Listening to Your Inner Voice

The loss of face is not a good thing. So when someone struts up to you, chest out with a broad toothy grin and asks for help in searching for a citation which was not noted down due to lack of attention to details, you certainly don’t wave any sharp objects around lest there is an accidental deflation of sorts.

All he required was a complete citation of a book which he had used for a presentation. But what he had were the initials of the 2 authors (no surnames), the title which is just Organizational Behaviour and the edition. That was it. He had searched the Internet, LINC and all sorts of databases but nope, can’t find it. Then, right on cue, the little irritating voice in my head started reciting its mantra, “Cannot be, cannot be…”

So I googled. Yup. There it was. The citation.

What just happened? Why couldn’t the student get the citation from the Internet? Because along with the book title, he searched all the initials of the first and second authors. He dumped whatever clues he had in the search box. Isn’t that how we’re supposed to do it?

Here’s a tip. When searching for information, sometimes less is more. When you see a search that looks kinda unwieldy and it isn’t getting you anywhere, remove some of the least relevant words. Pare it down so there is less to search.

I started removing all the initials of the 2nd author. Nope. Didn’t work. Then, I also removed the last initial which was presumably the surname of the first author. Bingo. The 1st record retrieved was the citation of the book. Cross checked it in LINC and we have the full names of both authors and the complete citation.

So basically you are telling Google – don’t look for the surname because I don’t know what it is but look for a book that has an author with these initials.

How do I know how to do this? Because of a voice that says “Cannot be, cannot be”.

Note: Please be assured that The Naked Librarian does not always hear voices.

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