The Search!Down! (Installment 3)

January 26, 2007

Well, I’m afraid there’s no snappy opening from me this week. That’s why Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and David Letterman entered the comedy series business, but I have not.

For ease of use, I have also decided to omit the three levels designated for likely search effectiveness. So, here it is, with no frills… the stripped down SEARCH!DOWN!

    weekend librarian

    Probably someone trying to find weekend librarian positions. Very likely, they ended up in a post where I describe what I did one weekend.

    webcam vs headphones

    This search takes people to my posting “Dad vs. the Webcam,” which mentions headphones. Unfortunately, nothing seems to exist with this exact phrase. Probably someone trying to find something about incompatibility between webcams and headphones, or the advantages of one over the other.

    “In heaven there is no beer” mp3

    Since I have talked about MP3s on my blog, and I mentioned a visit to a German restaurant with polka music, the person performing this search probably didn’t find anything useful on my blog. I suspect that they wanted an MP3 of the song itself.

    “tout ca change”

    This search takes people to a posting that commemorates the anniversary of the premier of Richard Strauss’ opera Salome, where I use this phrase to describe the opera’s initial infamy as helping its success. It’s actually the first part of the French phrase tout ca change, tout c’est meme chose. Most likely, someone was trying to figure out what the phrase actually means.

    webcam for idiots

    Again, this went to my posting about Dad using his webcam. (He also celebrates his 77th birthday today.) Although the searcher probably wanted to find something with easy instructions on how to use webcams, the word “idiots” appears. It’s a favorite word of my father’s, especially when describing people in my hometown, ranging from the mayor to the people he encounters when having breakfast at McDonald’s. Perhaps his best use of it was when my wife and I were on a trip, when Dad cautioned us to, “Watch out for the other idiots.” (I’m sure he meant to say “other drivers,” or just “idiots.”)

    librarians search everyone else find

    Someone probably tried finding (or maybe searching for) Roy Tennant’s well-known aphorism about librarians. I devote a whole posting to it, which probably led the searcher to my blog. I suspect that the person was trying to find out more about the quote, but they weren’t sure how the quote went exactly. Since Tennant’s name does not appear, it also seems likely that they tried finding out who said it.

    purgatory discussion mp3

    In my original Search!Down! posting, I had three categories for search effectiveness, which I based on The Divine Comedy. In it, I mention searches for MP3 files. However, someone probably wanted to find an MP3 that contains discussion about Purgatory.

    cellphones dangerous little devices bono

    In the video of the Chicago concert from U2’s 2005 Vertigo tour, Bono talked about the subversive value of cell phones. In reaction to the leaking of footage from the execution of Saddam Hussein, I wrote something about the significance of cell phones. The person performing this search probably wanted to find the quote, but they probably ended up with more than they needed to know.

To my comrades in the biblioblogosphere (or to anyone else in the blogosphere), I cannot be the only one who encounters odd search engine searches that lead to my blog. I have a feeling that many of you have dealt with the same thing. With that in mind, I have decided to start a new wiki called False Drop Follies. This will give you an opportunity to contribute any “far out” false drops you’ve encountered to a “knowledge base.” In addition to a few chuckles, I hope that others will use it as a tool for teaching or research.


4 Responses to “The Search!Down! (Installment 3)”

  1. Mark Says:

    These sorts of false drops are interesting and instructive–I, too, did this a few times in the 1st year of my previous blog–and can be used to teach the vast limits of keyword searching, amongst other things.

    Of more possible interest, but much harder to contextualize, are the searches which actually find what the searcher was probably looking for but seem to place you way too high in the results list. This can be very instructive to new bloggers as they learn just how easy it is to place in the top 10 results of a common search when they still think they are mostly hidden away. I know it was extremely eye-opening to me the first few times. Complete shock was more like it!

    The false drops are far more fun and entertaining, but there is great value in both.

  2. Jason Says:

    Actually, that has happened with quite a few of my postings. Somehow, I ended up at the very top of the “Bono” search in Google, and I have also ended up on the first page of results for quite a few others. I certainly don’t consider myself an authority on Bono since I only became a U2 fan a few years ago. As long as the searcher(s) found what they were looking for, they should be okay.

    Contextualizing such searches takes a lot of thought and sophistication, which I don’t have. That’s why I came up with something fairly simple. However, I do hope that people will find the wiki useful for their own purposes.

  3. […] at 4:45 pm (Uncategorized) As you may know (and appreciate), I have not done a Search!Down! since two Fridays ago. The novelty has worn, and I’m ready to move on to the next hot trend that we librarians […]

  4. […] before the last few technological revolutions that would eventually revolutionize librarianship, The Search!Down! was the only regular expose on false drops that led people to library blogs. During those three […]

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