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?

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