Saturday, 10 January 2015

#librarianproblems














Actual thing that actually happened* in a Russell Group university library NEAR YOU:


PUNTER: [approaches information desk] Help me I have no idea how to do this thing.

ME: What thing?

PUNTER: This thing which is a straightforward web based research task complete with step by step instructions printed out on this piece of paper I am holding.

ME: Have you read the step by step instructions?

PUNTER: No.

ME: Perhaps you could read the step by step instructions?

PUNTER: I am not able to read the step by step instructions at this time because the piece of paper containing the straightforward web based research task has been in my bag since before Christmas and now the straightforward web based research task is due in on Monday and also I have been in the library for many hours already and I am very tired.

ME: I see. [reads step by step instructions]. It says to log into the website the step by step instructions advise you to log into in the first step by step instruction.

PUNTER: This is all terribly difficult. I have not read the step by step instructions. I do not know what this website is.

ME: [opens website, passes mouse and keyboard to punter] Here is the website. Now all you have to do is search for the thing it tells you to search for in the second step by step instruction.

PUNTER: I literally have no idea how to search for a word or phrase using a search box.

ME: You type the word or phrase into the search box which is there. [points to search box]

PUNTER: I see. [clicks various random links] Where is the information I need? How am I meant to complete this straightforward web based research task?

ME: You type the word or phrase into the search box which is there. [points to search box]

PUNTER: [types vague keyword into search box, clicks on first result] This result here is exactly the result I am looking for.

ME: I am afraid the step by step instructions say the result needs to be about X, but that result is about Y.

PUNTER: You are correct. [clicks on second result] What about this result?

ME: I am afraid that result again is about Y. Perhaps you could alter the search term, for example as per the step by step instructions printed on the piece of paper that is in front of you, to include X. Maybe then you will be able to find the information you need to complete this straightforward web based research task.

PUNTER: [repeats earlier steps five or ten or fifteen or eleventy thousand times]

ME: [contemplates murder]

PUNTER: [resumes clicking on random links]

ME: The step by step instructions there by your hand, right next to it actually, the hand that is at the end of your arm that is, tell you exactly what you need to do to find the information you need to complete this straightforward web based research task.

[Punter reads instructions. Time stretches into infinity, possibly stops]

PUNTER: It is impossible. [shakes head sadly] I cannot find what I need to complete this straightforward web based research task.

ME: Would you like me to have a go?

PUNTER: Yes.

ME: [finds required information instantly]

PUNTER: YOU ARE AN AMAZING LIBRARIAN!

ME: Yes.








* paraphrased slightly


No comments: