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How to get what you’re looking for

July 17, 2009

The Portable MLIS: Insights From the Experts

Chapter 11: Information Retrieval: Designing, Querying, and Evaluating Information Systems, by Judith Weedman.

I appreciated this chapter much more after completing the search assignment we had for this class. Many of the search tools Weedman mentions, such as Boolean searches, were highlighted in our assignment. She also touches upon the problem names present, because of the inconsistency of how they are entered. This was something that I encountered in one of the first searches we did. I read this chapter pretty early on, before the search assignment was handed out. Because I didn’t blog immediately, and found my notes lacking, I reread the chapter tonight. I definitely got more out of this chapter after doing the search assignment, so I am a bit thankful for my inefficiency.

The other thing that jumped out to me after rereading this chapter was the common theme that runs among the chapters we read dealing with library functions and competencies. They all require that the librarian know their service community. As Weedman states explicitly in this chapter, “One important aspect of the wicked problem of defining the problem is learning everything you can about the people who will be using the IR system and why they will be using it” (p. 115).

As a school media student, I can see the need to become very good at searching so I can help pass those skills on to students. Search engines and Web 2.0 applications are on the rise and easily accessible, but don’t always contain the best informaion. Teaching students to be more discernible searchers has already come up in several readings that I have done for this class and others. This chapter gave me a good feel for what goes in to storage and retrieval.

Weedman, J. (2008). Information Retrieval: Designing, Querying, and Evaluating Information Systems. In K. Haycock & B.E. Sheldon (Ed.), The Portable MLIS: Insights From the Experts, (pp. 112-126). Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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