Wednesday, December 18, 2019

SearchResearch Challenge (12/18/19): Difficult to find?

In some sense... 

... this blog is all about documents that are difficult to find.  We search for articles about life deep underground, or rivers in Spain, or sex ratios of different animals.  

But sometimes we need to find A SPECIFIC article or a SPECIFIC book.  Usually it's because someone has recommended it and we realize that we just have to find it.  

My friend Pete recommended an article to me the other day.  Unlike most suggestions like this, he actually knew exactly what the citation was.  Here's what he told me:  "Go read this article, I think it was in Psychology Today, the title is "On Watching Myself Grow Old."  

Great.  That's not a lot to go on.  But with a few SRS skills I was pretty quickly able to figure out that he meant this article... 

Hebb, D. O. (November, 1978) “On watching myself get old”  Psychology Today, 12(6):15-23

"Excellent,"  I thought to myself, "finally!  A decent citation!"  I thought it would be a 5-second search to get the article.  

But no! 

It turns out to be harder than it looks.  Much harder.  I'll be curious to see how you solve it.  

1. Can you find the full text of this article? 

Hebb, D. O. (November, 1978) “On watching myself get old”  Psychology Today, 12(6):15-23

I'll tell you, I finally found it, but it wasn't easy.  Can YOU find it more rapidly than I could? 

In another conversation from this week, my friend Bill said  "I loved that book by James Patterson that had a number in the title.  You have to read it!"  

"That's it?"  I protested.  "That's all you can tell me?"  

"Oh yeah.  The cover was yellow.  Does that help?"  

Kinda.  I guess.  So I put it to you:  

2.  Can you find the novel by James Patterson that has a yellow cover AND has a number in the title? 

Good luck with these!  

Be sure to tell us HOW you found the Psychology Today article and that yellow-number-in-the-title book by James Patterson.  I'm sure we'd all love to learn how you did it! 

Search on! 


  1. Tried to find article in one of our library databases but no luck so will wait until I get home and can check the catalog of the Univ. where I'm an adjunct prof. So moved on to the second challenge - did a search on google images for James Patterson novel number in title and got a number of results and then narrowed results by the color filter yellow. There were several choices - 6th Target, 11th Hour, or 5th Horseman. So without more info can only narrow to these 3. My guess would be 5th Horseman. Will get back on first challenge later. And just found another one 4th of July. Still going to go with 5th Horseman- call it librarian intuition!

  2. Part 1 - so far - has me stumped as I'm a skinflint and unwilling to pay for that back issue of Psychology Today. (I found very quickly but it's not free. I couldn't even find the article on naughty sites such as Sci Hub (although it may be there but didn't find it yet). I thought about places such as PubMed but no luck. If it wasn't that you'd found it I would have given up thinking it was not online. I did find out that Donald Hebb was one of the most important psychologists ever and I thought of looking at collections from his universities in his honour, and other archive "top article" type sources. I suspect that this is where it will be but so far all I've got is references to the article and even a brief summary of its contents and how he wrote it after finding his memory was going. But so far, no luck :(

    In contrast, finding that book should have been easy - except you did not give enough detail to positively identify it. There are 3 books by James Patterson with a number in the title that have a yellow cover (although one depends on the format).

    I started by putting in [ list "james patterson" books ] and that showed 4th July. But I wanted to check so went to Yes - yellow cover.

    BUT there was also the Woman's Murder Club which showed more yellow covers with numbers:

    The 5th Horseman (Paperback only) also has a yellow cover.
    And The 11th Hour (paperback & hardback) is also yellow.

    If you meant that the number itself was yellow then you'd have the 9th Judgement

    However as you are not after the Murder Club editions, I'll guess you want the 4th July - although the lesson here is to check from two sources and especially for something like a book, from a book seller.

    1. I agree 4th of July is closest; but much depends on what defines the "yellow" in the cover. In addition "17th Suspect" has yellow number

      And 16th Seduction has yellow number and side stripe on cover

      Count to Ten has a good swath of yellow too

      My method was to use Google images with search terms
      "James Patterson" 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

      and then use the Tools button to select Yellow under color,isc:yellow&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiom_yi97_mAhUSvZ4KHeLEBOYQpwUIJA&biw=1258&bih=617&dpr=2

  3. fwiw, I thought Bill was colorblind & numerically dyslexic - dyscalculia -… maybe it's a different Bill?… or Bob? Obb1Kaknobbi?
    30 list
    in yellow…
    updated houtly

  4. Good Day

    Trying to answer Q1:

    Started with [" “On watching myself get old”] which didn't work. Then added the name of the author. That also didn't work. Then thought about finding the archive of Psychology Today and also thinking maybe adding filetype: could help.

    [ “On watching myself get old” Hebb, D. O. filetype:pdf ] This query gave me the full name of the author "Donald Olding Hebb. 22 July 1904-20 August 1985" and also links that mention his work and importance. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in October 2003. Source: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DONALD OLDING HEBB, CANADA’S GREATEST PSYCHOLOGIST by RICHARD E. BROWN. Department of Psychology. Dalhousie University

    ["Donald Olding Hebb" “On watching myself get old” ]

    Also searched on Google Academy and adding words like "Psychology Today" articles

    Make a Move, Your Brain Loves It

    Also tried searching on Newspapers

    Remembering Dr. Russell's post: "A note about searching Google Scanned Newspaper archives" Tried and noticed that now the advanced search is gone. So tried with "" also used the "Phrygian Cap" to find the same results and failed. Therefore, went to news section and used the Search Tools. Still no results

    Then, read Arthur Weiss's Answer and thought about searching some similar site to the one he found or searching by image the magazine. With that, at the moment, just found the image of the contents

    1. Good Morning/ day

      Just to wish to all of you a Merry and Happy Christmas and Holidays.

      And special thanks to Dr. Russell for one more year creating SRS Challenges and giving us tools, knowledge, his time and opening doors, places and new wonderful things.

      Happy Holidays 🌲🦌😀

  5. For the James Patterson search, I started with, and realized he had a huge series with numbers in the titles, so the color of the cover was essential. I then looked on for "James Patterson books" and scrolled down until I saw "The 5th Horseman" yellow cover as part of the "James Patterson Womens Murder Club Series 17 Books Collection Set (Books 1-17) "

    For the Psychology Today search, I did a couple of quick checks with Google and Google Scholar to find an online copy, then switched to my university library collection. I see that they have hardcopy of Psychology Today back that far, so if I really had any interest in the article, I would go to the stacks and either read or photocopy the article. (If my library did not have it, I could request a copy through interlibrary loan, but that is slow.)

  6. On Watching: Got it in about 90 seconds. I called the Cavalry and ordered it from my Library. Is this cheating or collaborating

    1. That's TOTALLY legit. Nicely done. (Did you really get it?)

    2. Nope. Fail. Advised 2 hrs later they can't do it either. Drat. j

    3. Oh, didn't know that was allowed. The library I work at holds it on microfilm. And the National Library of Australia has it too. Definitely could get hold of it. I spent far too much of my day trying to find a digital copy of it using Google.

    4. Remember when we used to say it was an "open internet" test? SRS skills are "open EVERYTHING!" Anything that's possible is legit! Did you check for real? (I've found a few places that SAY they have it, but when you actually ask for it, they find they don't really have it...)

    5. As a librarian, I felt kind of burned by this challenge. I had assumed that we were meant to find it freely online somewhere. If the point was to alert people to the existence of interlibrary loan services or to microfiche collections, that's a good thing that I wish more people knew about. If the article happens to be hiding as a reprint in a book that was scanned by Google Books and is freely available within that book, I'd love to know which one. I could see that it was reprinted in at least one book scanned in the Google Books service but I could only see the first few lines thanks to onerous copyright restrictions.

      I'm eager to hear if in fact there is no freely available copy online. It's a hard thing to confirm a negative, which is why I gave up on this challenge after about an hour (which included me dragging a handful of other librarians into this challenge).

    6. Mr. Francoeur - thanks for pointing this out… wonder if they get 'dog-eared or bark'?
      overdue (woof)

  7. 2

    [James Patterson book covers] finds images then yellow
    lots to choose from with a yellowy tinge and a number:
    17th Suspect; 4th of July; 16th Seduction; Four Blind MIce; 113 minutes; 11th Hour; 15th Affair; 5th Horseman; Unlucky 13; 6th Target... Jon tU

    1. Hi Jon tU and everyone
      In Q2 I also searched ["James Patterson" novels] on images, then tools and chose yellow. Then thought it says novel, so searched adding novel and also on a site found stand alone novels. Still plenty of options.

      My next thought is that maybe the book has a number and yellow because it's a best seller. There are a few with yellow or red ribbon and #1. I don't think these are the ones we are searching for, but maybe

  8. So Anne and I went back to the first question. Anne said a college would have the article on microfiche. I tried the library at Seton Hall. Psychology Today online articles were archived back to the 1990's so I reached out to the librarians via chat. They told me they had article it was on microfiche and I could go down and read it there or if I put an interlibrary loan request I could get the article today. So don't forget to use this feature at your local public library. Interlibrary loans can help you find materials that aren't housed in your local library.

    1. That is what I tried thru my Library; but ILL failed for them. And me. I hope your system can work it out. j

    2. I'd attach but don't see how I can attach something to my answer. Really excited this came through!

  9. Have searched with different browsers. No luck. I tried different languages; french, russian, german, chinese. Nada. j

  10. Memory
    By Elizabeth F. Loftus / Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Jan. 1, 1988 - Psychology
    page 104 has a discussion "recently writtten" by Donald O Hebb...Goes on for several pages til Google says I have gone to the limit

    This is pretty darn close

    Memory: The Key to Consciousness
    By Richard F. Thompson, Stephen A. Madigan ...also discusses Hebb

    Paydirt, I think: Aging, Volume 1 page 1978 [subject:"Aging" hebb] finds in Goo books
    Not allowed to see anything here but the snippets BUT it does show the top of Hebb;s article and it looks as though the whole thing is there. The link to Google PLay is dead (of course)

  11. 1. Google Scholar did not help me out with this one (as an ILL worker, I am very familiar with Google Scholar). It did show that multiple sources cited an article called "Watching myself get old" by the same author published in the same year, but the citation did not include Psychology Today. (should have expected that - if it were that easy, you would have gotten the full text right away) Over to normal Google, I searched "psychology today magazine archives". On the magazine's site, I determined their digital archives only go back to January 1992, which isn't helpful here. I went down several rabbit holes (searching for the title in combination with the issue month/year and psychology today full text, looking up donald hebb's wikipedia page to see if there might be a link to the article there, trying to see if I could find it reprinted in another publication, and more - all dead ends). At this point, as an ILL professional, I would simply put out an ILL request. If it's not accessible by any obvious searches, it's either reprinted in an obscure anthology that would take much more time than asking another library to send a scan of the original would take, or it's not available through legal means online.

    2. That second question comes up ALL THE FREAKING TIME at public libraries. That's actually way more info than we normally get! Based on multiple years shelving at a public library, I narrowed it down to the mystery series by James Patterson. I had to Google search a couple of times to figure out what it was called, but the search "james patterson mystery number series" brought up the title "Women's Murder Club". Clicking on the author's website brings up the full list, complete with covers: Unfortunately, even that isn't enough information to narrow it down completely though. There are three books that could fit the description, depending on how the patron perceives color: The 6th Target, The 11th Hour, and the 4th of July. But even narrowing it down to just three with accompanying descriptions is usually enough to jog people's memory!

  12. ;ºP

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