Monday, June 18, 2012

Oh so not helpful

Our local county library used to have this wonderful search engine. If you type in something wrong, it'll show you what you typed amidst the list of titles that it owns and says in large friendly letters, not unlike the "Don't Panic!" logo on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Title not found, but it would have appeared here."

It was great since you can scan the titles above and below it and often times, I'd find the proper title (whose words I may have transposed or typed wrong) that way.

Well, several years ago, the library made this proud announcement that they're switching to a new and better search engine. HAH! Never believe the hype...which is a good motto to live by in general anyway.

This new and improved *using air quotes* search engine sucks. Pardon my French.

Let me give you an example.
I typed "Probability: a very short introduction" into the search box. Turns out the library doesn't have it, so the search engine very helpfully (don't slip on the sarcasm that I've dripped all over the floor) suggests "Did you mean 'Probability ah very short introduction'?"

Seriously. It changed my "a" into an "ah." Does it honestly think that could possibly be a real title?? And it does this all the freaking time. If what you're searching for has an "a" in it and the library doesn't have it, the online catalog search engine will always ask if you mean "...ah..." instead.

It's enough to drive any logophile to drink. Which is not a bad thing, I suppose, if you like to pair wine with a good book...IF you can find the book with this stupid search engine.

What's your library's online catalog like? Does it make you want to smash in the computer?

"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~ Toni Morrison

No comments: