Greatest search engine from the Roaming Librarian's House of Knowledge - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Greatest search engine from the Roaming Librarian’s House of Knowledge

I like double deals, don’t you?

2-in-1.  50 percent more.  Buy one, get one free.

Actually, I’m pretty sure these are all unique retail concepts, but I don’t pretend to be a genius of commerce.

Anyway, today you get a 2-in-1 deal here at the Roaming Librarian’s House of Knowledge, and that includes a one-time offer of:  1) a really cool search engine, and 2) a hard-facts run-down of the librarian profession.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how many people are librarians, what librarians make in terms of salary, and so on.  I wanted to find all this information in one place, so like a good librarian, I remembered a search engine from my schoolin’ days called Wolfram|Alpha, which is designed to give me information without supposition.  I would call it a bare-boned Wikipedia, but Wolfram|Alpha defines itself as a “computational knowledge engine.”

On their “About” page, they state their goal:  “We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything.”  I would describe the experience as typing in (almost) any word and receiving a full, factual profile for all your immediate FAQs about a given subject.

So I did this with “librarian.”

Turns out Wolfram|Alpha correctly assumes “librarian” is an occupation, and not a word, but I’m given the option to make the switch.  Pulling their data from the Wolfram|Alpha Knowledgebase, they estimate that, as of 2009, 150,520 people are currently employed as librarians in the US.  There is a -650 yearly change in people in the profession.  The median wage is $52,530 (not so bad, eh?).  The engine also generated a fancy graph showing the undulation of employment in this profession, which I have included.  Let me be clear:  I didn’t find or format any of this information, because this super search engine did it all for me.

Wolfram’s graph showing recent librarian employment history.

What tickles me most is their definition of a librarian, who is a person that “administers libraries and performs library related services.”  See, the profession is so malleable, even this incredible feat of technology can’t yet succinctly define it!

Enjoy the search engine.  Go type in all the far-fetched words you can think of.  I recommend starting with your own job!



About the author

Chelsea Woods

Chelsea Woods is a full-time graduate student in the Rutgers University MLIS (Master of Library & Information Science) program. Woods also works as a part-time clerk in both law firm and public libraries. She’s seen many libraries, but her favorite is still the Bodleian at Oxford University, where she studied briefly before receiving her B.A. in English from Villanova University. Though the public may believe librarians to be anal, tight-wad, type-A spinsters, Ms. Woods does not admit to ever having been any of these things. She has also never been “secretly sexy,” rolling in tax-payer money, or practiced in the art of the “Shh!” She does, however, wear really cool glasses, and when she’s not informing the library’s Teen Clubhouse of the proper Scrabble rules, or chasing down the latest Inter-Library Loan, she is definitely reading like mad. She also enjoys life outside the gates of knowledge: sewing, hunting for vinyls, and trying out new recipes. Contact the author.

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