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

A Couple of Minor Interesting Things

   October 9th, 2014

magnifying glassI 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, because I haven't felt comfortable about visiting a lyrics website since about 2000. I don't know why those always seem to be the most virus- and crap-prone websites, but they are.

Of course this doesn't work for every song. In fact, quite literally while I still had the Lifehacker post open, a patron walked up and asked me to print the lyrics for Anything Goes. I was librarian-excited to try out a new tool to answer a question, but this Bing trick didn't work for that song. That's a fairly well-known song - and so are God Bless America and Born In The USA. I don't know what makes Man In The Mirror special, but something apparently. Maybe it's a copyright thing, or maybe the Bing developers are just starting with their favorite artists. But it's still worth trying out when the moment arises. And, it'd good to see Bing being innovative.

2. Searching Individual Websites
The second item is how you can Search Individual Sites on Google by Searching For Their Name. This is something I've been noticing for years, but also not something I've ever really counted on. But if it's planned to be a deliberate feature, I'll try to use it more. At least, it's sure easier that using the "site:" limiter.

Again, it doesn't work for every website. It seems like mainly just big, popular, and news websites have this available, but I also found some notable exceptions.

So that's it - now back to more important things.

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4 Responses to “A Couple of Minor Interesting Things”

  1. Cindy Says:

    I wonder if the Google individual search sites are based on a person’s search/browse history–for me, your notable exceptions don’t show the search box, while it does show when I search for my academic institution and also when I search for Livejournal. Which is interesting, but if true it means you can’t assume someone else has that option just because you do. I’d need to see more consistency before I dump the site: limiter for that purpose or recommend this new way to my students.

  2. Cassidy Says:

    My lyric search yielded mix results. “We will rock you lyrics” didn’t get the lyrics to show up at the top of the page, but “We are the champions” did. Still a handy thing to know.

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Cindy: you know, I don’t know. Where the items show up in the results probably change, but I don’t know if the listing itself will. Google works in mysterious ways, but I do agree – reliability is important for teaching.

    @Cassidy: I’d really like to know how these are being pulled in – whether from a web source of if Bing is building it’s own database. But very strange to have mixed results with the same artist.

  4. (Failing to) Protect Patron Privacy | Jenny Arch Says:

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