what you learn in library school, what’s in a name

library of congress advanced search boxes

I use my library school education in odd ways. I barely knew library school was a thing before I went to library school. So I’m not entirely surprised when other people don’t know that many, if not most, librarians have some sort of professional-level education. Library education is a curious mix of what I think of as trade-school work–learning to do repetitive tasks efficiently and within the scope of an existing protocol–and professional work–thinking about big picture ideas like intellectual freedom and how to determine what a book is really “about.” In the work I do nowadays, I am more likely to use my decades of experience than I am to use things I specifically learned in school, but there are a few exceptions. Doing research to write Wikipedia articles uses a lot of my library school learning.

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does searching politely make a difference?

Does politeness matter when you’re creating your queries?

I tried taking a look at how “please” changed a whole bunch of searches. “Microsoft” returned the company website, of course, but “Microsoft Please” returned all sorts of links from customers or customer advocates. Same with “Google” and “Google please.” My own company returned a slightly embarrassing “please try again later” page from our company domain.

“jessamyn please” takes me to the librarian.net contact form. Neat.