Sometimes the best tips are the simplest.
One of my favorite shortcuts is Ctrl+F. This is the keyboard short cut for the Find command.
Simple hit the "Ctrl" key and "F" key at the same time to open up a small search box in your document, webpage, or whatever is on the screen. Then, you can put in the word you are looking for. You have to type in the exact thing you want (this won't autocorrect or understand what you want like Google).
This is really helpful when you need to search long pages of text to see if they have what you need. It's also great for when you just know something is in a document but can't remember where.
I use Ctrl+F a lot when I am working with students to show them how to quickly "read" an academic article to determine if it's a source that will work for them. I also like how, depending on the program you're in, Ctrl+F will also show you how many times your search appears in the page. That's a great way to know the density and importance of a topic in whatever you're looking at.
You would think, that librarians would just find answers.
We do - but we also ask a lot of questions.
When we work with people, we want to make sure that we are answering their questions fully and completely. Oftentimes, that means we have to draw out the real reason for the question. Sometimes being asked "do you have X" or "can you tell me about Y" is not the full question.
To get to the heart of the matter, we're trained to conduct reference interviews. We ask just as many questions as are asked of us. Some of the techniques include:
This skill is useful outside of the library, too. I've found I have more meaningful conversations because asking the right questions elicits a deeper connection.
One of the best parts of my job is that I never know what people will ask at the reference desk. I learn a lot this way. Plus, there are some typical library skills I've used for personal projects that are worth sharing.
In this new bi-weekly series, I will share a short tip or lesson from my work as a librarian which may be useful to you.
Check back in two weeks for our first Tuesday Tip!