Reference Anxiety Disorder? | Federated Search BlogFederated Search

State Farm Insurance Librarian Adam Bennington has a fun yet serious article in this month’s Searcher Magazine. The article, A Practical Guide to Coping With Reference Anxiety Disorder, brings hope to information professionals everywhere. Bennington explains the cause of RAD:

When the searcher can’t uncover the answer, feelings of guilt, shame, and doubt in his or her professional worth can grow acute, especially in newly minted information professionals.

Bennington asks us to consider that since “studies have been published on the pressure produced when penguins poop,” that your client’s reasonable sounding question can’t be new. There must be an answer somewhere and you should be able to find it.

While I read and write a lot about searching, my bias is that, given a large enough pile of federated and other search tools, every “reasonable” question must have an answer somewhere on the Web. I’ve never considered the existence of an alternate reality where intelligent questions don’t have answers.

Now here’s an interesting question that really does have an answer. If you’re a research professional, or even if you’re not, how do you know when it’s time to stop searching? I won’t give anything away but I’ll tell you that Bennington, in his article, gives six signs to look for that tell you you’re thrashing. Can you guess what they are, or can you come up with some of your own?

Leave comments here and, if you have a copy of this month’s Searcher, don’t give away the answers!

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 19th, 2010 at 2:24 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or TrackBack URI from your own site.

One Response to "Reference Anxiety Disorder?"

  1. 1 Charles Knight
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    When do you give up and conclude that there is no answer to a query? That’s a wild thought and R. A. D. should become a mainstream condition!

    In my quest to find every search engine in the world I often wonder – how will I know?

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