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Google Really Does Know Everything

In the midst of rather frantically pulling together a class Thursday night, one of our community regulars (i.e. not affiliated with the college, but here all the time anyway) popped in and asked if I had a minute. I didn’t. Not really. Not only is this guy has very involved question and often works with us for hours at a time, but he’d decided to come to my office rather than talk to the librarian who was actually at the reference desk.

So it was with a great effort of mind and will that I put on a smile and said, “Sure, but only a minute because I’m running off in just a bit. What can I do for you?”

Meanwhile I was thinking, “Don’t sit down, please don’t sit down. The last time you sat down you didn’t get up for over an hour, you questioned why I would look for an educational theory in an educational database when you didn’t want to apply it to an educational setting, and you used the now-famous phrase ‘I’m talking but you’re not listening.’ Please don’t sit down.”

And he didn’t sit down. He just handed over a yellowing clump of papers, clearly ripped from a journal many moons ago. He explained that he’s had this article for a long time, that it’s missing some pages, and that he doesn’t have any citation information so he can’t find a copy of it. Not only that, but the title of the article was pretty generic, so guessing at a discipline or database would have been kind of tricky unless I’d read part of the article.

Switching into non-teaching, hand-him-a-fish rather than teach-him-to-fish mode, I typed the entire title into google (in quotes of course), and the second result was a JSTOR link. Since I was on campus, the link worked beautifully. Less than 5 seconds after receiving the original article into my hands, I was dashing off to the printer to retrieve the full article. Thank you Google! Thank you JSTOR!!!

I felt like an info goddess. He was mightily impressed. And he left without sitting down. So we were all happy. The only problem being that now he’ll probably always come back to me, and I’m not at all conversant with the areas he studies.