It's always fun to answer a question that perplexes someone else...with a 10 second Google search. I might take some pride in doing a Google search, but...not really. Being able to find stuff on the Web is pretty easy these days, isn't it? Do we even need Boolean search terms anymore to find what we want?
The question comes to mind as a result of a question someone asked me yesterday:
Should I add a component to the online class that covers Boolean logic and searches?
My initial reaction was, "Yes, as a historical footnote." (after all, this document at Google says we use Boolean search less than 5% of the time!) But then, I reconsidered and said, "Yes" hoping I wouldn't be challenged on the value. Reading Joyce Valenza (shown right) back in 2008, and I realize that my first instinct was right:
That led me to thinking about all those lessons we learned back in library school that may no longer make a difference. . .So much has changed.
For most of the big search engines, AND is assumed. In my experience, OR makes a very large result list even larger. And, when NOT is really necessary, it is usually easier to disambiguate on an advanced search screen. For instance, Google’s Advanced Search screen clearly offers a box for unwanted words. No symbols necessary.
IMHO, Boolean is one of those things we need not explicitly teach.
Today, a question arose about Joomla 1.6. In case you're not familiar with Joomla, it's a content management system that makes it easy for people to manage web sites without having to do HTML. Apparently, Joomla 1.6 version still has a few rough edges that need to be smoothed over...one of them is how to upload PDF files via the Joomla Media Manager. Apparently, this doesn't work well.
Trying to figure this out was a "noob," someone who is really just a "new user" or "newbie" to Joomla 1.6. I overheard the conversation, the question and the search term for Google popped into my head:
how to upload pdfs in Joomla 1.6
In less than 10 seconds, I had 3 viable alternatives. In another 30 seconds, I had a few more. The solutions are outlined below, and the first one is the one that worked when I passed it on to the resident Joomla wizard.
I'd feel pride in this accomplishment but Google did the work. All I did was communicate a solution relevant to a problem I was aware others were having.
How many of us do this for a living?