DonnaM » Blog Archive » Yay! I’m not stupid

Yay! I’m not stupid

After Friday’s rant about library search, I decided to look further and see whether I was just ‘searching wrong’ or if there is something inherently wrong with library journal searches.

So, continuing what I’m looking at for university, I worked on the scenario of ‘finding out the names of any journals with ‘ergonomic’ in the title’. This is real – this is what I want to find out right now.

I searched the National Library of Australia, University of Queensland, University of Canberra and Australian National University websites – each had a ‘journal search’ option on their library site. In each of these cases, putting ‘ergonomic’ into the search returned only titles that started with ergonomic – not with the word anywhere in the title. I was starting to feel like I must be doing something completely illogical.

But finally, Monash University saved the day – putting ‘ergonomic’ into their journal search returned exactly what I had expected.

So what’s the deal here. Am I asking for something illogical? Why can’t I expect to return records with the search string anywhere in the title? Is this some odd library conspiracy that I don’t know about?

3 Responses to “Yay! I’m not stupid”

  1. Alexander Says:

    Of course you’re asking for the wrong thing. You are assuming we developers can assume what you’re looking for, and hence you get it all wrong. What you *really* want is the first word, the best word, the no. 1 word. The rest of the words are of a lower grade, and really not all that interesting. C’mon, common sense, this.

    Ahem. Anyways, part of this problem is that most libraries don’t index journals and not just because they don’t index them any good. For some strange reason, journals aren’t a high priority to libraries, but they might be. Soon. I hope.

  2. donna maurer Says:


    As someone who spends a lot of study time buried in journals & the ACM library, I hope so too!

  3. Sylvie Noel Says:

    I had never noticed this behaviour before, but you’re right: I tried a couple of local universities, and searches on “ergonomics” in the title did not return Applied Ergonomics, even though they had the journal.

    However, I am happy to report that my alma mater’s (Universite de Montreal) library actually got it right. So there is hope.

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