Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Telling a librarian she can't find something - rookie mistake or stroke of genius?

My favorite fact-checking fellow intern Thadeus was back today, hot on the pursuit of more information.  After an hour and a half of attempting to hunt down the dates for a past exhibition, he finally decided to turn to me for help.  He gave me the low-down of what he was looking for and where he had already looked.  I told him that I would work on it.  He said something along the lines of, "Thanks for the help, I doubt you'll find anything, though."  Oh ye of little faith!  Telling a librarian that he or she probably can't find some piece of information is like giving him or her a challenge that will not be refused.  It only makes us more determined to located that bit of information.  And locate it I did.  It took about an hour, but I finally found it.  So I pose the question again: when a user tells a librarian that he or she probably won't or can't find something, are they making a rookie mistake by doubting the librarian's mysteriously awe-worthy research skills or ingeniously inspiring an extra measure of investment on the part of the librarian to find the information and prove his or her skills?  I think we all know which method Thadeus was aiming for....

Today's mileage: 2.33 mi.

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