Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Answer: What's your story of SearchResearch?


We had lots of comments this week... 

... which made me happy.  Lots of people checked in to write something (including a few folks who haven't stopped by the blog in a while)!  

As you remember, the Challenge was:    

1.  What's YOUR SRS story?  Have you had to do a search for something recently where there was a bit of a Challenge along the way?  Was it something not-completely obvious that you needed to work out, or look up, or correlate?  What's your tale of SRS?  

Krossbow wrote to say that he was looking for the artist who built two intriguing obelisks in a park in Lima, Peru.  

He also reminds us that the Library of Congress offers a series of online seminars for people just like us (SRSers).  The seminars are free!  I just signed up for "Finding PrimarySources on" which looks great!  

There is also a fabulous Researcher Toolbox web page with lots of teaching/educational resources for image and photo researchers.  (Including this very SRS-like posting: "Is this really General U. S. Grant in that Civil War photograph?")  

Is this actually Grant on horseback?  Maybe not. LOC photo.

ikijibiki worked with her students to find government documents and found great resources for her students which let them do their research.  (She reminds us that the Hathi Trust often has documents that Google Books doesn't have in full-view.) 

Gina wanted to find Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana), a beautiful variety of oak that grows along the west coast of the US.  Her SRS skills led to some local groves that might be Garry Oaks.  (She's waiting for confirmation by a botanist.)  

She also used the ability of Google Photos to create a map of her local oaks.  (Follow the instructions here:  Create and Edit photo albums including maps.)   

A friend wrote to say that she was having issues with finding charging stations for her Tesla EV.  Ramon added a comment suggesting some great search terms and a link to the website to help find charging points.  

Ramon is also honing his SRS skills with searches about software worms, viruses, and Day Zero exposures.  He is also looking for "15 minutes of fame," which suggests we might be reading more about Ramon in the papers sometime soon!  

Longtime Regular Reader Rosemary M commented that her recent searches for treatments of hypothyroidism have led her into a difficult space where it's tough to tell the legit results apart from the marketing and hype.   Bias is a constant, and low-quality results in medicine (or any highly technical field) are often difficult to discern.  This is a great suggestion for a future SRS post:  Hype vs. marketing vs. reality--how to tell them apart?  Look for it.  

Jon (the Unknown) does SRS craft work all the time in his searches for a variety of topics--from Ground Penetrating Radar, to air purifiers (probably for the same reason I am), background on Gerry Adams, and searching for the definition of "santabarbaraite," a kind of phosphate mineral hydrate discovered in Italy.  (I note that this is very different than a "Santa Barbarian," which is an inhabitant of Santa Barbara, CA.)   

Mathlady (welcome to the group!) is using Google Books for historical research, but also points out that even if the book you seek is read-limited, other books (with same information) might not be--so keep looking!  Jon reminded us that periodicals (e.g., through online newspaper sites--see a previous SRS post about digital newspapers

Thanks to everyone for sending in their own Challenges and SRS tasks this week.  We'll be back with our normal programming next week.  

Search on! 


  1. There are so many times I have used the skills that I learned here. Just today I am looking up a campground at Shaver Lake California where my wife and some of her friends just went camping. They camped at Dora Belle Campground in the Sierra National Forest and wanted to know where did the name Dora Belle come from.

  2. I haven’t had time to put up my comment because I have spent the last few weeks researching so many interesting topics with my extended essay students. I teach at an IB school in the UK and our grade 11 students are about to go off and write their 1st draft of a 4,000 word essay, which forms part of their final assessment. The topics have been fascinating and challenging and I have really honed my search skills, and hopefully shared those skills with students. All of the essays are answering what I would call “non-googleable” questions, where the students will need to research, analyse and then come to a conclusion about the answer to their question. Today, a student told me about his question: To what extent can the material composition of a guitar pick affect the sound performance of an electric guitar. I had no idea but after some investigation found him some good research to start him off. Another student was looking at fast fashion and whether collaborative fashion would help lessen the detrimental effects of fashion fashion on the environment. Another challenging topic! The most interesting discovery I have made in working with my 60 odd students is how some students come to the process of research already convinced of the answer and that no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, they will cling on to their belief.