! I think everyone should use it. But then, I also think that learning how to cite is far, far less important to college students than understanding when and why to cite. I will definitely be recommending this to students.

Finally, I have to say a word about Hshtags. I was so excited when I saw this on the list. And then I tried it. Sigh. Hashtags make me feel like the dorky kid hovering around the cool kids, but not quite fitting in. I don’t have a hashtag I need to track. I want to know what hashtags are out there already being used. Someone give me a search engine that lets me search a topic or phrase and find out what hashtags are already out there for it and which one is preferred. Where I can search for “library jobs” and find #alattjob (and the dozens of other library job related hashtags), and see which ones are being used the most. Why doesn’t this exist yet? Or does it exist and I just don’t know about it? Anyone? Please?