Monday, 10 October 2016

ORD--On the Reference Desk

Sometimes the patrons are I are both talking in English but we are not speaking the same language.

Consider this interaction, which is not isolated.  I've had the same difficulty with others.

"How do I get these papers scanned?"
"Let me check your library card and I can put you on the computer with the scanner and talk you through it."
--we walk to the scanning computer and I ask her the same questions I ask everyone.--
"How many pages to you have to scan?  If it's more than one do you want them in one file?  Are you going to email the file or save it to a flash drive?"
"No, I don't need to email it or anything."
"Oh, so you have a flash drive with you?"
"No.  I just need to scan them."
"What are you going to do with the file once you've scanned them to take with you?"
"Just the papers.  You know, the extra ones, the copies."
"Oh.  You need to copy the papers, not scan them"
"Oh.  Then I guess I just need to make copies.  Can I do that here?"
"Yes, right this way, that's a different machine."

How about this dialog which is also not unique.

A flustered patron angrily asked me,
"Why can't I get to My Documents?  I don't see any of my stuff!"
"Did you download anything onto this computer?"
"No, I thought if I logged into my email it would see everything from my computer at home."
"No, I'm sorry, computers don't talk to each other like that."

Or trying to make sense out of nonsense.

I need a book about atoms. I've read a lot of books about how alcohol works and distilling and I don't believe what I've read.  I need a book about atoms.
Let's look at organic chemistry and see if that helps.
Well, I want to know why water is H20 and not something else.  And do atoms have a base they can sit on?
We might need to take a look at quantum mechanics for that one.
But what about books on alcohol?  The structure of the atoms.
Here are books on organic chemistry, quantum physics and home distilling.  I can't help you beyond that.

No comments:

Post a Comment