Not that? Tell more! Revamping Boolean Operators

February 1, 2011

One of the most important and decisive moments of a traditional reference interview is when a person says “I don’t want that.” This means two things: (1) they know what they don’t want and (2) they are engaged in the search with you. By knowing what a person doesn’t want, she is closer to knowing what she actually does want.

So, how can tools and services on the internet focus more on facilitating and instructing people in their online searches? They have to do just that. Tools and services must use interfaces people are already comfortable with and then facilitate their searches. Less emphasis should be put on the reference interview and more emphasis should be put on the opportunities a person has to find the information for herself. It’s a mind game. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Explanation

October 21, 2009

For the first three weeks of class, faculty and staff of the iSchool have been telling us this: “When you go home at Christmas, your family will ask you what you’re studying. You will have a hard time explaining what you are exactly studying… Trust us. They won’t get it.”

Today, I met up with my cousin and her family. They came to visit Seattle. As we wandered downtown, she asked me, “So, what are your classes like?”

Flashback to the past three weeks of class…

Uhh… books? information? e-books? researching? information exchanging? catalogs?
Trust me. It is a legitimate graduate school program.

The iSchool is right. How are we supposed to describe what we’re studying? I don’t even remember the names of my classes. Along with the notion that what we are studying is a mystery to everyone not in the classes, a professor mentioned that we shouldn’t expect to understand everything right away. She said – take notes, reread the notes, and some day it will all click. Trust me.

So I’ve come to the wavering conclusion that although I’m (kind of) sure this program is a good fit for me, I probably won’t know if it is until something clicks.

In other news – I found a WONDERFUL spot to study during my lunch break. There is a point between two libraries where the libraries join and form a covered walkway (sidewalk). In the covered part of that connection, there are cubicles with power sources! It is a fantastic place to get work done and people watch.

The Explanation: Please don’t ask me what I’m studying when you see me at Christmas. I’m sure that if I know, I’ll have plenty to tell you.


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