My Favourite Search Strings

My Favourite Search Strings

“are engineers to rigid to be good managers”
The only concession this user made was to remove the question mark. A classic undeconstructed question typed into Google. I love these kinds of search strings because they underscore exactly why the world needs librarians. People don’t think about the process of searching for information; they know what they need and they know who probably has a record of the answer, somewhere. How to get from point A to point B is clearly a mystery.

“how to stimulate motive in learning language”
Another question typed straight in. This is not the kind of search that Google is particularly good at yet. This user needs to use a proprietary database storing social science data, and should probably be getting a hand from their local academic librarian. I say this because of the term “stimulate motive”. Doesn’t that sound like they’re looking for an academic text? Anyone else would have said something like “how to make kids want to learn languages”. So here we have specialist language going into a popular keyword database. I don’t know that I want to know what kinds of results you get when you type the word ‘stimulate’ into Google. Google is like a 13 year old boy that way, it giggles at all the words that might possibly be dirty.

“the version of childhood disneyworld constructs”
Interesting, eh? So the question this search is answering is what do you need information on? A search like this might be more useful than it appears to have been, since I’ve never written on this subject but this user was directed at me. Typing this phrase, in quotations, into Google would at least let you know if the phrase has been used by anyone who’s been archived. If someone used it, that would probably be useful to you. But if the user is actually looking to examine what version of childhood Disneyworld is constructing, the probably need to look at some primary sources. Look at the literature around Disneyworld, and the corporate information that comes with it. Note the use of “the” and “of”; technologies like Google have removed the necessity of distilling a query down to key terms. I think this kind of query is a good lesson for librarians. Using the technologies we have, we can allow users to type in this kind of query and give them what they’re looking for. If we automatically wildcarded words like “constructs” to “construction, construct, constructing”, dropped “the” and “of”, and added “childhood” and “Disneyworld”, that search would probably be extremely productive. If we can get the technology to do the grunt work of parsing down these kinds of queries into legitimate keyword searches, we would really be providing a good search engine.

“the way things work and search strings”
I enjoy the Boolean attempt here. Also, here is someone else looking at search strings. Compadre!

“heart of a just society” site
The likelihood of Google turning up something that’s not a website is increasingly likely, it’s true. But I still enjoy the addition of the word “site” here. This user is interested in a particular form or genre, not just in the topic.

“My View on Beauty and Ugliness”
A paper by A. Lazy Student (please give me an great mark). I particularly enjoyed the capitalization.

My space bar is broken! I think this is an interesting search, since it’s probably the most fruitless on the internet. Spaces matter, friends! I’m actually sort of curious about whether or not someone thought this was the right way to conduct a search.

“assassin coursework personal and imaginative writing”
The fact that there might be assassin coursework that involves creative writing made this a search string to remember.

“essay on diary writing”
This fits into the what are you looking for today genre of Google string. Actually, this might be a bit of a theme on these recent search strings; form coming into the query. We don’t just want some article or ideas about diary writing, we want an essay on diary writing. Entirely dependent on the word “essay” coming to the document itself, which strikes me as unlikely. I sometimes use the name of a form for finding something, as a way to narrow a search: for instance, “instructional technology” and “blog”. Blogs often have the world blog on them somewhere, so that generally gets me what I’m looking for. But I think this search is a little less thought out than that. I’d like an essay on diary writing, please.

“giants stand on my shoulders”
Now this is a humble person.

“Michael Gunn a 21 year old English student”
This is interesting. This is someone looking for a very specific news story, and what an interesting way to do it. They’re looking for this story about a UK university student who was stripped of his degree for his rampant plagiarism throughout his academic career. Michael Gunn, a 21-year-old English student, told the Times Higher: “I hold my hands up. I did plagiarise. I never dreamt it was a problem.” What a great way to find the story, no? Type in a line that comes from it, and see how many times it comes up. Genius, really. I quoted the story, that’s how it got to me.

“catsuits quebec
Anyone interested in catsuits in Quebec has got my attention, that’s all I’m saying.

“at the NIH meeting funny hilarious exciting humourous joke taunt tantrum”
Interesting how people come to understand the idea of thesauri in searching, isn’t it?

This is like interpretive dancing; I prefer to present my research through crocheting. Captials courtesy of the original search string.

“pedogogue explain”
Two words. Now, we accept that we need to seek out good search terms when doing keyword searches; is that what happened here? Did someone simply request that Google explain the term “pedagogue”? Or are they searching for something on the web that contains, let’s say, the sentence “Let me explain to you what a pedagogue is”? Not enough words to make a judgment, really.

“how does google organize information”
Another classic What do you want to know answer. Interesting how that happens, isn’t it? Missing the question mark, but otherwise, a straight up reference question, the same way you would ask a real live in the flesh person.

“is keeping a diary a good idea”
A question that has a yes or no answer, even! These are the kinds of questions people won’t ask a librarian. Inching into the personal, the ethical, the kind of knowledge we’re supposed to gain just by growing up in the world. Is it a good idea? I’m not sure I answered this question. How would you answer it?

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