Wait, How Do I…?

By Nicole Hughes –


The amount of information available to any person at any given moment is staggering. The amount of ways for any one person to get that information is even more staggering… Are you on your home computer browsing Netflix? On your tablet using a wifi network to check the score of the Giant’s game (hope is wasn’t last Saturday’s)? Out in the middle of nowhere on your cell phone trying to access Google Maps? Did you open Google chrome? Did you ask Siri? Did you type in the website directly?

The internet (including your library databases) can feel like a tangled knot you just aren’t going to get the comb through. Maybe you just give up. Maybe you move on to another site. Maybe you don’t get exactly the information you need. Isn’t there an expert who can guide you through these systems to find the information you need in to fastest way possible… Who would that be? Tech support? Geek Squad?

SURPRISE! As fun as it is to picture us dusting off the shelves, shushing out patrons, and romanticizing the scent of book mold (yes, that is what that distinct book smell is), your librarians are actually experts in the retrieval of information.  Sure, I’ve got my glasses, my stack of books to read and quite a collection of cardigan sweaters, but I am actually more equipped to show you how to find out who played second base for the 1992 Giants, what his batting average was and what his strikeout differential was from 1992-1993 (Robby Thompson, .260, 22), than to suggest something for your summer reading list (though many of us are great at this, too).

Your librarians are here to help you get to the information you need. Got an obscure question? Need to find something that the internet seems to have forgotten? Please bring it to us; this is our version of a treasure hunt. We’re also glad to sit down with you and show you our favorite searching strategies, and how to “think” like a search engine. You’ve got your topic, but the words you will need to use to find information on that topic will vary from Google to Google Scholar to EBSCO to ProQuest. We can help you with that; it’s what we do!

When we’re not here (weekends, 2am, etc.) you can find some of our great guides and tutorials at http://alliant.libguides.com/. You can also get there from the library website: http://library.alliant.edu–> Research –> User Guides.

Bring us your brainteasers, we are here to help!


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