Thursday, April 9, 2009

falling trees

Consider this: If a Google search yields zero results (and further, does not offer a suggested alternate search/spelling), does the thing exist?

I just had this experience on the reference desk. Google had been my last resort. I plugged the patron's query into the search box, and got nothing. I turned the screen to show her the absent hit list and its little epitaph: "Your search did not match any documents." The placard next to my computer mocked, "I'm here to help you...please ask." Sadness and confusion and disappointment flowed across the desk between us.

All I could come up with was "I''m sorry."


danielle said...

Wow. Are we allowed to know what they were looking for?

Tim Eschaton said...

I distinctly remember being moved, as a child, by an animated adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in a junkyard-- Romeo and Juliet's families were toasters and blenders. I have never found mention of this program online. The internet is only nascently omniscient.

P.S. I second Danielle's question.