or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

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Reference Question of the Week – 10/12/14

   Posted on Saturday, October 18th, 2014 in Library, Reference Question | 3 Comments »

So this is an interesting question – and a situation where I got schooled in applying Occam’s razor to research techniques. A friend of mine at work had an unusual coin, and we wanted to find out what it was. It didn’t have any English lettering on it, and no Arabic numbers, although it clearly […]


Why Your Privacy Matters, Even If You’re Not “Doing Anything Wrong”

   Posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 in Technology | No Comments »

One of the anti-privacy arguments that I hate – hate – is the idea that people who are not doing anything wrong shouldn’t mind pervasive surveillance. The video below is Glenn Greenwald’s TED talk on why that is complete crap, and on the larger issue of why privacy is vital to normal human life. It’s […]


Reference Question of the Week – 10/5/14

   Posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2014 in Library, Reference Question | 2 Comments »

One Saturday I was working at the desk with a coworker. She answered the phone, and it was a patron asking for a print of Winslow Homer’s “Fishing the Falls.” He said it’s not one of his public works, and is in a private collection, and that’s why he can’t find any information about it […]


A Couple of Minor Interesting Things

   Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 in Library, Technology | 4 Comments »

I know there are significant issues coming to light this week regarding security and privacy, but this post highlights two far less consequential items. Both are search tips from Lifehacker. 1. Searching for Lyrics The first is that Bing Now Shows Lyrics at the Top of Your Search Results. This will actually be extremely useful, […]


Reference Question of the Week – 9/28/14

   Posted on Saturday, October 4th, 2014 in Library, Reference Question | 2 Comments »

While I was talking to a patron, the phone rang and my coworker answered it. She listened for a little while, said “Yes, I think so,” and then hung up. Any time that happens, you know it’s going to be a story. She turned to me afterward and said the patron just asked her, Is […]


Creating Better Passwords By Knowing How They’re Cracked

   Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 in Library, Technology | Comments Off

This weekend on Twitter, @itsokayihaveabook linked to a great article on the current thinking for choosing a secure password. I don’t keep up with this stuff all the time, but every so often I will check in to see what the developments are. If you only read one password security article this year, this is […]