The Learning Librarian

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The Neverending Search

on March 21, 2013

This week, I read a blog called The Neverending Search (http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/) written by teacher librarian Joyce Valenza. I am extremely interested in reading blogs by teacher librarians – since I hope to become one, I enjoy learning what those already in the field are learning, teaching and sharing. The blogs I have read so far have given me wonderful insight into the profession, and this one was no exception. I really like how the blog is laid out – there are categories with the following headings: Teacher Librarians, Instruction, Information Literacy, Google, Search Tools, Research and Contact. These headings make it very easy to select a topic you’d like to learn more about and be immediately directed to all blog posts within that subject.

I decided to read a blog post under the Search Tools category. I feel that I do not know as much about search tools (besides the typical Google and Yahoo) as I should, and I would like to learn more about different tools so I am able to share that information with my future students. The article I read – http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/2013/02/09/whats-izik-introducing-a-swipier-slashier-search/ – discusses Izik, a search engined designed specifically with tablets in mind. According to Valenza, Izik is a good search engine because it gathers results quickly and efficiently. It also categorizes them for you by the following: quick answers, top results, images, books or latest. To focus your search, she suggests adding a “slashtag” which is, essentially, using a slash to separate your search terms and add additional words. At the end of her article, she provides a link to Blekko (http://blekko.com/) a spam-free search engine that she recommends if your device is not in the form of a tablet.

I thought this blog post – as well as the Search Tools section of her blog in general – was extremely helpful. I had never heard of Izik or Blekko, but her post made me excited to try them out. I would be curious to know what other teacher librarians think about these search engines, and I plan to research other blogs and resources to find out. This also makes me wonder what other search engines are out there that I have never heard of, and whether any of them could yield results that are more reliable or more valid than some of the more common search engines I use on a daily basis.

I definitely plan to revisit this blog in the future. It is geared towards teacher librarians, so I do not think I would have students visit it. However, I would absolutely incorporate lessons and/or new information and resources I learn from the site into my teaching. It would be fun to do a project with students based off the information I discovered about the new search engines. I could have the students search for the same term on several different search engines and see what kinds of results they found. A lesson like this would teach students that they need to use multiple resources to ensure they’ve gathered the most accurate information. Opening their minds to new ways of searching will help develop student’s media and information literacy skills.

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