Strategic Searching: Getting to the Real Question to Find the Right Answer
Formerly titled: Reference 2.0: How to Search Like a Pro
Format: Computer Lab
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community.
It’s tempting to plug words into Google for almost any kind of question these days but is it the best tactic to use when providing library reference service? Almost anyone can use Google to find an answer. But is that the best answer for the customer in front of you? Sometimes the best answer is the easiest one to find, but other times the best answer requires using skills and resources that are not familiar to your average library user.
- Do you know that you can quickly search through the full text of seven million books in Google Books?
- Do you know that you can find the answer to many “how-to” questions on YouTube?
- Do you have a hard time knowing when to suggest using your library’s databases?
- Did you know that you can search by date, usage rights, or reading level by using Advanced Search features?
By honing your search techniques and strategies, you can save time, energy and exasperation by getting to the best answer efficiently.
Workshop Description: In this all-day hands-on workshop learners will increase their comfort and confidence when assisting customers with information needs requiring online resources. Through individual and group exercises participants will practice with real life reference questions. Through discussion with instructors and fellow learners, participants will become familiar with best practices and learn solid strategies and techniques for helping public library customers get the best information efficiently. The instructors will provide cheat sheets, as well as practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately.
Pre-workshop assignment: We request that each student collect five reference questions received in the week prior to the workshop and be prepared to share them during the course.
Preliminary Course Outline
- Understanding the Real Question
- Analyzing questions
- What does the customer type have to do with it
- Evaluating Web Pages
- Five criteria for evaluating authority
- Match content with customer
- Strengths and Weaknesses of Search Engines
- Why Google isn’t always the right answer
- Using limiters and advanced options
- Strategies For Choosing the Best Source
- Database versus search engine versus social network
- Match the format to the customer
- Remote Reference Work
- Review of cutting, pasting and attaching maps, pictures and links, etc
- Privacy and confidentiality
Who Should Attend: Anyone from the California public library community who is new to reference and support staff with reference/information responsibilities.
Prerequisites: This course requires that students be comfortable with basic computer skills, including using a mouse, navigating the web, and basic keyboarding. For help with these basic skills, we recommend the New Computer Users section of the Infopeople Resources Guides, at infopeople.org/resources.
Check-in: 8:30 to 9:00 AM Instruction: 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
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